How to Fight Fatigue with Food

Do you find yourself constantly tired and short of energy for even basic daily tasks? Is it that unnatural tiredness that can’t be eased by simply ‘taking a nap’ or getting a few extra hours of shuteye? The kind that makes everything you do require just that little bit extra effort and motivation. If that sounds like you, then there’s good news – a simple tweak to your diet could be all that’s needed to help you lead a productive, high-energy lifestyle. You see, whilst all the food that we eat satisfies hunger and sustains us, not all foods work to boost our energy. In fact, some actively work against our bodies and increase fatigue. The key is to find foods that provide lasting, slow-release energy without unhealthy side-effects. Avoid These Foods! - (Except in Moderation)

Processed Foods For too many of us, our diets are heavily made up of highly processed foods. These foods are crammed full of sugar, flour, salt and preservatives which increase their time on the shelves and our convenience. They also make processed foods taste delicious which is why we eat so much of them. The problem is, that these ingredients which are added in during the processing often do our bodies, and our energy levels, much more damage than good. These types of food are more likely to lead to weight gain, diabetes and other health issues which naturally make us feel more sluggish, but they’re also just as damaging in the short term. Processed foods offer almost no nutritional value and so the digestive system must work incredibly hard trying to squeeze out anything valuable it can use. As you can imagine, this process requires a lot of energy, so naturally there is less available energy for your daily activities. Dairy-based Foods Cheese, full-fat milk, butter, cream - dairy products are the foundation of many of the dishes we consume on a daily basis. But all that cheese on your pizza, or that butter or cream in your cakes, or milk in your chocolate is doing your energy levels no favors whatsoever! The reason foods like these cause you to feel lethargic is because of the high fat content. Your body finds it difficult to break down these foods, and it expends much of its available energy trying to do so. Your digestive system is forced to work overtime, and of course this means that there is less energy available for regular activity, leaving you feeling drained. A great way to get around this is to choose low-fat varieties of these foods wherever possible. Have skimmed milk on your cereal or in your coffee, pick up a ‘light’ version of your favorite cheese next time you’re at the store, and opt for fat-free yogurt. Caffeine This one might surprise you, caffeine’s one purpose is to perk you up, right? Well, kinda. Caffeine is a stimulant and so when it hits your brain it does give you an undeniable boost in feelings of alertness, and energy. But these feelings only mask your fatigue and do nothing to counteract them except temporarily. Relying on caffeine to give you a daily ‘kick’ is not the solution to fatigue, as spikes inn energy levels are always followed by dips, which can be characterized by drowsiness, irritable temperament and even headaches. In the long term, it is better to avoid caffeine to give you the control to properly regulate your energy levels and fight chronic fatigue. Simple Carbs Simple carbohydrates are another food group that create temporary spikes in energy levels when we eat them, but leave us feeling deprived and lethargic later on when the ‘crash’ hits. To properly regulate your energy levels and stay alert and focused for the whole day, these foods should be limited to moderation and replaced with whole-grain alternatives wherever possible. Examples of simple carbs include: -White bread -Pasta -Cereals -Baked Goods Alcohol Of course, we all know that excessive alcohol consumption is damaging for your long-term health, but did you know that it’s also a major cause of fatigue? There’s a couple of reasons for this: Firstly, alcohol is naturally a depressant, so its effect on the body is to slow your heart rate, and delay the rate at which nerve impulses reach the brain. This explains why you might feel drowsy, unfocused and sluggish after one or two glasses of wine or beer. The second way alcohol saps your energy is through depriving you of good quality sleep. Whilst you might usually have no problem getting to sleep after a night of heavy drinking, the alcohol messes with the chemical processes that take place whilst you sleep. That’s why mornings are much rougher and lethargic after a big night out! Get more of these: These food groups are some of the very best for providing lasting and healthy energy: -Water -Vegetables (especially green veggies) -Tuna / other fish -Whole Grain Cereals -Beans