6 Foods to Eat to Beat Fatigue21 October 2015
Daytime tiredness can sometimes seem like a tricky puzzle to solve.
You may be scratching your head trying to figure out the cause – have you maybe had a few too many late nights, or perhaps it was that busy week at work? You end up racking your brain for a solution, which often leaves you feeling stressed out and even more tired.
What if there was a more simple solution? What if you found out that your energy levels throughout the day are closely related to the food choices you make?
Think of it this way – your food is your fuel source, and the quality of that fuel can determine your energy availability. Put poor quality fuel in, and you’ll get poor quality results, whereas if you choose to fuel your body with that high-octane fuel, you’ll have energy for days.
If you’re not quite sure where to start, here are some of the top foods you can introduce into your dietary regime to help boost your energy levels and banish that pesky daytime fatigue.
1. Leafy Greens
Leafy greens such as kale, spinach and chard are some of the most nutrient dense foods available. They contain extremely high concentrations of important vitamins and minerals that promote health and keep your energy levels high.
One such mineral is iron, a deficiency of which can sometimes lead to symptoms of fatigue and lethargy. Along with iron, many leafy green also contain vitamin C, which aids in iron absorption and helps to support the immune system.
Most leafy greens go great in a side salad or steamed with a main meal. You can also blend your greens in a smoothie for a healthy way to start the day.
2. Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are a great source of healthy fats, which as well as improving brain function and hormone regulation, can also provide you with a good source of slow release energy.
Many nuts and seeds are also a great source of magnesium, a mineral that amongst other things helps to stave off muscles fatigue and aid in relaxation.
Hazelnuts, brazils, walnuts, and pecans, along with sunflower, pumpkin and flax seeds are all great options to choose from. Keep them on hand as a healthy snack, add them to salads, or even throw them in your smoothie.
Legumes such as lentils, kidney beans and chickpeas are packed full of protein, which helps to maintain fullness and provides a gradual release of energy throughout the day.
They are also a source of fibre, which helps to regulate blood sugar and insulin production, meaning more constant, sustained energy.
For the best results, buy your own dried legumes, soak them overnight and cook them with a little apple cider vinegar added to the water. This may help to remove any anti-nutrients and can improve the digestibility of the legumes.
They can be added to pretty much any main dish – stir fry’s, curries, soups and more – for a healthy energy boost.
4. Pseudo Grains
Like legumes, pseudo grains such as quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth and teff are great sources of complex carbohydrates.
Higher glycaemic index sources of carbohydrates like white rice and pasta can cause a spike in blood sugar, which results in a large release of insulin and a crash in energy levels. Complex carbohydrates like those found in pseudo grains do not raise blood sugar levels as dramatically, therefore you don’t tend to experience that crash in energy levels.
Pseudo grains can be used in breakfast recipes, alongside main meals, or even ground into flours to make bread.
Avocados are another great source of healthy fats, which help to maintain satiety and provide a constant stream of energy through the day.
They also contain potassium, which is involved in energy production and lowering blood pressure. In some, a deficiency in potassium can lead to tiredness and fatigue, so it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough.
A creamy avocado goes great on sprouted bread, with a green salad, or alongside a healthy Mexican bowl.
6. Fermented Foods
Last but not least, fermented foods such as yoghurt, miso, sauerkraut and kimchee can also help with maintaining your energy levels throughout the day.
Fermented foods contain beneficial bacteria that help to promote a healthy gut flora, and may also help to stave off daytime fatigue by boosting energy levels and possibly even improving sleep quality.
Yoghurt is a great breakfast option, as long as it is free from processed sugars and artificial sweeteners. Sauerkraut and kimchee make great additions to side salads, and miso can be added to soups and stir-fry’s.
If the acquired sour taste of fermented foods isn’t for you, you can instead take probiotic supplements for similar benefits.
As well as including the above foods in your diet, you may also benefit from the tips below:
- Stay hydrated with 2-3 litres of water per day. Even slight dehydration can leave you feeling fatigued.
- Eat smaller, more frequent meals to avoid feeling sluggish from big blood sugar highs and lows.
- Avoid or limit processed foods, high in refined sugars and concentrated fats.
- Limit your consumption of stimulants like coffee and tea.
- Get tested for any allergies or sensitivities that may be causing fatigue.
- Consider other lifestyle factors that can affect your energy, such as stress, sleep, and exercise.