Fight Fatigue with Food

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With many of us leading such busy lives it’s no wonder we often suffer the ill effects of tiredness and fatigue. Chronic illness can be a major contributor to fatigue but for those who hold a good level of health and are not suffering from illness or infection, it may time to reassess your dietary intake, to insure you are consuming food sources that are beneficial in fighting tiredness.

The Australian Dietary Guidelines promote eating a wide variety of nutritious foods from all five food groups daily to improve our energy levels and to help with everyday functioning.

Incorporating a few of the following tips into your daily food intake may help you hit the ground running rather than want to sleep the day away.

Ensure your diet contains an adequate intake of carbohydrates

It is extremely common when lacking energy to reach for foods high in sugar to give the body a boost. A quick fix such as this will lead to an intense burst of energy, however this will be very short in duration and quite often lead us to feel even more tired as our elevated sugar levels take a major dive. It is important when trying to combat tiredness we choose foods that are slowly released in our body to help maintain energy levels throughout the day.

Opting for foods that are low in GI and slowly released into the bloodstream will help alleviat the need to snack on these high sugar snacks the body craves when energy levels are low. A balanced diet and one rich in complex carbohydrates such whole-grains breads, cereals, pasta, brown rice and starchy vegetables will help provide the body with a slow release of sustainable energy.

Simple carbohydrates are especially useful in the mid-morning and mid afternoon snack times, when energy levels between meals tend to drop. Opt for fresh fruits, vegetables and milk.

Iron Intake

Iron is an essential mineral necessary for the production of blood and the transportation of oxygen around the body. When we a low in iron, we may feel weak, have difficulty concentrating and be highly fatigued. We can increase our iron intakes by consuming iron rich animal and plant based food sources:

– Lean red meats, chicken, turkey, fish including shellfish.
– Eggs, legumes,
– Oats, fortified cereal, whole grains
– Leafy green vegetables such as spinach and broccoli
– Mushrooms
– Nuts including peanut butter

Keep the body hydrated

As our body is comprised of over 50 per cent water, if we are dehydrated we will feel the effects, including tiredness. Adults need to drink about two litres per day, more if we participate in physical activity. We need to regularly consume water starting with breakfast and continuing throughout the day. Keeping a large bottle on hand shows the quantity consumed each day. Some foods that have a high liquid content, such as fruits, soup and yoghurt, can contribute to your daily fluid intakes.

Don’t skip breakfast

Breakfast is crucial for setting the foundation for the day, setting up your body up for your activities throughout your day. This should be followed by regular based eating based on the five foods groups of grains/cereals, fruits, vegetables, dairy and dairy alternatives, and lean meats, fish and meat alternatives.

Not all signs of fatigue and tiredness are related to diet therefore if you have concerns you should always consult with a health professional.

Dee Taylor, Nutritionist