Many people suffer from fatigue from time to time which can be linked to either a minor illness or stress; but increasingly more people are complaining of chronic fatigue, a quite debilitating condition.
If this is the case for you, then the first thing you should do is see your GP to get a blood test. Thyroid problems and anaemia can cause chronic fatigue but are easily treated with medication. Once these things are ruled out you should then take a good look at your diet, as this can be a major contributor to your energy levels or complete lack of.
When you are feeling exhausted it’s really tempting to go for the quick and easy options when it comes to mealtimes, such as microwave meals and takeaways; but they actually do more harm and the effects of sugar and caffeine can be short lived.
Sugar and carbohydrates are key foods to avoid. Initially, the sugar and caffeine make you feel better whilst you’re on a sugar or caffeine high but it plays havoc with your energy levels and blood sugar balance which are closely linked. Also, they’re both highly addictive and can affect sleep quality making you feel more tired the next day.
Here are my top 3 tips for combatting fatigue through your diet:
- Base your meals on protein sources and vegetables e.g. eggs for breakfast, protein and salad for lunch, fish and steamed vegetables or salad for dinner. You can make them interesting with homemade dressings and adding things like sundried tomatoes and olives.
- Limit caffeine to no more than 3 cups a day (no fizzy/energy drinks) and drink plenty of water. Have your last cup of caffeine before midday to give it time to get out of your system.
- Eat plenty of brightly coloured foods such as dark green leafy veg, tomatoes and peppers, berries etc which are packed full of different vitamins and minerals needed by your body for energy production.
Hannah Bailey, Wise Choice Nutrition