Fatigue is a very common side effect that one faces during summers because of excessive heat and the resultant dehydration.
It is these days very common as a result of the difficult times we are facing and the resultant omnipresent stress and anxiety that affects us physically too, thanks to the pandemic.
Plus crushing fatigue is also very common with those who are suffering from corona or recovering from it. That is why paying attention to the food that can help combat it has become very important today.
Yes, foods can help us tide over and lessen fatigue.
A few small, but significant lifestyle and dietary changes can make a huge difference.
- Proteins Can Be a Game Changer
Protein in our diet reflects in the quality of protein in body — our muscles, skin, joints, and brain.
In fact, enough protein in our diet can be a game changer for busting fatigue.
So don’t scrimp on protein.
Make sure you eat at least one good quality protein source in all three main meals of the day, and add in one protein rich snack mid meals too.
For example, consider having milk or eggs with breakfast, curd or sprouts in lunch, dal or fish with dinner, and kala channa chaat or sattu in buttermilk mid morning.
- Ease Up On Sugar
Eating too much sugar weakens the immune system and may inhibit the ability of white blood cells to stay active.
Plus orexin — a brain chemical that keeps us feeling awake—is inhibited when we consume sugar.
This chemical regulates arousal, wakefulness, and appetite, and there are only 10,000–20,000 orexin-producing neurons in the human brain lowered orexin levels create a tired feeling.
Make a rule to eat sugar laden desserts just once and twice a week, and ration the sugars in your daily cups of tea coffee and other beverages too.
- Focus On Getting Enough Magnesium
Magnesium deficiency affects the process of energy production in the cells, and may lead to a feeling of constant fatigue.
Green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains, are good sources.
My top pics are: almonds, pumpkin seeds, spinach, cashews and peanuts. Include at least two from these foods everyday in your diet.
- Cut Back On Caffeine
Having umpteen cups of coffee, tea and other strongly caffeinated beverages (energy drinks etc) or even too much of dark chocolate, to beat fatigue is a bad idea, as they just provide a false sense of alertness that eventually dehydrate the body and actually add on to the fatigue.
- Focus On B Complex
B-complex vitamins are essential for energy production in the body (deficiency leads to a feeling of low energy) and they also help support the adrenal glands, which keep the stress in check.
Chromic stress is a common fatigue causer.
Meat, seafood, eggs, dairy, green leafy vegetables, and legumes are good sources.
- Keep The Fat Intake Low
Fat-rich food (fried etc) is a bad ideas as these tend to be difficult to digest and stress our system, which leads to a heavy, sluggish feeling.
High fat foods for dinner are particularly a bad idea as they load the digestive system and can affect the quality of sleep, adding thus to exhaustion and fatigue.
- Herbs And Spices Helps
Focus on those that support digestion - ginger, pepper, cinnamon, fennel, rosemary and garlic.
That’s because when our digestion works smoothly, fatigue gets taken care of too.
- Load up on Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin that needs to be supplied daily as it is not stored in the body.
It usually takes a dip because of our lifestyle and dietary choices (smoking, pollution, cooking and food storage methods) and a common symptom of its deficiency is fatigue.
So include citrus fruits, guava, lemons, bell peppers, kiwi and amla in your diet daily.
- Increase Iron Intake For Your Blood
Iron is necessary for normal blood cell formation and it’s functioning, so its deficiency results directly in anaemia, fatigue, and disturbed immune function.
Focus on iron rich foods like meats, organ meats, beans, such as red kidney beans, and chickpeas, nuts, seeds, whole grains and tofu.
- Score Enough Vitamin D
This deficiency is an epidemic, and besides multiple other ill effects (like weekend immunity, heart troubles etc), its lack often shows up as fatigue and excessively tiredness.
As there aren’t too many food sources of vitamin D (except egg yolks, liver, and fortified foods), our best bet is to sit in the sun for at least 30 minutes everyday to let our body make vitamin D.
(Kavita is a nutritionist, weight management consultant and health writer based in Delhi. She is the author of Don't Diet! 50 Habits of Thin People (Jaico) and Ultimate Grandmother Hacks: 50 Kickass Traditional Habits for a Fitter You (Rupa))