Fatigue Fighting Foods
Author: Alyce Cimino
Beat Fatigue naturally with these fatigue fighting foods
It is approaching the end of the year, and let’s face it – we are tried. We are busier than ever, we are contactable 24/7, work follows us home and emails can find us anywhere. It’s getting harder to switch off and find time for you. With our busy lifestyle we often find ourselves reaching for that 3.30 snack, the afternoon chocolate or the little treat to get through the rest of the day – but what if I told you, there are more options than sugar to get you through the day!
It’s time to head into the kitchen and boost our energy levels naturally!
Spirulina if often known for its many benefits to health, containing 60% protein and a vast variety of minerals, vitamins and amino acids. This little algae packs a powerful punch! It is thought that spirulina contains more iron than spinach and more beta-carotene than carrots. Spirulina is also a source of plant based iron, and it contains the co factors (such as Vitamin C and B Vitamins) that are required for iron absorption.
How to enjoy: Spirulina has a distinctive and strong flavour (it is an algae and tastes like the sea). It is available as a powder, capsule and tablet and while it may not taste the best, powder is often the easiest choice. Add it into smoothies and juices or for those hard-core people; mix in water or coconut water and shot it down.
Seaweed is enjoyed as part of a healthy lifestyle in many different cultures, and for good reason! Seaweed is rich in minerals, and especially rich in the mineral iodine. Iodine is one of the key thyroid loving nutrients. When looking at fatigue, we need to look at thyroid health and how it is functioning. Low thyroid function may be responsible for long term fatigue. By eating thyroid loving foods we are supporting our general thyroid health, and possibly reducing fatigue. (If you are concerned about your thyroid health, see you doctor for a blood test to check your thyroid hormone levels)
How to enjoy: Our thyroid is extremely sensitive, we only need a tiny bit of seaweed to make a big difference. Try adding a ¼ - ½ a teaspoon of dulse flakes into soups and broth (not every day), enjoy a nori sushi once a week or add some arame seaweed into a salad every now and then. With all things seaweed choose organic where ever possible.
Nuts, seeds and protein rich foods
Nuts and seeds are a delicious source of protein! One of the key features of protein is its ability to help balance blood glucose levels. When we consume processed foods or refined sugars or even if we skip meals, our blood glucose levels can go a little haywire. This is when we feel that afternoon slump or 3.30itis, and often this is a main contributor to our low energy woe’s. Protein balances our levels to help even out the scale so we don’t feel that hypoglycaemic drop.
Foods to enjoy: Nuts, seeds and items like dry aged jerky are great protein rich snacks to get through the afternoon. Enjoying a variety of plant and animal protein with each main meal is key to happy and balanced blood glucose levels.
When it comes to health benefits, eggs tick many of the boxes. Eggs are a complete protein, contain over 11 essential vitamins and minerals – including a few that boost energy such as B vitamins! Protein is essential for energy levels and eggs for breakfast is a great way to start the day off.
How to enjoy: enjoy eggs for breakfast with a tablespoon of fermented vegetables or sautéed spinach for extra nutrients. Pack a boiled egg as an on the go snack or whip up a healthy omelette for dinner, packed full of veggies!
Water is one pretty amazing tool when it comes to our health, and it is often the most overlooked. The human body is made up of approximately 60% water… so we need a lot of it to get us through the day. Unlike soft drinks, juices and cordials, good old H2O is free from added sugars which can blood glucose levels to fluctuate.
How to enjoy: on average we want to be consuming around 2L of fresh filtered water per day (this changes depending on gender, activity level, weather and health conditions). Spice things up by adding fresh herbs such as mint to the water and keep a bottle close by to sip throughout the day.
Legumes and beans
Legumes and beans have many benefits… rich in phytonutrients and rich in fibre for detoxification and assisting health bowel movement. When our digestive system is sluggish, we are sluggish. When it is happy, we are happy. As well as naturally supporting our digestive system, the rich source of fibre helps to move toxins and waste out of the body. Each legume and bean have a different nutritional profile, so variety is the key here.
How to enjoy: fresh, canned (organic), sprouted, hummus, salads, soups and curries … there are many ways to enjoy legumes and beans.
Iron rich foods:
So this one isn’t a food but a whole category! Iron deficiency is a common cause of fatigue, especially amongst women. Levels can be checked through a simple blood test and we can enjoy delicious foods to help boost our daily intake. While read meat is one of the best sources of Iron, there are some good plant based options too. The added benefit of getting iron from animal sources is the B12 availability and the benefit of Iron from plant options is the added fibre and vitamin content.
Foods to enjoy: Free range / Organic Red Meat (beef, lamb ect), dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale, swiss chard and beet greens. Blackstrap molasses, wholegrains and legumes.
|Written by Alyce Cimino|
Alyce Cimino (BHSc Naturopathy) is a qualified Naturopath with a passion for nutrition, food as medicine and helping others achieve their health goals towards a happy and healthy lifestyle. Alyce believes health begins with delicious whole foods and in her spare time you can find her in the kitchen creating something deliciously healthy or at the beach enjoying the sunshine and ocean.
Alyce has a love for herbal teas, but all teas are better with a little raw cheesecake on the side.