Fatigue, also known as tiredness, exhaustion, weariness, lethargy and listlessness, is a term used to describe the general feeling of being tired and weak. It can be related to physical or mental tiredness. Feeling fatigued is not the same as feeling drowsy or sleepy, although these may be symptoms of fatigue.
According to the National Institutes of Health in the U.S., approximately 1 in every 5 Americans has fatigue that interferes with their daily lives. Also, fatigue affects females more than males.
Several lifestyle factors, medical conditions or psychological problems can cause fatigue. Some of the lifestyle factors that contribute to this problem include excessive alcohol use, excessive intake of caffeine, excessive physical activity, inactivity, poor sleep and unhealthy eating habits.
One can also feel fatigued due to mental health problems like anxiety, depression, grief and stress. Even certain medical conditions can make one fatigued, such as liver failure, anemia, cancer, kidney diseases, heart diseases, thyroid disorders, obesity, sleep apnea and diabetes.
The main symptom of fatigue is exhaustion, especially after a physical or mental activity. Some other signs include sore muscles, lack of motivation, difficulty concentrating, dizziness, headaches, irritability, loss of appetite, moodiness and lack of energy.
Whether your fatigue is due to physical, mental or emotional exertions, you can fight it with some readily available foods. Key foods will provide your body with all the essential nutrients, such as protein, fats and complex carbohydrates, as well as vitamins and minerals to function properly and fight symptoms of fatigue.
Here are the top 10 superfoods to fight fatigue.
Bananas contain a good amount of potassium, which the body needs to convert sugar into energy. Also, bananas are rich in many important nutrients, such as B vitamins, vitamin C, omega-3 fatty acids, omega-6 fatty acids, fiber and carbohydrates, that help beat tiredness, dehydration and other fatigue symptoms.
Plus, the natural sugars like sucrose, fructose and glucose in bananas are essential for quick energy boosts.
Eat 1 to 2 bananas daily. You can also enjoy a banana shake or smoothie to keep your body hydrated and full of energy.
2. Green Tea
A cup of refreshing green tea can also fight fatigue, especially stress and work-related fatigue. Green tea contains polyphenols that help reduce stress, boost energy and improve mental focus.
Plus, it has components that have been proven to boost metabolism and protect against many drawbacks of being fatigued.
To make a cup of green tea, steep 1 teaspoon of green tea leaves in a cup of hot water for 5 minutes. Strain, add honey and drink this tea 2 or 3 times daily. Instead of green tea leaves, you can use tea bags.
3. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds make an ideal snack for fighting fatigue. They are loaded with high-quality protein, healthy omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins B1, B2, B5 and B6, as well as minerals like manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, iron and copper. All these nutrients work together to boost your immune system, provide energy and fight symptoms of fatigue.
Plus, the tryptophan found in pumpkin seeds helps fight emotional fatigue and promotes better sleep, which can ease physical weariness.
Just one handful of pumpkin seeds will give you instant energy and make you feel less fatigued. You can snack on roasted pumpkin seeds. You can even switch to pumpkin seed butter to increase your metabolism.
A perfect food for fighting fatigue is oatmeal. It contains quality carbohydrates that are stored in the body as glycogen and provide fuel for your brain and muscles throughout the day.
Plus, it has many important nutrients like protein, magnesium, phosphorus and vitamin B1 that help boost your energy levels.
Oatmeal is also regarded as a superfood for digestive health due to its high fiber content. Even diabetic people can eat oatmeal as it helps maintain normal blood sugar levels.
A bowl of oatmeal makes a great breakfast. You can add to the health benefits by topping your oatmeal with fresh fruits and nuts.
The high amount of protein, carbohydrates and gut-healthy probiotics in yogurt can be a big help to fight symptoms of fatigue. In fact, the body processes yogurt more quickly than any solid food, and hence it works as a great source for quick energy whenever you need it.
The probiotics in yogurt can also help ease symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome. They also play a key role in improving the health of your digestive tract.
You can eat yogurt anytime of the day. Eat at least 1 cup of fat-free yogurt daily. If you do not like plain yogurt, add some frozen berries or other fruits and nuts or make a smoothie.
If you’re feeling fatigued on a hot day or after a workout due to dehydration, you can get your energy back with a slice of watermelon. Watermelon is rich in water and electrolytes that keep dehydration at bay and help keep you active and free from symptoms of fatigue.
Plus, it is rich in fatigue-fighter nutrients like potassium, vitamin C, lycopene, beta-carotene and iron.
Next time you feel fatigued and need instant energy, have a slice of watermelon. You can also make a healthy drink with some watermelon, a little honey and lemon juice, and water. Drink the juice after a workout to prevent signs of fatigue.
Another popular fatigue-busting food is walnuts. They are high in omega-3 fatty acids that can easily counteract fatigue symptoms. They can also help relieve symptoms of mild depression.
Plus, walnuts contain both protein and fiber, which help boost energy after a workout. These nuts also have a decent amount of manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, copper and vitamins.
Aim to include 1/4 cup of shelled walnuts in your daily diet. You can eat roasted walnuts as a healthy mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack. Also, you can sprinkle walnut pieces on cereal, milkshakes, smoothies, soups and salads.
Beans are called a miracle food for many good reasons. They have numerous health benefits and can help fight fatigue.
They are high in fiber, contain a good ratio of complex carbohydrates and protein, and an array of minerals including potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, copper and iron. This unique nutritional composition delivers long-lasting energy and prevents you from feeling fatigued.
As most beans have a low glycemic index, you can eat them without worrying about sudden blood sugar spikes and subsequent dips in energy.
You can try different types of beans for different meals throughout the day. You can have boiled soybeans for breakfast and black bean salad or soup for lunch or dinner. You can also try some one-pot meals with beans of your choice.
9. Red Bell Pepper
Red bell peppers are one of the best sources of vitamin C. This antioxidant not only gives a boost to your immune system, but also helps reduce the stress hormone cortisol that contributes to fatigue.
In fact, vitamin C is essential for a healthy adrenal system, which helps prevent fatigue from physical or emotional stress. It has also been found that a lack of vitamin C can make one feel more fatigued.
Red bell peppers are also rich in vitamins A, B6 and C, folic acid and fiber.
Just 1 cup of a red bell pepper daily will be more than sufficient to keep your energy and metabolism high. You can include red bell peppers in your diet in raw, baked, roasted, grilled, cooked or stuffed form.
Spinach is another great fatigue-fighting food that you can easily find in the market. Spinach is the most iron-dense food that helps the blood deliver oxygen to the body’s cells. This in turn helps produce energy and combat tiredness and other fatigue symptoms.
Also, spinach is packed with magnesium, potassium and vitamins C and B that help a lot whenever you lack energy and need to boost your metabolism.
You can add some spinach leaves to sandwiches, soups or other healthy snacks. You can also add it to stews, casseroles and smoothies without altering the favor. A glass of spinach juice is another easy option to fight fatigue.