Chronic fatigue sounds like a harsh term, and in fact, it really is. Chronic fatigue can make you feel constantly lethargic, bloated, moody and just not yourself, and such debilitating feelings can take quite a hold over your wellbeing. Other symptoms include mental fog, muscle pain, and irregular bowel movements. Thus, it is important to take note of the factors that can lead to chronic fatigue, and the necessary measures to fight back and overcome such obstacles.
As a certified health coach, I look for symptoms in clients that are struggling and determine whether they resemble those of chronic fatigue; however, it's challenging to diagnosis such a disease, as the real "causes" are rather unknown to the scientific world. While speculation is never the most optimal method, sometimes it's the only way to get a clear answer as to what is going wrong in the body and how to heal over time. Regardless of its fuzzy nature, chronic fatigue is very real, and it can be a major distress for one's life, health and overall happiness. If you are able to rule out diseases such as depression, hypothyroidism, lupus and Lyme, then you might very well be struggling with chronic fatigue. Look for these eleven foods to help increase your prevention against chronic fatigue, and to start feeling more energized and positive during the day.
1. Whole Grains
According to certified holistic health coach and personal trainer Jen Bruno with J.B. Fitness and Nutrition, over email correspondence with Bustle, eating whole grains can provide the proper nutrients to help banish chronic fatigue and energize the body. She recommends "oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, and barley." Enjoy a breakfast sandwich to brighten your day or eat grains throughout the day to keep energy levels high, such as quinoa with beans and veggies for lunch or brown rice with salmon for dinner.
When you're feeling sluggish and your hormones are out of whack, eating enough protein is the best way to keep your metabolism raised throughout the day and banish bloat, as well as maintain sufficient energy levels to increase both cognitive and physical performance. Bruno suggests eating "organic eggs, lean organic meats, nuts, beans and whey protein powder." If whey irritates your stomach, feel free to swap for a pea or other plant-based powder.
3. Oily Fish
Eating healthy fats have been shown to reduce chronic fatigue and inflammation in the body. When your body is stressed and inflamed, symptoms will worsen, as chronic fatigue can be a major result of gut inflammation and hormonal imbalances in the body. Bruno recommends eating healthy fats, such as "avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil and wild caught fish," the latter which boasts omega 3 fatty acids for even more anti-inflammatory benefits. Nuts and seeds, such as almonds, walnuts, flax seeds and chia seeds, are also great sources.
4. Leafy Greens
Because of their high levels of B vitamins, iron, magnesium, calcium, and a slew of other great vitamins and minerals, leafy greens are great purifiers for the body and can provide a natural "detox" to get your body back to normal. Bruno suggests eating kale, spinach, Swiss chard and watercress. Toss in a salad, throw in an omelet, or sauté as a side with a piece of lean protein for both taste and health benefits.
5. Greek Yogurt
Eating foods high in probiotic properties can reduce chronic fatigue and help you heal faster by repairing the gut lining and promoting healthy gut bacteria within our digestive tract. Probiotics also eliminate inflammation, which can lead to exacerbated symptoms. Probiotic-rich foods include kefir or Greek yogurt, kombucha, kimchi, sourdough bread, miso, fermented vegetables and sauerkraut. You can also take a supplement with foods to ease digestion.
6. Sunflower Seeds
According to experts, vitamin B6 (also known as pyridoxine), can ease symptoms of chronic fatigue and maintain proper metabolic processes. Other great sources include pistachios, bananas, oily fish (such as salmon and tuna), lean meats, cooked spinach and dried fruit. However, consume dried fruit in moderation, as there is a lot of sugar, and too much sugar can cause gut discomfort and feed poor bacteria.
7. Grass-Fed Beef & Liver
Liver might not be for everyone, but it's definitely a superfood for those suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome. Experts share that vitamin B12 can protect against chronic fatigue, as it boosts energy levels and metabolic processes. People deficient in this key nutrient often experience comprised energy levels. If liver isn't your thing, don't worry, there are plenty of other excellent options, such as eggs, lean meats, salmon, sardines, cottage cheese, and Swiss cheese.
According to experts, berries can prevent chronic fatigue due to their high levels of antioxidants and properties found in their dark-colored hues. Consuming berries can reduce inflammation and help purify the body, as well. Eating fruits with dark pigments is highly recommended, so other great options include plums and red grapes. Enjoy with a yogurt for double benefits!
9. Dark Chocolate
It's a blessing! Studies have shown that consuming dark chocolate (the darker the content, the better) can lower risk of chronic fatigue and help mitigate symptoms. Because of the antioxidants in chocolate, as well as its ability to increase levels of "mood boosting" serotonin, it can make us feel more energized, happier and less drained mentally and physically. Eat it however you like; it won't be hard to find ways to fit it in!
10. Anti-Inflammatory Spices & Herbs
Not only will using anti-inflammatory spices and herbs from the Mediterranean diet lifestyle help cut bad fats, excessive salt and oil, and sugar when cooking a dish, but it will also increase healthy digestion, reduce inflammation in the body, and help wake the body up. Terrific options include ginger, garlic, mustard, cumin, coriander, cloves and black pepper, as well as turmeric. Sprinkle freely and let more flavor seep into your food.
Eating foods from the cruciferous vegetable family, such as broccoli, cabbage, bok choy, and cauliflower, can help detox the body due to its content of isothiocyanates, reduce inflammation and boost energy levels. Rich in key vitamins and minerals, they go great in salads (which are also fantastic for easing chronic fatigue), or sautéed with a bit of olive oil and garlic (two foods that are also essential for reducing chronic fatigue syndrome).
While having chronic fatigue syndrome can result from excess stress, poor lifestyle habits, such as a diet high in sugar, bad fats and refined foods and lack of physical activity, an inflamed gut, or a hormonal imbalance, it's possible to ease symptoms and prevent an on-set from happening by cleaning up the diet and integrating these beneficial foods. Plus, they taste great, so what's the harm?
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