The clock strikes 1 pm, and suddenly, you have no energy after lunch. Do you feel like you are constantly reaching for the next cup of coffee throughout the day?
One place you may be lacking could be your diet. Fatigue can occur for several medical or health reasons, including but not limited to hormonal fluctuations, dehydration, and especially a diet deplete of vital nutrients.
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Foods that Fight Fatigue
Check out the information below to see where your diet may be lacking, along with some potential surprising ways you may be depleting your energy. Plus, find out how to gain more stamina beyond what’s on your plate.
1. Seeds (Especially Chia and Flax)
Seeds are a nutritional powerhouse, but some can help with energy production, chia, and flaxseeds. That’s because these two seeds not only house a ton of nutrition but can even play a vital role in balancing hormones and blood sugar levels.
Research shows that chia seeds have the power to balance blood sugar levels and lower blood pressure(1, 2). And, flax seeds can be just as helpful at helping prevent these same common chronic conditions(3, 4). Keeping healthy blood pressure and blood sugar levels is critical to fighting fatigue(5).
Flax and chia seeds help with energy because they are ideal for adequate iron, magnesium, potassium, fiber, protein, and more. They both are also excellent plant-based omega-3 essential fatty acid sources. Omega 3 consumption is necessary for a healthy body and brain to maintain wellness and fight diseases (6). Read more about how keeping a varied diet with a range of nutrition can help fight fatigue.
2. Fatty Fish and Lean Protein
Fatty fish is one of the best sources to attain omega-3 fatty acids, which helps to boost energy and promote longevity. Some of the best fatty fish to help fight fatigue include sardines, salmon, mackerel, and anchovies because they are also typically the lowest in mercury.
Lean protein in general from chicken, plant-based options like tofu, grass-fed beef, and more are also necessary to sustain energy and beat fatigue. Protein from either fish, meat, or plant-based foods is essential for proper health maintenance. Plant-based protein only has one caveat. They do not contain natural B vitamins like animal-based products do, most importantly, vitamin B12.
B vitamins like B12 are necessary for energy production, and it is helpful to fight fatigue throughout the day. Be sure to include healthy sources of B vitamins to keep your energy up and your brain sharp.
3. Avocado and Berries
Fruits are a great way to curb your sweet tooth and gain some energy throughout the day, but not all fruit is created equal. Many fruits are high in sugar, and while they are not necessary to exclude from your diet, avocados and the berry family are a safe, energy-producing option for most.
Avocados are high in potassium, magnesium, and essential minerals, making them a balanced fruit for everyday consumption. Did you know avocados have three times the amount of potassium than bananas? Their nutrient profile combined with their healthy fat content makes them the food to reach for if you are in an energy slump. Their protein and fiber also help to sustain energy throughout the day (7).
Berries like blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries are lower in sugar than most fruits. They are high in flavonoids and antioxidants, key components to fighting fatigue. They are also helpful in improving memory and cognition(8).
4. Certain Legumes, especially Lupini Beans
Chickpeas, black beans, kidney beans, lentils, green peas, lima beans, and lupini beans are some of the best types of legumes to fight fatigue. Some people are sensitive to black and kidney beans because of bloating, gas, or high starch content.
But, lupini beans are gut-friendly, easier to digest beans for most. They have 0 net carbohydrates. They tend to be a versatile protein and fiber-rich food for many (9).
Legumes and beans provide a wide variety of vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins, iron, potassium, and more. Adding more nutrient-dense legumes to your diet can help you fight fatigue.
5. Brazil Nuts
Brazil nuts are high in selenium, with even a one to three providing an entire day’s worth. Low levels of selenium can negatively affect energy production in the endocrine system (10).
A diet high in Brazil nuts can also improve lipid levels in healthy individuals(11).
Many other nuts can help with energy production, such as almonds and cashews. However, incorporating more brazil nuts can promote hormone regulation, which is an energy drain for many(12).
6. Leafy Greens
Kale, swiss chard, spinach, collard greens, and broccoli are the best leafy greens to promote energy that will last all day.
The best thing you can do for your energy production is to vary these on a daily or weekly basis, too. You will get similar nutrients from many leafy green vegetables, like chlorophyll. But, changing your diet gives you the benefits of all the green nutrients.
Remember to keep a healthy balanced diet to help prevent fatigue throughout the day.
7. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate contains the chemical serotonin, which is the happiness hormone. Boosting serotonin levels can help to fight everyday fatigue. It can even combat chronic fatigue syndrome, according to some research (13).
The trick is to make sure your dark chocolate is at least 70% dark or higher to gain the most health benefits and fight fatigue. It can be a great snack to help curb sugar cravings as well.
You can easily include more dark chocolate in the form of cacao nibs in your yogurt or oatmeal or even a quick snack square of a dark chocolate bar. Not only can dark chocolate improve your energy levels, but it is also a heart-healthy snack choice.
How to Increase Energy Beyond Food?
A balanced diet is crucial to withstand fatigue and increase energy over time. But there are many other ways to gain more energy and follow through with your goals beyond food.
Everyone will be different in what works best for their bodies, but most people can benefit from more energy throughout the day.
- Targeted supplements like B12.
- Adequate hydration: 70% of Americans are dehydrated
- Fit some movement into your day
- Limit caffeine to 1-2 cups per day in the morning
- Increase green tea consumption
Fighting fatigue does not have to be complicated. Stary by adding one new habit to your daily routine that feels attainable. Where can you squeeze in a few more steps, a new supplement, or even more water throughout your day?
Many foods can help combat fatigue, and they can consist of easy and quick solutions for your daily routine.
See where you can add some more leafy green vegetables, legumes, fatty fish, nuts and seeds, and even some dark chocolate to benefit your health and fight fatigue for good.