Fatigue is a state of tiredness, lack of energy or weariness that differs from feeling the need to sleep. It is a normal response to stress, boredom or physical activity. According to the National Institutes of Medicine, fatigue is not usually a result of a serious disease but rather a common issue. Changing your eating habits can help fight fatigue and bring energy back to your day. If your fatigue is persistent and your diet does not resolve it, speak with your doctor to help determine what is causing your tiredness.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
An omega-3 deficiency can cause fatigue, poor memory, depression and mood swings. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for human health and -- since your body can’t make them -- a necessary element of a healthful diet. Omega-3s are found in fish, flaxseed, chia seeds, algae and some plants. Consuming enough omega-3s might also reduce your risk of heart disease. A 3-ounce salmon or tuna fillet can help fight fatigue. If you don’t enjoy fish, you can get your omega-3s with flaxseed or chia seeds. Mix 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed with applesauce or yogurt. Alternately, make a healthy chia seed pudding to keep in the refrigerator. The best way to fight fatigue with omega-3s is to eat a serving of omega-3-rich foods at least twice weekly.
Yogurt contains beneficial bacteria known as probiotics that might help fight fatigue. Treating fatigue through diet differs among individuals though. According to an article published on Reuters Health, consuming probiotics might help fight fatigue for some people, but it might make others feel worse. To find out if yogurt helps fight your fatigue, have a 1-cup helping of fat-free yogurt. If yogurt is boring for you, add some frozen berries and make a smoothie or stir in a handful of slivered almonds for flavor. A bonus from yogurt’s probiotics is that they improve the health of your digestive tract.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, increasing your consumption of magnesium can help fight fatigue. Ideally, you should consume between 300 and 1,000 milligrams per day. However, to prevent adverse reactions from sudden magnesium increase, gradually introduce it into your diet. The best sources of magnesium include 1 ounce of almonds, which has 80 milligrams, 1/2 cup of cooked spinach, which contains 78 milligrams, and 1 ounce of cashews, which provides 74 milligrams. Other healthful magnesium sources include crude wheat bran, bran flakes, shredded wheat cereal and soybeans.
Consuming a daily recommended intake of 50,000 international units, or IU, of beta-carotene can help fight chronic fatigue, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. However, if you smoke cigarettes or are taking medication to treat high cholesterol, consult with your doctor before increasing your beta-carotene intake. This valuable provitamin, which your body converts to vitamin A, also strengthens your immune system. Foods with an orange color are generally highest in beta-carotene. For example, a 1-cup serving of chopped carrots has 21,384 IU, and a 1-cup serving of baked sweet potato has 38,436 IU. Other sources include squash, pumpkin, apricots, spinach and green peppers.
Water isn’t a food, but it can help fight fatigue. Symptoms of dehydration include fatigue, dry mouth, sleepiness, headaches and dizziness. Aim for at least 64 ounces of water daily to stay properly hydrated. When you feel fatigue setting in, drink a glass of cold water. Not only will the water rehydrate you, but the act of drinking cold water is mentally refreshing.
- National Institutes of Health: Fatigue
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- Reuters: Probiotics May Help Some with Chronic Fatigue
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Office of Dietary Supplements: Magnesium
- MayoClinic.com: Dehydration
- MayoClinic.com: Beta-Carotene
- United States Department of Agriculture: National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference: Carrots, Raw
- United States Department of Agriculture: National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference: Sweet Potato, Cooked, Baked in Skin, Without Salt
Serena Styles is a Colorado-based writer who specializes in health, fitness and food. Speaking three languages and working on a fourth, Styles is pursuing a Bachelor's in Linguistics and preparing to travel the world. When Styles isn't writing, she can be found hiking, cooking or working as a certified nutritionist.