Today’s post is by Linda Prout, author of Live in The Balance, the Ground-Breaking East-West Nutrition Program. Linda creates personalized nutrition and lifestyle programs for clients worldwide. She recently returned from seven years living in the Mediterranean region, including Turkey, where she studied local food remedies.
Fatigue drives 10 million people to doctor visits each year. Chronic tiredness blocks our productivity and disrupts our lives. It’s one of the most common health complaints I hear in my nutritional counseling practice. I was once plagued by chronic fatigue severe enough to keep me from reaching for my goals and even from going out with friends. Since no one wants to go to a tired nutritionist, I had to figure out why I was so tired, and how to turn it around.
Fatigue can result from thyroid or adrenal imbalance, a virus, autoimmune disorders, arthritis, the winter season (SAD), too little sleep, sleeping in (no kidding), sleep apnea, most pharmaceuticals and/or poor diet. A good health practitioner can help you determine the cause of fatigue.
The following strategies have helped me, as well as my clients, access high levels of energy regardless of the cause:
1. Drink up, water that is, and make sure its not cold. Dehydration is a big cause of fatigue and thirst is not always a reliable indicator of need. Avoid sweet drinks, even artificially sweetened, and anything cold.
2. Back off the Sugar and White Flour. Nothing zaps your energy like a steady diet of muffins, cookies, bread and pasta. Simple carbohydrates wreak havoc on blood sugar, which leads to low energy.
3. Eat Your Greens. Cooked leafy greens, including spinach and broccoli are a powerhouse of energy-boosting chlorophyll as well as magnesium and B vitamins, nutrients needed to make serotonin and thus to keep us happy, focused and productive. According to Chinese medicine, greens stimulate life energy, or Qi.
4. Exercise and Breathe. Studies show aerobic exercise improves mental performance and physical well-being. A vigorous daily walk, swim or bike ride will keep you physically energized and mentally alert. Be careful to avoid overexertion as this depletes blood sugar and thus energy.
5. Get in Yang* Foods at Breakfast and Lunch. All things, including food and human qualities, can be described as relatively yin or yang. You can click here to read my PDF article on Yin and Yang Balance and Food Choices and to learn how yin or yang food impacts specific human characteristics. According to Chinese medicine, meat, eggs, poultry, fish, and other yang foods provide that get-up-and-go energy needed to get things done. Be sure to choose grass-fed, humane-raised meats verses toxic feedlot choices.
6. Get some sunlight. Fear of sunlight and daily sunscreen use can lead to fatigue, depression, muscle weakness, cancer (including skin cancer), osteoporosis and other diseases from lack of vitamin D, a nutrient commonly deficient among Americans. Your skin makes this vitalizing vitamin only when exposed to sunlight.
7. Plan Something Exciting. There’s nothing like an upcoming get-away or starting a new project to renew your energy.
Thank you for the great post, Linda!