Delicious Living Blog

What to eat when you're tired

Feeling exhausted? Who isn't? If you're always tired, here's what Tom Bayne, DC, of ChicagoHealers.com, recommends to beat fatigue.

> Drink up. The number one symptom associated with dehydration isn't thirst; it’s fatigue. So drink your water! One quart of water for every 50 pounds of body weight is an excellent measuring stick, says Bayne. So, if you weigh 150 pounds, drink three quarts a day (that's 12 cups, people).

> Balance blood sugar. If you're always tired, eliminate processed foods and simple carbohydrates like breads, pastas, and cereals. Instead, eat fruits, vegetables, raw nuts, fish and lean meats. Also, says Bayne, "eat some protein every 2 hours of your waking day to prevent an afternoon crash that has you looking for coffee, sugar, or a nap." (My latest favorite protein snack: Greek yogurt with fresh fruit.)

> Increase greens. To battle fatigue, up your intake of fresh green vegetables to at least 8 servings per day. For those having difficulties consuming that much, Bayne recommends supplementing with green drinks and “superfoods” like chlorella.

> Skip the latte. Using caffeine to jump-start your day or as a way of keeping you going through the day is unwise, says Bayne. "The highly acidic nature of coffee causes your body to dump its mineral reserves, which is part of the cause of the fatigue in the first place. The stimulation also causes the inevitable crash once the caffeine wears off. Choose green tea, which has small amounts of caffeine (about 1/3 of a cup of coffee), but it is high in antioxidants that are important for healing. Also, the alkaline nature of green tea builds your mineral reserves."

> Take your vitamins. "Vitamin or mineral deficiencies can impact on performance and cause fatigue. For example, even marginal deficiencies in potassium, calcium, magnesium and zinc can cause fatigue, as can deficiencies of various vitamins including the B vitamins, folate, vitamins A, C and E." Get our tips for how to pick a good supplement.

> Exercise. "Research shows that patients with profound fatigue, in the absence of disease states like cancer, improved greatly with low-intensity exercise; 65 percent of the patients studied had positive improvement in their fatigue symptoms with exercise. Get off the couch and take a walk around your neighborhood!"

If you are following these guidelines and still suffer from fatigue, and your physician has ruled out all disease processes, then you suffer from one of two forms of fatigue, says Bayne:

> Stress fatigue. "Your life has become too much for your body to handle! Lack of sleep due to child rearing, injuries such as car accidents or falls, and emotional stress such as poor relationships, ill family members, or just the day-to-day grind can push your body over the edge. First, you need to adhere firmly to the 6 rules above. Next you must get to bed before 10pm, and if possible sleep for 30 minutes during the day. Sleep is when the body heals and if you are experiencing stress fatigue, you have a lot of healing to do. Additionally, adaptogenic herbs work great in these situations (ginseng, maca, and rhodiola)."

> Toxic fatigue. "All of the alcohol, prescription meds, environmental toxins, household toxins, and whatever else in your life that you come in contact with has intoxicated your liver. In addition to following the 6 rules above and getting to bed earlier, these types of people need to clean up their lives, literally. Try to use natural cleaning and gardening supplies. Remove all chemicals from your home and begin to support your liver. Cruciferous vegetables should be eaten in large amounts and liver cleansing products are of great benefit." To get started, try our collection of wonderful detoxifying recipes.

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