11 Foods That Fight Fatigue

You may feel like you are fighting a losing battle with fatigue. The fatigue itself can hinder eating enough calories and protein to maintain energy by limiting your ability and desire to prepare healthy meals and snacks. This in turn will limit the amount you eat, which can result in more fatigue. If you are losing weight, it is important to eat more frequently to avoid losing muscle mass, which can lead to difficulty with daily activities. If you are not losing weight, it is important not to overeat for energy, as extra weight can worsen extreme tiredness. Choosing the right foods is key.

If you ever feel lethargic or fatigued after you eat, you’re eating the wrong foods. It’s that simple. The trick is to choose foods that release energy more slowly and give you a gradual boost of long-lasting energy — and to stay away from high-glycemic foods (that is, foods mainly made with white flour, sugar, or other simple carbohydrates) that deliver an immediate, short-lived boost but ultimately leave you feeling sluggish and tired.

Foods That Fight Fatigue

Eating the right foods is especially important if you’re already feeling fatigued due to the stress of a hectic lifestyle, whether it stems from physical, mental, or emotional overexertion. After all, fatigue isn’t just a nuisance; if ignored, it can become chronic and put you at increased risk for disease.

1. Pumpkin Seeds

Researchers that worked at the Agricultural Research Service at the U.S. confirmed this in a study that revealed that women with low magnesium levels got tired more easily during workouts and physical activities. So, to fight fatigue, all you need to do is to make yourself consume around a quarter cup of pumpkin seeds every day, which will take care of half of your daily magnesium need. When researchers at the U.S. Agricultural Research Service restricted intake of the mineral among 13 women ages 47 to 75 for 4 months, they found that those with magnesium deficiencies required more oxygen uptake during physical activity, used more energy, and therefore tired more easily. Snack on 1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds and you’ll take care of about half of your recommended daily allowance, 310 mg for women (320 mg for ages 31+) and 400 mg for men (420 mg for ages 31+).

2. Yogurt

A stomach ache could spell sleepiness if you’re among the more than 1 million people in the United States who suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Because research suggests that an imbalance in microorganisms in the digestive tract is partially to blame for CFS, Swedish researchers tested the effects of eating yogurt rich in probiotics — “good bacteria” that aids digestive health — on 15 CFS patients. After eating 2 deciliters (about 6.8 ounces) of yogurt twice daily for 4 weeks, 14 of 15 study subjects reported improvements in fatigue symptoms, physical health, or mental health.

3. Oatmeal

Although oatmeal isn’t particularly low on the glycemic index, it outranks almost every other breakfast cereal and most whole-grain breakfast products. Oatmeal is also regarded as a superfood when it comes to supporting digestive health. For those reasons, many medical practitioners and nutritionists not only allow their diabetic patients to eat oatmeal but actually encourage it, especially since oatmeal helps maintain normal blood sugar levels.

4. Refresh With Water

Dehydration is one of the most common contributors to fatigue, so water is an important MS fatigue buster. “Individuals with MS often suffer from neurogenic bladder, which affects the ability to properly control bladder emptying. As a result, they may refrain from drinking enough water, which can lead to dehydration,” explains Nina Eng, RD, chief clinical dietitian at Plainview Hospital, part of the North Shore-LIJ Health System on Long Island, N.Y. Drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day, more if you are exercising vigorously or if the weather is hot.

5. Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate is full of polyphenols which are extremely good at tackling fatigue and are one of the well-known foods for fatigue. Now you can fight fatigue while simultaneously fulfilling your craving for something sweet. The fatigue-fighting properties of dark chocolate were found after an experiment carried out at the medical school at Hull York, United Kingdom. The researchers attributed this effect to the polyphenols in the dark chocolate which can encourage a happiness boosting chemical found in the brain, which is called serotonin and can help reduce stress and fatigue.

6. Whole Grains

They might be a diet taboo, but carbs are essential to boosting energy. To stay out of a slump, pick complex carbohydrates such as whole grain crackers or a bowl of oatmeal over refined carbs, like foods made from white flour. The body digests and releases complex carbs slowly, keeping your blood sugar (and your mood) stable. Simple sugars, like those found in sweets and processed foods, on the other hand, provide a quick burst of energy, but cause your blood sugar to plummet just as quickly as it spiked.

7. Red Bell Pepper

Red bell peppers are not only enriched with vitamin C that helps ward off colds, they are also great at reducing oxidative stress. The Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine published a study in which 44 adult participants were administered 6 grams of vitamin C for two weeks every day. These participants reported to being less fatigued and more energized, along with being stress free due to having lower levels of the stress inducing hormone, cortisol. So make sure you consume at least one cup of sliced red bell pepper every day, affording yourself 200 percent of your required vitamin C daily with only 29 calories.

8. Walnuts

Researchers in Belgium found another member of the group of foods for fatigue is walnuts, which are steeped in healthy and fatigue-fighting omega-3 fatty acids. Individuals who experienced higher levels of fatigue were usually found to have prominent omega-3 fatty acid deficiencies. Furthermore, a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition proposed that the nutrients contained within walnuts, including omega-3 fatty acids and alpha-linolenic acid, are also effective at curing depression. If you want to stay alert and fatigue-free, make sure you consume at least a one pound serving of walnuts.

9. Watermelon

If you’re feeling fatigued on a hot day or after a sweaty workout, the cause may be as simple as dehydration, and the fix as easy as enjoying a delicious slice of summer fruit. In a recent study of athletes, 92% reported feeling fatigued when they limited water-rich foods and fluids for 15 hours. They also reported memory lapses and difficulty concentrating. If you can’t glug one more ounce of H2O, opt for leafy greens or melons. The bonus: Hydrating with water-dense foods won’t pack on the pounds. Enjoy a 1-cup serving of watermelon for only 46 calories.

10. Spinach

Spinach is chock-full of nutrients that are essential for helping our bodies perform at their peak. Not only is spinach one of the most iron-dense food sources on earth, it’s also extremely rich in magnesium and potassium and is an excellent source of energy-supporting B-vitamins.

11. Beans

Beans have been called a miracle food, and with good reason. Along with the numerous other health benefits they provide, beans are on the frontlines when it comes to fighting fatigue. Beans are a concentrated source of stable, slow-burning energy due to their unique nutritional composition: All types are low in fat, high in fiber, and provide a good balance of carbohydrates and protein. Take your pick of beans; they have a low glycemic rating (to help you avoid blood sugar spikes) and are loaded with a rich array of minerals including potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, and iron, all essential to producing energy. Additionally, super-performing beans — especially soybeans — are a good source of tryptophan.


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