Fatigue is one of the common problems many of us face in today’s world. It can be a symptom of various diseases like mental health disorders, insomnia, chronic fatigue syndrome, internal and physical problems, and the ageing process. In addition, some of the common associations are premenstrual syndrome, periods, and pregnancy. Your lifestyle and eating patterns have a significant impact on your energy levels. For example, lack of physical activities, sleep, too much caffeine, drug consumption, excess junk food and less nutrition can lead to fatigue. According to research, fatigue reduces the ability to work, affecting sleep quality and the ability to enjoy everyday activities and life.

We all need a healthy diet and proper nourishment to thrive in the basic metabolic processes that support core cellular functioning. The importance of a balanced diet for brain and muscular function stems from their roles in energy-yielding metabolism, DNA synthesis, oxygen transport, and neural activities. As a result, cognitive and psychological processes, such as mental and physical tiredness, are affected. B vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B8, B9, and B12), vitamin C, iron, magnesium, and zinc have a role in combating fatigue. The same is covered in great length in the article.

Fatigue and Tiredness: Are they the Same? 

Many confuse tiredness with fatigue. However, as per medical science, these two are different. Tiredness can strike anyone at any time, and it is most noticeable after physical activities, a heavy workload, or after a stressful day. Tiredness is a common reaction to physical exercise that you can alleviate by adequate rest, a nice nap, or a whole night’s sleep. On the other hand, fatigue is a long-term, unusual feeling of tiredness and sleepiness. Fatigue can make it challenging to keep up with your daily routine and make you feel demotivated. It can be acute (lasting a month or less) or chronic (lasting more than a month or 1 to 6 months or longer).

Fatigue-Fighting Nutrients

Vitamins and minerals play an essential role in the human body and health. Hence, a balanced meal with an appropriate intake of micronutrients is vital for curbing fatigue and overall good health. Backed by evidence, here is a list of nutrients that can help combat fatigue.

Vitamin B

The entire vitamin B group plays a vital role in combating fatigue and tiredness. Research studies show that all the vitamins except folate are involved in at least one and often in several steps of the energy-production system within the cell. Hence, an adequate supply of each B vitamin is essential for the appropriate functioning of the energy-production system. Furthermore, a shortfall in any of them will limit your energy production, leading to potentially severe metabolic and health consequences.

Foods Rich in Vitamin B

  • Thiamine (B1): Consuming a diet rich in whole foods suffices the daily requirement of vitamin B1. Foods like milk, green peas, eggs, wheat, rice, and salmon are good sources of vitamin B1. 
  • Riboflavin (B2): Almonds, curd, mushrooms, milk, spinach, eggs, salmon, organ meats, etc.
  • Niacin (B3): Dates, pumpkin seeds, tuna, broccoli, asparagus, carrots, capsicum, cherry tomatoes, sweet potato, etc.
  • Pantothenic acid (B5): Yoghurt, almonds, cabbage, broccoli, sunflower seeds, button mushroom, lean chicken, etc.
  • Pyridoxine (B6): Milk, broccoli, eggs, banana, walnut, soya beans, wheat germ, sunflower seeds, etc. 
  • Inositol (B8): Chickpeas, nuts, buckwheat, beef, eggs, oatmeal, dried prunes, orange, okra, eggplant, etc. 
  • Folate (B9): Broccoli, red bell pepper, beetroot, papaya, beans, seafood, etc. 
  • Cobalamin (B12): Eggs, milk, mushrooms, almonds, tuna, etc.  

Vitamin C

The deficiency of vitamin C can also lead to fatigue. Vitamin C, commonly known as ascorbic acid, is an antioxidant. It plays a vital role in regulating your immune system and helps fight the common cold, cancer, cataracts, etc. It involves itself in energy-yielding metabolism, which converts lysine to carnitine, a critical fuel for muscle pain or fatigue. There is enough evidence that proves vitamin C to be effective against fatigue. Hence, it is essential to incorporate foods rich in vitamin C into your diet.

Foods Rich in Vitamin C

  • Citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruit, lemon and lime etc
  • Strawberries
  • Kiwi
  • Tomatoes
  • Broccoli 
  • Cabbage
  • Potato
  • Spinach
  • Drumstick Leaves
  • Gooseberry
  • Coriander Leaves

Iron

According to studies, iron supplementation helps combat fatigue. Our bodies need haemoglobin, a protein molecule in red blood cells transporting oxygen to various body parts. Sufficient iron intake is vital for generating haemoglobin. If your body has enough haemoglobin, your body parts will get enough oxygen. When the body does not get enough oxygen, it does not function properly, resulting in fatigue. Therefore, adequate iron intake is essential for a healthy body and fighting fatigue.

Foods Rich in Iron

  • Spinach
  • Tofu
  • Lentils
  • Broccoli
  • Dried apricots
  • Shellfish
  • Turkey
  • Quinoa 
  • Chickpea
  • Amaranth
  • Onion Stalks
  • Fenugreek Leaves
  • Mustard Leaves
  • Colocasia Leaves
  • Mint
  • Bengal Gram (whole)
  • Soybean
  • Gingelly Seeds

Magnesium

The mineral magnesium plays a vital role in the production of ATP. It also helps maintain the health of muscles, including good heart health, thereby reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Low intakes of magnesium could lead to magnesium deficiency which puts the individual at risk of hypertension, migraines, less bone health, mood changes, increased anxiety, and fatigue.  Research suggests sufficient intake of magnesium is vital to combat fatigue. 

Foods Rich in Magnesium

  • Avocado
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Peanuts
  • Spinach
  • Cashews
  • Quinoa
  • Pumpkin seeds 

Zinc

Research proves that the intake of zinc-rich foods helps prevent or curb fatigue and tiredness. That is because zinc provides the energy required for metabolism. In addition, it increases the functional capacity of muscles. As a result, it prevents your body from fatigue and keeps you energised.

Foods Rich in Zinc

Kale

Healthy Foods That Help Fight Fatigue

Foods like candy and junk food deprive you of several essential minerals and vitamins. Although they can give you a quick energy boost due to their calorie content, they deplete you faster, making you tired soon. It is best to eat whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, as they are the natural sources of multiple vitamin and mineral nutrients that help the body maintain its metabolic rate. These foods reserve energy and help us feel full for a longer time. In addition, they are healthier than junk foods like pizza, candies, sweets, and other processed foods. Junk food can impact our brain and affect our mood and brain function. 

Some healthy foods that you can eat to combat fatigue are:

Bananas

Bananas are rich in calories, potassium, fibre, and vitamins. Therefore, they provide you with a quick boost of energy. In addition, ripe bananas contain a good combination of fibre and carbohydrates, providing long-lasting energy. 

Bananas are versatile. Besides eating them raw, you can add them to smoothies, salads, and other recipes. In addition, studies prove that drinking banana beverages reduced tiredness more than drinking water. 

Oats

Oats are rich in fibre, protein, and vitamins. It not only boosts energy but also provides long-lasting energy. Since oats contain a high amount of dietary fibre, it assists in preventing overeating unhealthy foods, which might lead to fatigue. According to research eating fibre rich foods like oats help in preventing fatigue.

Chia Seeds

The benefits of chia seeds are no secret. Research proves chia seeds prevent fatigue. Since it is high in numerous vitamins and minerals, especially magnesium, it counters extreme fatigue, weariness, and stress. You can easily incorporate chia seeds into desserts, meals, or dishes. It is an excellent source of long-lasting energy. 

Yoghurt

Research indicates yoghurt can help fight fatigue. Fermented food products like tempeh, kimchi, and kefir also aid in fighting fatigue. However, yoghurt consists of lactose (milk sugar), which provides energy. 

Blueberries

Blueberries are rich in anthocyanins containing antioxidant properties. Hence, blueberries counter fatigue. Research suggests it provides long-lasting and stable energy. It not only counters fatigue but also improves recovery. 

Quick and Healthy Recipes to Fight Fatigue

Banana Oatmeal Pancake

Servings: 2-3 

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • Oats: 2 cups 
  • Ripe banana: 2 cups
  • Baking powder: 2 tsp 
  • Salt: ¼ tsp
  • Egg: 2 nos.
  • Honey: ½ tbsp
  • Milk: 1cup
  • Vanilla essence: ½ tsp

Methods:

  • Combine all the ingredients and add to a mixing bowl
  • Heat a skillet over medium heat until hot
  • Scoop the batter until the batter starts to bubble
  • Flip and cook through 
  • Serve the pancakes with honey

Berry Smoothie 

Servings: 1-2

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

  • Greek yoghurt: 1½ cup 
  • Mixed berries (frozen Raspberry, blueberry, mulberries, blackberry, strawberries): 1 cup
  • Banana: 1 
  • Chia seeds (soaked): 1½ tbsp
  • Roasted coconut: 1½ tsp
  • Few almonds: 5-6 pieces 
  • Honey: 1½ tbsp 

Methods:

  • In a blender, add all the ingredients and mix until smooth. Serve it!

Note: You can also add different toppings; pistachio, granola, trail mix, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, etc. 

Foods to Avoid

Besides knowing the healthiest foods you should eat, it is also vital to know foods you should avoid to prevent fatigue. Some of the foods to avoid are: 

  • Sugary beverages or foods with added sugar
  • White bread or rice 
  • High caffeine drinks 
  • Heavily processed foods 

Conclusion

The long-known role of vitamins and minerals in cellular energy generation translates into functional and physiological results in humans. Skeletal muscle and the brain, which support these processes, are the most energy-intensive organs in the human body. Therefore, vitamins and minerals are crucial to providing energy in a physiologically useable form, particularly the B vitamins, vitamin C, iron, and magnesium discussed in this article. Since these micronutrients interact so closely across the several energy generation processes, you should ensure that you get all of them in adequate quantity. The deficiency of any of these nutrients might slow down the entire system. While their importance in energy generation is undeniable, micronutrients also play essential roles in fighting fatigue and cognition. 

Physical activity, adequate sleep, mental tranquillity, and relaxation are necessary for a nutritious diet. You can get essential vitamins and minerals from various natural sources, including fruits, vegetables, and meat. Due to age, gender, and conditions like pregnancy and lactation, the essential nutrient requirements differ from person to person. In addition, illnesses, lifestyle choices, and limitations all have a part. You can combat fatigue with the help of a tailored diet plan created by HealthifyMe’s expert coach. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. What can I drink for fatigue?

A. Water can not only help you fight fatigue and is beneficial for your gut health, skin, and brain and makes you feel fresh. Coconut water, golden milk, cherry juice, ginger tea, kombucha, cranberry juice, and beet juice are a few drinks that boost your energy and are good to start your day with if taken in moderation and under the recommended amount.  

Q. How do you fight fatigue fast?

A. Combating fatigue faster includes drinking and eating healthy; cutting down on alcohol, caffeine, processed foods, and sugary beverages is vital.// In addition, getting quality sleep and reduced stress levels assist in curbing fatigue faster.  

Q. What food gives you more energy?

A. Foods like banana, oats, pomegranate, cranberry, mango, prunes, dried apricots, guava, peanut butter, avocado, blueberry, yoghurt, chia seeds, watermelon, tofu, and cottage cheese give an instant boost of energy that lasts for a long time.   

Q. What vitamin is best for fatigue?

A. Vitamin B complex (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B8, B9, and B12) and vitamin C have the most energy-giving properties. These vitamins transform your food into energy, improves brain function, and combat tiredness.  

Q. How do you fix fatigue from Covid? 

A. Fatigue is a prevalent post-covid symptom and can be resolved in 2-3 weeks after recovery. To fight this, one should take proper care of themselves by getting a good rest and plenty of sleep, try relaxation techniques such as meditation, minor exercises which are not intense, yoga, and get massages. Having a healthy diet is extremely important for fighting fatigue during covid. Adhering to the rules and regulations, including maintaining social distance, wearing masks, and proper hygiene, will help faster recovery.  

Q. How can I boost my energy fast?

A. Eating foods rich in carbohydrates, fats, and vitamins assists in increasing energy levels. Vitamin B complex, vitamin C, iron, zinc, and magnesium boost energy and fight fatigue. Drinking protein and carbohydrate-rich beverages or foods, meditation or yoga, and exercise may help in reducing tiredness.  

Q. Can bananas cause fatigue? 

A. Bananas contain a lot of fibre, carbohydrates, and vitamins and are rich in potassium that prevents fatigue or tiredness. Bananas do not cause fatigue; they help in curbing it. Eating bananas while feeling tired provides a good amount of energy.  

Q. How can I increase my stamina and energy?

A. Adopting a healthy lifestyle may help in increasing energy and boosting stamina. For example, exercise or yoga widely elevates the ability to manage stress. In addition, eating healthy foods and weight management promotes stamina.  

Q. What foods should I avoid with chronic fatigue syndrome? 

A. You should avoid sugary products, fast foods, and processed products since it gives an instant spike in energy but crashes down quickly, making you crave them even more. Oily foods are a big no-no for health oil; when heated, they produce harmful free radicals that cause inflammation. You should avoid packaged and processed foods as they extract all the essential nutrients and only give you a good taste. 

Q. What Vitamin gives the most energy?

A. Research indicates vitamin B complex provides the most energy. The vitamin B complex includes B8, B9, and B12) thiamine(B1), riboflavin(B2), niacin(B3), pyridoxine(B6), inositol(B8), folate(B9), cyanocobalamin(B12) and vitamin C. 

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