Balling my eyes out, pounding my fists on the floor and heart palpitations. This was the embarrassing scene of just one of my breakdowns. It was another day of feeling like shit. Feeling like I wanted to sleep the day away and cry a thousand more tears. I had many moments like this when I was constantly fatigued and not able to control my own moods.
I felt like a prisoner in my body- just there to go along with whatever it decided to give to me. My doctor was no help either. While I was pleased she did do a little testing, when everything came back “normal” and all she could say was “some people are just tired”, I felt like I was trapped for life.
Not being one to take things lying down, I started doing some research. What were some causes of fatigue? Did any of them match the way I was feeling?
At first I didn’t figure out exactly the physiological cause of my fatigue, I did stumble across several foods in my journey that improved my energy levels immensely. I became obsessed with eating these foods as often as possible. I even bought a couple of them in huge bulk online!
The change was like night and day. When I regularly used these foods, I wasn’t so tired anymore. I could get through the day without a nap or a crash at 3PM. I could be around people without becoming snippy, irritable and just plain embarrassing myself with my moods.
These 7 foods are such an obsession, I have to share them with you today. Because I don’t want you to be tired all the time either. I want you to actually enjoy and participate in your life.
All of these foods are featured heavily in the recipes of my upcoming 28-Day Fatigue-Fighting Meal Plan for Moody Women, and can be incorporated easily into your life. Let’s dive in!
7 Foods I Became Obsessed With To Fight Fatigue
Chia seeds are basically flavourless and super easy to use. They originated in Mexico, where the Aztecs used them to boost both energy and endurance. Chia seeds are extremely high in fibre, providing about 11g per ounce! This is a huge help to your digestive system, which if under-functioning, can contribute to fatigue. Fibre helps to bind and excrete toxins through your bowels, allowing fatigue-inducing sludge to leave the body. This fibre can even help curb appetite, making them fantastic for weight loss- extra weight being another contributor to fatigue.
If you’re inflamed and have hormonal imbalances, you’re more likely to be chronically tired. Chia seeds are highly anti-inflammatory and full of omega-3 fatty-acids, those hormone-helping, mood-balancing and energy-boosting fats.
Chia seeds also balance blood sugar. If you know anything about me, you know I L-O-V-E to talk about the connection between our blood sugar balance and physical symptoms. Insulin and blood sugar are involved in basically every aspect of our bodies and health, and keeping it under control is important. Have you ever felt ‘hangry’ between meals? What about some energy crashes around 10AM and 3PM? These are all indicators that your blood sugar balance isn’t working so well. Using chia seeds can help balance this important function, giving your more energy and potentially mellowing out our moods.
Check out this easy Chia Pudding recipe to get started using these little nutrition powerhouses.
Like chia seeds, walnuts have been used for thousands of years to support human nutrition. In fact, they’re one of the highest plant-based sources of omega-3s! Omega-3s have been researched time and again to show that they boost our mood. They will also reduce inflammation, improve memory, thought processing, circulation and blood sugar control.
Walnuts are also high in many other nutrients including folate (needed for healthy hormones and iron levels- both important for lasting energy), biotin for healthy hair and blood sugar, as well as high levels of vitamin E (a potent antioxidant).
When you crack a walnut out of the shell, the nut often has a thin, paper-like skin. Don’t take this off! Many of the nutrients are stored here.
Salmon is one of my favourite animal sources of nutrients. As long as you’re getting good quality salmon (conventional farmed salmon is not a good idea but wild or organic is), you’ll reap the benefits of this healthful fish. Salmon contains very high levels if vitamin B12, a nutrient required for energy production.
Salmon, like chia and walnuts above, is high in omega-3s (noticing a pattern here?). Highly anti-inflammatory, mood-boosting and blood sugar-balancing, omega-3s are extremely effective in fighting fatigue.
Salmon is also supportive to your thyroid gland- the seat of your metabolism. With all the b12, selenium, iodine and vitamin D salmon contains, it could help us rescue our metabolisms.
Check out this delicious de-bloating salmon recipe (using greens and avocados too!) to get started using these foods.
An indispensable leafy green veggie in my opinion, spinach has a lot to offer when it comes to fighting fatigue. Spinach (and other foods in the Amaranthaceae family) have been shown to protect the central nervous system and reduce inflammation. Both good news for our moods and levels of fatigue.
With only 7 calories per cup, spinach contains large amounts of folate, vitamin C, iron and magnesium- all important nutrients for fighting fatigue. The anti-inflammatory properties, fibre and high levels of nutrients means spinach will assist our bodies to detoxify properly. When we have loads of toxins in our bodies, we become sluggish and fatigued. Gently assisting detoxification (like our liver and bowels) with foods like spinach could help us fight fatigue faster.
Perhaps this food is a surprise on the list. Mushrooms in my opinion aren’t given enough love. Sure, there’s “superfood” mushrooms out there like reishi and chaga which we can get in powder and capsule form. But even mushrooms from the grocery store have loads of fatigue-fighting and mood-mellowing nutrients.
Specifically, mushrooms like crimini and shiitake are high in B vitamins. The entire B vitamin family is needed in the creation of energy in our bodies. B vitamins like B12, B5 and B6 are also important nutrients for supporting healthy moods and hormone balance. Specifically B5 supports our adrenal glands, two little glands that regulate our entire stress response, and are intricately involved in how tired or energized we feel.
Shiitake mushrooms have also been shown in a study to support healthy weight by preventing body weight gain and fat deposition. We can thank the beta-glucan they contain for this benefit!
Mushrooms like shiitake and crimini are also highly anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, making them great immune system support.
My favourite high-nutrient starch, sweet potatoes are both nutritious and delicious. There are many fatigue-fighting nutrients in sweet potatoes, including B6, potassium and vitamin C and A (beta-carotene). They are also lower on the glycemic index than other starches (like white potatoes), making them a better choice for blood sugar support.
Sweet potatoes are also high in fibre, and this supports healthy bowels, detoxification and blood sugar balance. They’re even useful for weight loss, and coming to a healthy, sustainable weight goes a long way in fighting-fatigue.
The extremely high amounts of vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene) that sweet potatoes contain is anti-inflammatory, immune-supportive and hormone-balancing.
Plus, they’re just SO delicious and comforting!
Last on the list but no less nutrient-dense than the above foods, I’m totally obsessed with avocados. And I don’t even like them all that much! Well, you won’t find me eating plain chunks of avocado, I can tell you that.
Avocados are very high in monounsaturated fatty-acids, a type of fat also found in olive oil which supports healthy weight, hormone balance and energy. Along with these fats comes loads of fibre- about 4.6g for a whole avocado! What an easy way to fight-fatigue, improve our digestive systems and balance hormones.
Like mushrooms, avocados are also high in B vitamins, all of which are used in energy production. Avocados are high in fat-soluble vitamins too like A, E and K- many of which are seriously lacking in our diets.
If you’re experiencing hair loss or poor skin along with your fatigue, use avocados as much as possible to support all of these frustrating symptoms.