Are you often tired? There is a good chance that your diet is involved. Here is a list of superfoods that will give you the energy you need to fight fatigue.
1) Eat to regain your energy
If you lack the energy to take a simple walk or are unable to get through the day without taking a nap, you may be tired. The causes are numerous: stress, medication, overwork, sleep disturbances or illness. If your fatigue is chronic or extreme, get examined by the doctor. Once the risk of underlying disease has been eliminated, you may want to reconsider your diet. Many common eating habits literally drain people’s energy. Fortunately, you can correct these problems quite easily and regain your energy.
2) Proteins: fish, meat, dairy products, beans
If you are the type of person who takes a simple vegetable salad at noon and feels the need to nap in the afternoon, it may be because you lack protein. Studies have shown that people who don’t eat protein at breakfast, for example, are more likely to be depressed, stressed and less physically fit than those who eat it regularly. Amino acids, which form proteins and are fundamental components of the body, promoting the growth and regeneration of all tissues and organs, from blood vessels to hair. In addition, they help increase the levels of neurotransmitters which have a positive effect on mood and alertness.
Aim to take: 0.8 g of protein per pound of body weight. For example, if you weigh 68 pounds, you should take 54 g of protein. One serving of beef tenderloin provides 32 g, 1 cup (250 ml) of black beans, 15 g, and 1 cup of milk, 8 g.
3) Iron: red meat, molasses, beans
Iron deficiency is the most common cause of anemia, a condition characterized by low levels of red blood cells and which causes fatigue. Weakness, pallor, fatigue and brittle nails are the most obvious symptoms. If you think you have it, see your doctor. Most of the time, it is caused by blood loss (for example, a bleeding ulcer or heavy menstruation).
Aim to take: the recommended amount of iron is 8 mg for men and postmenopausal women, and 18 mg for women who are still menstruating. A 90 g serving of beef provides 3.2 g and a cup (250 ml) of soy beans, 8.8 g.
Tip: the body absorbs iron of animal origin better than vegetable. If you get yours mostly from plants like beans and peas, take them with citrus or other foods rich in vitamin C, which promotes iron absorption.
4) Complex carbohydrates: whole grains, fruits and vegetables
Carbohydrates are the main source of energy for the body. However, in general, we consume too many “simple” carbohydrates that are digested quickly, which causes the blood sugar to fluctuate excessively, consuming our energy. Opt for complex carbohydrates, like whole rice rather than white, which release their energy on a more regular and prolonged basis. In a study in England of 142 people who ate a high-fiber cereal breakfast for two weeks, it was found that the subjects had more energy and mental clarity, and were less prone to sudden changes in the mood than when they resumed their usual lunch.
Here is another good reason to take whole grains: they are rich in B vitamins. When we miss these vitamins, we risk falling energy. They play many roles, including breaking down carbohydrates, fats and proteins into glucose, the fuel that makes the body run.
Aim to take: in addition to the 7 to 10 daily servings of fruits and vegetables, take at least three servings of carbohydrates from whole grains, such as wheat or wholegrain rice. One serving equals one slice of bread or 1/2 cup (125 ml) of rice.
Vitamin C: citrus, pepper, broccoli
In the 17th century, when sailors with scurvy drank lemon juice, their lethargy disappeared. Vitamin C deficiency has been shown in modern studies to be associated with fatigue. This vitamin is necessary for the health of the adrenal glands, which help prevent fatigue caused by physical or emotional stress. It also helps fight infections and absorb iron.
Aim to take: women are recommended to take 75 mg daily and men 90 mg, but this is generally not enough. A cup (250 ml) of broccoli provides more, while a red pepper provides twice that amount.
5) Magnesium: pumpkin seed, spinach
Popeye was right to want to eat spinach. One of its nutrients, magnesium, is essential for the production of adenosine triphosphate, the end product of turning food into energy. When we are deficient, we feel tired and weak.
Aim to take: 400 to 420 mg of magnesium per day for men and 310 to 320 mg for women. A quarter cup (60 ml) of pumpkin seeds provides 185 mg and a cup (250 ml) of cooked spinach, 157 mg.
6) Beta-carotene: sweet potato, carrot
Add color to your plate and you will be more energetic. Beta-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A, which gives color to carrots, sweet potatoes and spinach, helps boost a depressed immune system, a common cause of chronic fatigue. By promoting the health of cell membranes, beta-carotene indirectly protects against viruses, bacteria, fungi and allergies. It also enhances the activity of T cells responsible for fighting infection, and is necessary for the health of red blood cells.
Aim to take: five servings a day of dark leafy vegetables and yellow and orange fruits and vegetables.
7) Potassium: spinach, avocado, squash
If you lack potassium, you risk muscle weakness and exhaustion. Studies have shown that people with low levels of this mineral have poorer grips than others. Potassium helps transport nutrients to cells, maintain water balance, regulate muscle contraction and heart rate, and keep the nervous system healthy.
Aim to take: 4700 mg of potassium per day. One cup (250 mL) cooked spinach provides 839 mg, one avocado, 875 mg, and one cup winter squash, 896 mg.
Tip: potassium decreases the excretion of calcium. Taking more helps keep bones healthy.