These ten foods that give you energy and fight your fatigue fast, says holistic nutritionist and award-winning food writer Lee Holmes
I truly believe the most important thing for people is to listen to their own bodies. We can all be bombarded with health messages and marketing ploys that all claim to be ‘life changing’ but you truly are the one expert of your own body. In terms of eating for energy, I have seen the best results by living a lifestyle that focuses on eating plenty of fresh, seasonal produce and trying to minimise gluten from my diet. Listening to your body allows you to decide what is best for you. If you are feeling tired try a few of my top 10 foods to fight fatigue and see what works for you — it may be one of them or it may be all of them! I like to use a variety of these so my body does not become reliant on any one product, rather it keeps my body fresh and loving the variety of fuel I am giving it.
Without water there would be no life. Sorry to sound so gloomy! But water is undeniably the most essential substance on earth and is essential for human to function on a daily basis. Water is needed to help carry nutrients and oxygen to cells, both of which if are in low supply can lead to fatigue and nausea. On average its recommended adult women have about eight cups of water per day and men approximately ten cups per day. Some great ways to ensure you are getting enough water into your diet is having a glass before every meal or carrying around a water bottle.
Water is undeniably the most essential substance on earth and is essential for human to function on a daily basis.
By eating raw, unsalted nuts your body is provided with a high-energy boost packed with nutrients and free from any form of processing. If possible, try and soak your nuts overnight in water to activate them. Activated nuts starts the germination or sprouting process, increasing the nutrient value of the nuts and allowing the body to more easily digest them. Try my amazing Sweet Spiced Nuts from my book Eat Clean, Green and Vegetarian
Salmon is jam-packed with omega-3 fatty acids which have been found to help lower cholesterol, potentially reducing your risk of heart disease. Not only is it great for the heart, salmon is high in protein, vitamin B6, niacin and riboflavin. Don’t worry if you don’t have a clue what these last few are but basically they help to convert food into energy- giving you a healthy wake up call when you think you are going to fall asleep at your desk.
4. FRESH, SEASONAL PRODUCE
I could happily talk for days and days about why people should eat seasonally — sustainability, cost, health, environment, nutrient value, flavour, colour… the list goes on. But when it comes to fighting fatigue, seasonal produce is at its maximum nutrient potential that it could possibly be. This refers to the total amount of nutrients that a vegetable could ever have. As the product is stored and transported — which happens when it is not in season — the nutrient potential rapidly decreases. By eating in season you are getting the biggest reward from the produce and should feel more alert and awake after eating seasonal produce.
When it comes to fighting fatigue, seasonal produce is at its maximum nutrient potential that it could possibly be.
Spinach is extremely high in iron, magnesium and potassium. Magnesium plays a vital role in producing energy, and paired with potassium enables effective digestion in the stomach and the regulation of nerve and muscle function. Add some fresh spinach to your favourite salad, or serve it wilted with some eggs for breakfast. If you think you have enough spinach, think again! Just keep adding it!
One cup of mushrooms provides almost 50 per cent of your daily serving of iron! Iron is essential in transporting oxygen within the bloodstream. Without an efficient oxygen supply to our major organs, we can often feel fatigued and lethargic. Consuming mushrooms will boost the level of iron in your body, boosting the cells within the bloods ability to transport oxygen around our body and fuel our organs to function effectively. In Eat Clean, Green and Vegetarian there is a delicious recipe for coconut mushrooms with cauliflower rice. You can use any type of mushrooms for this iron filled dish, flavoured with coconut and zesty limes.
one cup of mushrooms provides almost 50 per cent of your daily iron needs
7. PUMPKIN AND SUNFLOWER SEEDS
Snack on a quarter of a cup of pumpkin seeds and you will get about half the daily recommended amount of magnesium. Like in spinach, magnesium helps in bone, protein and fatty acid formation, helps to relax muscles and maintain adequate calcium levels. At my recent book launch of Eat Clean, Green and Vegetarian, my sunflower seed falafel ball were a crowd favourite and had people asking for more. Try these and serve in a lettuce cup or simply with the tahini dipping sauce.
Add a dollop of natural goat’s milk yoghurt to your breakfast, favourite salad or on top of the next curry you make to get a great boost of calcium and huge dose of probiotics. Probiotics are the good bacteria found in yoghurt with can help to facilitate changes in the microflora of the gut and enhance the body’s immune system. Probiotics help to keep your gut healthy, assisting in digestion, which in turn leads to you getting the most of the food you consume and helping to fight fatigue.
9. SWEET POTAOTOES
My favourite source of carbohydrate, sweet potatoes, contain iron, potassium, magnesium, vitamin C and vitamin D — all of which help to increase energy levels and stop your from feeling tired. Sweet potatoes are hugely versatile and you can enjoy them mashed, grilled, steamed, roasted, in a salad, by themselves or in a curry.
My favourite source of carbohydrate, sweet potatoes, contain iron, potassium, magnesium, vitamin C and vitamin D.
Gone are the days of limiting your intake to six eggs per week — I say eat eggs until the cows come home! Eggs are the highest source of complete protein with eggs providing an impressive 30 per cent of your daily requirements of protein. They are great to help after exercise to ensure your muscles can recover properly and your body feels fresh for the day ahead. My curried egg and walnut recipe combines the amazing protein benefits of eggs with the power of nuts. You could also add some extra spinach for some added energy.
Lee Holmes is a Certified Health Coach from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, a wholefoods chef and author of two bestselling previous books in the Supercharged Food series: Eat Your Way to Good Health and Eat Yourself Beautiful. Her blog Supercharged Food won the BUPA Health Influencer award last year. She is a regular writer for the Huffington Post and has been featured in Glamour, Grazia, BBC Good Food, The Sunday Times, Woman’s Own, The Sun, The Daily Express and Women’s Health.
Her newest book, Eat Clean, Green and Vegetarian is a complete guide to creating flavoursome meals for vibrant health and wellbeing.