One of the most common complaints we see in clinic is fatigue. Typically, people deal with a chronic health issue until there is a tipping point and they realise it’s time to do something about it. Fatigue is like that, it creeps up on you over time, and you continue to feel fatigued until you just can’t deal with it anymore. The reality is, that some small adjustments can create some sustainable improvements when it comes to fatigue.
We expect so much from our body, which is why it’s so important to give back in terms of nutritionals. We must provide the support needed for our body to maintain balance, otherwise we end up with total overwhelm, increasing the likelihood of chronic fatigue or adrenal fatigue.
When we are stretched for time, we often overlook nutritious food options, and find ourselves reaching for that quick carb fix, stomach filler with little or no nutritional value, or the extra cup of coffee.
What are some other supportive strategies we can use in order to maintain good energy levels?
Ensure adequate sleep
Sleep should be considered the highest importance in rebalancing any health condition. Prioritise your sleep and make sure it is early (before 10.30pm or earlier). Without adequate sleep, we will not be able to function, hormones start to become imbalanced, we tend to eat poorly, our moods are low. Sleep is really the pillar to good health.
Steer away from processed foods and refined carbs
We tend to eat a lot of carbs when feeling tired and worn out, because it’s a quick energy boost. However, it’s also a a quick slump we find ourselves in once those carbs are processed. That’s when we have a mid-afternoon drop in energy. Instead of consuming refined foods, sugars, carbohydrates, ensure you have adequate protein throughout the day. We should be aiming for a fist size of protein at each meal. Lack of protein creates a viscous cycle of unstable blood sugar and increases feelings of fatigue. Protein is also crucial in facilitating a healthy immune response as it forms components of the immune system. Stick to wholefoods, complex carbohydrates such as brown rice, sweet potatoes, oats, legumes. Increase intake of fish, nuts, avocados, and chia seeds to stabilize blood sugar and provide anti-inflammatory relief. Increase intake of EPA-rich fatty acids.
Boost your antioxidant intake
Eat the rainbow. Most of us don’t eat enough coloured vegetables. We should be aiming for 5-7 serves per day (each serve is approx 1/2 a cup). Different coloured vegetables provide different nutrients. We need a full array of nutrients in order to regulate mood, modulate hormones, boost immunity, maintain mitochondrial health, and fight free radicals.
Drink more water
When we are dehydrated, we feel tired. When you become thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. So in order to ensure adequate hydration and to take a preventative approach to fatigue, continue to drink water throughout the day. This is another very easy adjustment that provides real outcomes for boosting energy. The slightest decrease in intake will have a significant effect on metabolism and electrolyte balance. Women should be aiming to drink 30mL per kilo each day.
Incorporate adaptogenic herbs
Depending on the cause of your fatigue, your naturopath may incorporate some herbs as part of your treatment prescription for fatigue. Herbs such as Eleutherococcus senticosus, Glycyrrhiza glabra, Rehmannia glutinosa, Withania somnifera, and Rhodiola rosea have proven effective in restoring energy levels associated with periods of fatigue. It is important to seek professional advice for herbal medicines to ensure the correct herbal prescription for your condition, and many herbal medicines can interact with pharmaceuticals and cause unwanted side effects.
Other causes of fatigue
Other causes of fatigue should be considered if your fatigue is ongoing. Make a time with your naturopath who will ensure a holistic approach to fatigue treatment by considering any functional lab testing and investigations, full infective history including recovery, frequency, duration, immune function (including lymphatic function and eliminatory processes), emotional and psychological history, stress (environmental, nutritional, social, emotional), toxin exposure (mould, chemicals, household toxins), digestive function, dietary intake (including cravings, alcohol intake, stimulants), sleep assessment, childhood and adulthood health, family and genetics.
Take the first step in healing your fatigue.
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Yvette is a qualified Melbourne-based Naturopath and Nutritionist, MINDD Practitioner, member of the Naturopaths and Herbalists Association of Australia, and Complementary Medicine Association. Yvette specialises in the treatment of conditions commonly affecting women and children, with a key interest in children’s digestive and neurological conditions, as well as women’s hormonal concerns, digestive issues, fatigue, anxiety, and skin concerns. Yvette consults in Camberwell and South Yarra, Melbourne, as well as Australia-wide via skype/zoom/phone. Book here.