Fatigue is a recurring reason for complaints and it affects us more during the winter. Its various causes lead to the choice of appropriate remedies according to each person’s case, but to combat any fatigue, whatever its origin, diet will be a precious help.
Fatigue or asthenia, what’s the difference?
Fatigue and asthenia are two distinct states. Fatigue is a normal process that appears following a lack of sleep, intense physical effort, particularly sustained intellectual activity, or convalescence after an illness or accident. It repairs itself with rest and ad hoc nutrition.
Asthenia is a deeper phenomenon, close to exhaustion. It is similar to intense fatigue that is prolonged and becomes chronic.
The causes of fatigue
Fatigue results in the feeling of physical weakness. Sometimes it can be accompanied in some people by a weariness that discourages you from taking any action, however rudimentary it may be. You no longer have the taste for anything, because both your body and your mind get discouraged before you even do anything.
- The causes of fatigue are multiple:
- lack of sleep and/or its poor quality;
- hormonal disorders, especially of the thyroid;
- stress, depression, overwork;
- toxic behaviors: excessive medication, alcohol, and drugs;
- undetected and untreated diseases, etc.
Before consulting a doctor, you should ask yourself about your lifestyle and your psychological state. If you do not sleep enough, eat badly, and feel bad about yourself, fatigue must first be combated by changes made in your personal or professional life to rectify what is not right for you. The first step is to change your diet, selecting the right foods and supplementing to increase your targeted nutrient intake.
You can also turn to essential oils, including black spruce or peppermint, which give you extra energy.
What foods help fight fatigue?
Selecting certain foods rich in nutrients and vitamins can help you fight fatigue. Food supplements come as a reinforcement to counter certain deficiencies or deficiencies.
Group B vitamins
Vitamins B1, B2 and B5
Vitamin B1 fights against stress that produces nervous fatigue. Vitamin B2 provides ardor. Vitamin B5 contributes to the optimization of intellectual performance.
Together, vitamins B1, B2, and B5 facilitate the absorption of nutrients by our body and therefore its ability to transform them into energy. They thus represent a cocktail that you can abuse to chase away fatigue and give you a boost.
The daily requirements for an adult are 1.1 mg per day for vitamin B1, 1.4 mg for vitamin B2 and 6 mg for B5.
Food sources of vitamins B1, B2 and B 5 are:
- lamb liver;
- Whole grains ;
- Oat bran ;
- wheat: germ and bran;
- rice bran ;
- Oat bran ;
- cooked lentils;
- dairy products: soft cheeses, Epoisses, Saint Marcelin, yogurts.
Vitamin B12 is involved in the production of red blood cells, as well as the proper functioning of the nervous system. It prevents anemia, a major source of fatigue and physical weakness.
Our daily needs are estimated at 2.4 µg per day.
Food sources of vitamin B12 are:
- dairy products: soft cheese, Comté, mozzarella, Emmental;
- fish and seafood: octopus; oyster, mackerel, herring, sardines;
- meat: lamb liver, mutton.
Vitamin C is the most popular for fighting fatigue. In addition to the energy it provides, it exerts an immunostimulant action by multiplying the B and T lymphocytes which neutralize and destroy viruses and microbes.
Vitamin C also has the advantage of facilitating the absorption of iron by the body, an essential mineral in the fight against anemia.
Our daily vitamin C needs increase with age. From 110 mg up to the age of 75, they then increase to 120 mg. Note that cigarettes consume vitamin C from our body and thus increase our needs beyond 130 mg per day.
Vitamin C is easily found in our fruit and vegetable diet:
- red and green pepper;
- Brussels sprouts ;
- green pea ;
- Cassis ;
- Kiwi ;
- acerola or Barbados cherry or West Indian cherry, mainly from Brazil. Its fruits are consumed in the form of juice, as well as food supplements.
Vitamin C is sensitive to oxidation, as well as to heat, which should encourage you to consume the freshest foods possible, but also the least cooked.
Vitamin D fights fatigue, muscle weakness, as well as fragile psychological states. We draw it from the rays of the sun which allow our skin to synthesize it, but it is also present in smaller quantities in our food. Winter is not conducive to sunshine and our exposure, so food supplements are welcome to avoid any deficiency.
An adult needs about 15 micrograms per day for adults, of which a little more than 3 micrograms must be provided by food, the rest by the UVB rays of the sun (exposure between 15 and 20 minutes per day).
Since vitamin D is fat-soluble, it is mainly present in fatty foods. You find it in:
- cod liver and cod liver oil;
- fatty fish: mackerel, herring, tuna, salmon, sardines, eel, trout, pilchard, Nile tilapia, anchovies, perch, scorpionfish, whiting, carp, pike;
- Oysters ;
- Egg yolk ;
- butter ;
- milk ;
- duck fat ;
- some cheeses.
Our body contains about 25 grams of magnesium, more than half of which is stored in our bones. The rest hides in soft tissues, muscles, and bodily fluids. Any magnesium deficiency causes fatigue, muscle pain, cramps, hypermobility, and irritability. With age, the lack of magnesium causes an increased risk of bone fracture and cardiovascular disease.
The daily requirement is:
- 80 mg to 280 mg for children up to 12 years old;
- 320 mg per day for women;
- 420mg for men;
- 400 mg in adolescents, pregnant, and breastfeeding women.
- Magnesium is found in:
- non-iodized non-fluoridated gray sea salt;
- sardines in olive oil;
- fleur de sel;
- dark chocolate ;
- cumin seed, coriander, sesame, sunflower;
- Brazil nuts, cashews, almonds, pine nuts;
- coffee ;
- wheat germ.
Iron presents itself as an indispensable ally in combating fatigue. Any iron deficiency can make you exhausted, and even lead to anemia.
Our daily iron requirement is 18 mg. It is found in the following foods:
- black pudding ;
- Red meat ;
- Oysters ;
- spinach ;