Fighting Fatigue with Smart Food Choices
Fatigue is a common complaint for adults of all ages. For some, it is caused by a hectic lifestyle that requires juggling multiple daily responsibilities. Other adults believe sleep problems are responsible for their fatigue. There is also a popular and persistent myth that seniors should just learn to accept that with aging comes less energy.
Many people are surprised to learn, however, how food choices can impact energy level. A poor diet can lead to less energy, while a healthy one can boost it.
But that doesn’t mean you should amp up your intake of caffeine or start consuming energy drinks. Rather, it means that a well-balanced diet that incorporates smart food choices may help even the busiest of seniors and family caregivers overcome feelings of fatigue.
8 Foods That May Help Seniors and Caregivers Beat Fatigue
Foods that can help to naturally boost energy might include the following:
- Water: Dehydration is a leading cause of fatigue. When you don’t consume enough water throughout the day, you might find yourself feeling sleepy and sluggish. If you aren’t sure how much water you should be drinking, talk with your primary care physician. While most recommend seven to eight glasses each day, some people may need more or less based on chronic health conditions and medication side effects.
- Nuts and seeds: A great mid-morning or afternoon snack to keep on hand is low-salt nuts or seeds. They help keep blood sugar stable, which can prevent a slump in energy. Almonds, walnuts, Brazil nuts, and pumpkin seeds are a few to consider. These foods are also rich in vitamins and minerals like magnesium and vitamin B12.
- Oatmeal with raisins: This combination of protein, vitamins, and complex carbohydrates helps you avoid the peaks and valleys a sugary breakfast cereal or pastry can cause. It’s packed with soluble fiber, which has been shown to help lower cholesterol.
- Bananas: Another food choice that helps stabilize blood sugar and prevent dips in energy is bananas, which are high in potassium, fiber, and B vitamins. You can eat half of a banana for an afternoon snack or put it into an energy-boosting mid-morning smoothie.
- Kale: This leafy green vegetable contains the amino acid L-tyrosine. It is high in fiber and antioxidants. For many people, however, the taste of raw kale is a little too strong. If you fall into that category, consider adding it to soups and smoothies.
- Peanut butter and apple: Find a natural peanut butter that is lower in sugar and calories. Add one tablespoon to an apple for a pre-dinner snack or an energy boost before your morning or evening workout.
- Fish: Heart-healthy fish that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, sardines, and tuna. Incorporating them into your diet a few times a week can provide you with an energy bump, as well as heart and brain benefits.
- Hummus: This simple dip typically contains mashed chickpeas, sesame-based tahini, olive oil, and lemon juice. Each of these ingredients has energy-boosting powers. You can serve it with fresh vegetables, eat it in place of tomato sauce on pizza, or use it as a salad dressing.
Besides making smart food choices like these, another option for combating fatigue is routine exercise. Strength training, walking, and aerobics are just a few of the wellness activities that make up Sunrise’s Live With Action program. It’s one of the many programs we offer to help residents live healthy, purposeful lives every day!