The Relationship Between Food and Fatigue

The Relationship Between Food and Fatigue

Abstract: Chronic fatigue syndrome can have a weakening feeling that lasts for many years and if affects a person’s daily routines. People experiencing fatigue get a good night sleep, but wake up feeling lethargic and remain that way throughout the day, this basically describes me. It may be because of the food I eat. In this research project I will be changing my diet to notice a difference in how I feel.

Fatigue can be defined as exhaustion found in the mind and the physical state of the body due to stress, medication, working too much, illness or disease.  

            Everyone experiences the discomfort of feeling fatigue at one point or another during his or her lifetime. Fatigue is a way to signal the body that it needs to recharge and needs rest and sleep. The problem arises however, when the body feels tired and exhausted all the time. This usually signals that your body might be experiencing something serious.  “Physically, fatigue is characterized by a profound lack of energy, feelings of muscle weakness, and slowed movements or central nervous system reactions. Fatigue can also trigger serious mental exhaustion. Persistent fatigue can cause a lack of mental clarity (or feeling of mental “fuzziness”), difficulty concentrating, and in some cases, memory loss.”(cite here)

            There can be many different causes resulting in fatigue. However, the exact cause is unknown at this point. There are several theories that lay out the potential causes, not enough sleep, improper diet, work and home stress, not physical conditioning yourself, or just a symptom of chronic fatigue. Diseases linked to chronic fatigue are, heart disease, low brood pressure, diabetes, end-stage renal disease, anemia, narcolepsy, and cancer. Infections caused by viruses and bacteria can also cause feelings of exhaustion for a small amount of time. Depression is also known to be one of the main causes of fatigue. If one takes certain type of medications such as antibiotics or blood pressure medications those medications may also cause fatigue.

            Withdrawal of caffeine has a negative effect on those that are addicted to coffee. People tend to rely on coffee to get through their day, when an individual stops they feel irritable and tired and this can go on for weeks.

            When it comes to food it is important to maintain a healthy diet for well-being. An individual must eat a balanced meal and observe a guideline such as the one find below:

-       It is important to drink about 9 to 12 glasses of water each day. Without water a person can find themselves dehydrated and it reduces blood volume which leads to fatigue.

-       A person should eat iron-rich foods (ex: spinach or raisins.) Iron helps the blood transport oxygen throughout the organs, without oxygen in our system it leads to fatigue.

-       Avoid high-fat meals and snacks. It takes longer to digest, and our body uses energy to digest food. Also, digesting high- fat foods reduces blood flow in the rest of our body and the blood flow increases in the stomach.

-       Balance your proteins, 15 grams is recommended. Not enough proteins adds to fatigue.

-       Have daily vitamins and make sure to take the recommended daily dose of B complex vitamins, without essential vitamins it leads to fatigue.

-       Eat unrefined carbohydrates and proteins together for lasting energy.

-       Control your portions, eat only when you’re hungry and stop when you feel full. Over eating adds to fatigue.

Lately I’ve been feeling a lot of fatigue myself, I was thinking about my diet and noted that my diet has not been healthy at all. I’ve been consuming a large sum of sugary foods and a lot of oil based foods as well as cheeses. I get enough sleep and I don’t over sleep. I also got my thyroid level checked and I have medication that takes care of the imbalance. My diet can be one of the underlying causes of my fatigue.

In order to fight my fatigue I will begin to eat healthier foods from all five of the food groups: fruits, vegetables, meats and fish, breads and dairy products. In order to feel better and have more energy healthy foods is essential. It is important to cut back on fats, high sugars, and sugar drinks such as juices and sodas. What is healthier? Baked chicken or a fried juicy burger? The baked chicken of course! Digesting a big, juicy steak can leave many people feeling lethargic for hours afterwards, that is why it is important to not go overboard with the proteins. Also getting rid of the white bread and adding whole grains in a meal can provide a longer lasting source of carbohydrates for your body to turn into energy.

Day 1 - 4/29/12

Breakfast: Whole grain oatmeal with apples, cranberries and raisins.

Snack: 100 calories pretzel pack

Lunch: whole- wheat turkey sandwich with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and pickles. Light mayonnaise and hot sauce

Dinner: A salad with balsamic vinaigrette

Drinks: Plenty of water and half a glass of cranberry juice

Day 2- 4/30/12

Breakfast: Kelloggs cornflakes with 1 percent milk and walnuts

Snack: 100 calories pretzels

Lunch: Caesar Salad

Snack: 100 calories Kelloggs granola bar

Dinner: Whole wheat buffalo chicken sandwich, no cheese

Drinks: Water and half a glass of cranberry juice

Day 3- 5/1/12

Breakfast: Whole wheat toast with light butter and a cup of 1 percent milk

Snack: 100 calories pretzels

Lunch: Whole wheat chicken Caesar wrap, lettuce, tomatoes, onions and pickles

Snack: carrots

Dinner: Chicken skillet with broccoli and potatoes, no cheese or sour cream added.

Drinks: half a glass of cranberry juice and water

Day 4- 5/2/12

Breakfast: Whole grain oatmeal with apples, cranberries and raisins.

Snack: carrots

Lunch: California roll sushi

Snack: 100 calories pretzels

Dinner: All spinach salad, chicken, cranberries and balsamic vinaigrette

Drinks: water and half a glass of cranberry juice

Day 5- 5/3/12

Breakfast: Whole wheat muffin and egg white

Snack: 100 calories Kelloggs Granola bar

Lunch: Chicken noodle soup with saltine crackers

Snack: carrots

Dinner: Whole wheat turkey sandwich with onions, lettuce, tomatoes, jalepenos, banana peppers, pickles, light chipotle and hot sauce.

Drinks: water and half a glass of cranberry juice

            I noticed a slight change in how I was feeling, it was disappointing on how a drastic change was not made but I think maybe continuing this and cutting back on sugars and unhealthy snacks a huge difference might be made. I was able to stay up and study a little longer as well as I felt a little bit more refreshed during the daytime. I still felt tired throughout the day at times though. Whenever I was with friends I always complained about how tired I was. Short naps did not help much. However, their diet was not the healthiest as well. As college students due to studying and stress most people tend to eat unhealthy I think. But keeping this diet up I am hoping to notice more of a change.

Adderly, Brenda 

2001 Fatigue Fighters. Better Nutrition 63.1: 66-67 ProQuest, April 27, 2012 

Hendrickson, Mary

2008 Battling Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Drug Topics152.2:18-27 ProQuest, April 27, 2012

Thomas Healthcare, Inc 

2011 Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. CareNotes ProQuest, April 27, 2012

Exhibit update

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