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Diet diary: Always feeling tired? You need a healthier lifestyle

Chronic fatigue is a common complaint, but there are no shortcuts to get rid of it and boost energy levels.

Written by Ishi Khosla | Updated: May 27, 2016 11:49:11 am
Fatigue is a symptom of many ailments. Several medical conditions like diabetes, obesity, heart disease, arthritis and anemia are commonly associated with fatigue. (Photo: Thinkstock) Fatigue is a symptom of many ailments. Several medical conditions like diabetes, obesity, heart disease, arthritis and anemia are commonly associated with fatigue. (Photo: Thinkstock)

Low energy and a perpetual feeling of fatigue are a common complaint among many. What is worrisome is that this is affecting youngsters and sportspeople also.

Fatigue is a symptom of many ailments. Several medical conditions like diabetes, obesity, heart disease, arthritis and anemia are commonly associated with fatigue. Chronic fatigue, on the other hand, is persistent. Common symptoms include un-refreshing sleep, muscle and joint pain, frequent sore throat, headache, body-ache, forgetfulness, brain fog, irritability and mood swings.

Our body is meant to have abundant energy. However, faulty diets, build-up of toxins and inadequate fluid intake slow it down. Optimal levels of energy are only possible when the body gets optimum nutrients, unadulterated, chemical-free food, adequate rest, sleep and non-toxic environment.

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Some common reasons for chronic fatigue:

* Hormonal imbalance, especially thyroid function
* Nutritional deficiencies including vitamin and mineral deficiencies (iron, vitamin B12), food intolerance and allergies.
* Chronic dieting
* Inadequate exercise and sleep
* Intestinal infections
* Poor digestion
* Poor gut flora (dysbiosis, candidiasis)
* Chronic stress
* Toxic build-up (smoking, alcohol and drug abuse, artificial sweeteners, pesticides).
* Excessive use of chemotherapeutic agents like antibiotics, hormonal pills, pain killers.

Treating chronic fatigue requires identifying the underlying causes, detoxification, re-building and achieving optimal nutrition. If symptoms persist, seek professional help to rule out any underlying disease.

Some tips to detoxify the body and fight fatigue:

* Identifying foods you are intolerant to
* Increased intake of vegetables, salads and fruits
* Adequate protein intake and addressing micro-nutrient deficiencies, minerals particularly zinc, selenium, chromium, manganese and magnesium.
* Inclusion of healthy fats through nuts, seeds and cold pressed oils
* High-fibre diet along with pre and pro-biotics help maintain good gut health.
* Cook fresh and limit use of microwaves. Choose healthy cookware like stainless steel.
* Practice intermittent fasting.
* Avoid refined and processed foods, limiting sugar, highly refined oils and fried foods.
* Limiting consumption of food grown with pesticides and chemicals. Choosing organic, wherever possible.
* Quit smoking.
* Adequate hydration with water and fluids. Drink at least 6-8 glasses of water a day.
* Limiting alcohol, coffee and stimulants.
* Minimise use of over-the-counter medicines and seek alternatives.
* Correcting weight, if necessary.
* Try and get 6-8 hrs of sleep daily.
* Relaxation through lifestyle changes including stress management, yoga, meditation, breathing exercises and vacations.

There are no shortcuts to improving energy levels. An overall healthy lifestyle must be pursued to have abundant energy throughout life. Remember, nutrients through a good diet are key as they help the body’s ability to turn food into energy efficiently.

Author is a clinical nutritionist and founder of www.theweightmonitor.com and Whole Foods India

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