Fatigue is a very common complaint. Sometimes we relate it to physical fatigue after a race, or a hard workout, and often we relate it to mental fatigue at the end of a workday or work week.
Those who complain of fatigue may say they lack energy or lack motivation, they get tired easily or their muscles tire easily in a workout or doing daily tasks. Mentally speaking they may complain that they can't concentrate or have to struggle to focus to complete an activity. Other words they might use include: tired, worn out, exhausted, or run down.
We can all relate to one of these symptoms or words above. Fatigue is a very common complaint, and the list of potential causes is extensive. This article, though, will focus on potential nutritional influences on fatigue and how you might combat them by improving what you eat.
HydrationFatigue is a common symptom of dehydration. In a study by Szinnai et al. (2005), moderate dehydration negatively affected short-term memory and working memory (temporarily storing information for use in various cognitive tasks), as well as subjectively increasing tiredness, reducing alertness and increasing the perceived effort and concentration necessary to complete tasks while dehydrated.
So What Can You Do?
- Always carry a filled water bottle with you. Whether stuck in a car in traffic, or stuck in a meeting at work, you can avoid dehydration by assuring you have fluids available.
- Be sure to consume fluids when you exercise. Often we are in a rush to complete our workout or our run or walk. So make sure you adequately hydrate before, during, and after exercise to avoid dehydration.
- As soon as you wake up, grab a glass of water or 100 percent fruit juice to start your day on the right note.
- Look for dark colored urine. If your urine is dark yellow, you are likely dehydrated. The goal is straw colored or clear.
- Consume more fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are mostly water and fiber. Therefore, increasing your fruit and vegetable intake can increase your fluid intake. Other food and beverage options you may consider include: soups, fruit juices, yogurt, low fat milk, iced or hot tea, coffee—in moderation.