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9 simple foods that fight fatigue

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

9 simple foods that fight fatigue
by Hollis Templeton
September 6, 2011

Power through an afternoon slump by planning ahead. Pack these nutrient-rich foods and you won’t be reaching for coffee and sugar at 3 p.m.

Whether a late night, early morning, or intense workday has hijacked your energy, the forecast for the rest of the day is bleak: serious yawning followed by a search for a suitable alternative to the nap you’re craving. Instead of reaching for a sugary snack to help you stay awake during your morning meeting or power through an afternoon slump, try this stay-awake strategy: Snack on perfectly portable, fatigue-fighting foods, like whole grain crackers, walnuts, dark chocolate and watermelon. These nine picks will perk you up in no time.

Pumpkin seeds

The fatigue-fighter: Magnesium

If your 30-minute workout leaves you feeling like you just climbed Mt. Everest, you might be low on magnesium. When researchers at the U.S. Agricultural Research Service restricted intake of the mineral among 13 women ages 47 to 75 for four months, they found that those with magnesium deficiencies required more oxygen uptake during physical activity, used more energy, and tired more easily. Snack on 1/4 cup (6o mL) of pumpkin seeds and you’ll take care of about half of your recommended daily allowance, 310 mg for women (320 mg for ages 31-plus) and 400 mg for men (420 mg for ages 31-plus).


The fatigue-fighter: Probiotics

A stomach ache could spell sleepiness if you’re among the many who suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Because research suggests that an imbalance in microorganisms in the digestive tract is partially to blame for CFS, Swedish researchers tested the effects of eating yogurt rich in probiotics — “good bacteria” that aids digestive health — on 15 CFS patients. After eating about 6.8 ounces (210 mL) of yogurt twice daily for four weeks, 14 of 15 study subjects reported improvements in fatigue symptoms, physical health or mental health.

Wheat bran cereal

The fatigue-fighter: Fibre

You know that fibre can help you fight fat, and it turns out the nutrient can also help you feel more awake. Researchers at the University of Cardiff in Wales found that people who ate high-fibre wheat bran cereal suffered less emotional distress, experienced fewer cognitive difficulties, and were less fatigued than their counterparts who did not eat as much fibre. Study participants reported a 10 per cent increase in energy levels and reduced fatigue two weeks after increasing their fibre intake. The U.K. scientists credited these improvements to better digestive health.

Whole grains

The fatigue-fighter: Complex carbohydrates

Carbs are essential to boosting energy. To stay out of a slump, pick complex carbohydrates such as whole-grain crackers or a bowl of oatmeal over refined carbs, like foods made from white flour. The body digests and releases complex carbs slowly, keeping your blood sugar (and your mood) stable. Simple sugars, like those found in sweets and processed foods, on the other hand, provide a quick burst of energy, but cause your blood sugar to plummet just as quickly as it spiked.


The fatigue-fighter: Omega-3 fatty acids

Belgian researchers found that patients with CFS had low levels of omega-3 fatty acids, and those with the most severe fatigue symptoms exhibited the greatest deficiencies. Another study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests the alpha-linolenic acid, the omega-3 fatty acid found in walnuts, may help relieve depression symptoms, which commonly contribute to CFS. Up your omega-3 intake with a 1-ounce serving (1/4 cup, shelled) of walnuts for 190 calories.

Dark chocolate

The fatigue-fighter: Polyphenols

Researchers at Hull York Medical School in the United Kingdom provided 10 CFS patients with 1.5 ounces (45 g) of chocolate each day for two months. Study subjects received either dark chocolate or white chocolate that had been dyed brown. Those eating the dark chocolate reported significantly less fatigue. The scientists suggest that polyphenols in dark chocolate increase levels of the happiness-boosting brain chemical serotonin and thus reduce feelings of fatigue.


The fatigue-fighters: Caffeine and l-theanine

Coffee beats out tea when it comes to caffeine, but your cup of joe is missing an important fatigue-fighting ingredient: l-theanine. When paired with caffeine, the amino acid found naturally in tea improves cognition more effectively than caffeine alone, according to a study published in Biological Psychology. When study subjects consumed a combination of caffeine (150 mg) and l-theanine (250 mg), they reported a host of cognitive benefits, including improved alertness, memory, and reaction time as well as decreased mental fatigue.


The fatigue-fighter: Water

If you’re feeling fatigued on a hot day or after a sweaty workout, the cause may be as simple as dehydration, and the fix is as easy as enjoying a delicious slice of summer fruit. In a recent study of athletes, 92 per cent reported feeling fatigued when they limited water-rich foods and fluids for 15 hours. They also reported memory lapses and difficulty concentrating. If you can’t glug one more ounce of H2O, opt for leafy greens or melons. The bonus: Hydrating with water-dense foods won’t pack on the pounds. Enjoy a 1-cup (250 mL) serving of watermelon for only 46 calories.

Red bell pepper

The fatigue-fighter: Vitamin C

Vitamin C is more than a cold fighter — the antioxidant also helps reduce oxidative stress, the result of too many free radicals in the body, another contributor to CFS. In a small study of 44 adults published in the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, those who received 6 g of vitamin C every day for two weeks felt less fatigued. Study participants also had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. To get your C fix, enjoy 1 cup (250 mL) of sliced red bell pepper for only 29 calories and you’ll squeeze in almost 200 per cent of your daily recommended vitamin C — that’s more than the amount in an entire orange.

McClatchy-Tribune Newspapers

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SASSISPRING 10/6/2011 2:42PM

    Great article, thanks for sharing. I found something intersting with dark chocolate - the differences in how its processed in different countries. Dark chocolate here in Canada is quite high in sugar. I bought chocolate from Germany and was amazed how it had very little sugar. When I ate a little bit of that chocolate I felt the benefits. When I ate a bit of chocolate from here, I felt tired. It really comes down to the sugar, that's for sure.

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BABYTUXXY 10/5/2011 7:12PM

    Thanks for the advice, I could have used it sooner today!

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Countdown to the Challenge - Assignment #5

Friday, September 23, 2011

Current Weight: 222.4 pounds
Target Weight: 211 pounds
By When: November 19, 2011

5% = 11 pounds

Calories Eaten: Eat between 1200 and 1550 calories per day
Calories Burned: Burn 1040 calories per week
Weight Progress: Go from 222.4 to 211 by 11/19/2011

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ZEESPARROW 9/24/2011 8:22AM


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Countdown to the Challenge - Assignment #3

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I've never done so many blogs in a week in my life! Here is the assignment:

Today's assignment is to list all the reasons you want to lose weight. What do you want to change? How do you want to look? How do you want to feel? What things will you be able to do in the future with a slimmer healthier body? And list all the OTHER things that you want to change!

I mainly want to lose weight for my health, specifically for the health of my knees. My rheumatologist says that for every 4 pounds that I lose, it will take 40 pounds off of my knees and then they'll hurt less and that's very important to me.

Having sore knees is one of my major challenges and sometimes obstacles to getting the exercise that I know I need to do in order to lose weight. And, I actually like exercising but when it hurts, I don't do it. And, that's a problem.

I know that losing weight will also be better for me for other health reasons, too. Although, my family doctor says I'm basically pretty healthy other than the arthritis and the overweight thing.

It would be nice to be able to shop at any store for clothes instead of always having to shop at Pennington's or Addition-Elle, two plus size clothing stores near me.

I bought two pairs of jeans two years ago in one size smaller than I am currently and I still can't fit into them so fitting into them this year would be great! I also have a couple of skirts that are too small that I'd like to fit into.

I think that it would be easier to move about if I was thinner. It would be nice to be able to play physical games with my nieces and nephews instead of just board games all the time even though I really like board games best over physical games. emoticon

I also wish I was a bit slimmer so that I would be more comfortable in theatre seats, airplane seats, some restaurant seats, etc.

If I ever get to my goal weight, each of my 4 sisters and my dad have said they will buy me a new outfit! Of course, they said this in 1998 when I first started trying to lose. And, I did lose 70 pounds initially but then I gained back 30 pounds when I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis! So, we'll see.

Anyway, that's all I can think of for now. I suppose I can always edit it if I think of anything else.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GADGETGEEK 9/25/2011 11:25AM

    Hey there, you can do it! We'll encourage each other, especially since we both share that one main goal, fighting RA! emoticon

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ZEESPARROW 9/20/2011 8:26AM


Just imagine how great you'll look in those jeans and skirts! I have a pair of jeans that are too small for me now, but they are sitting on my dresser as a daily reminder of my goal.

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5% 2011 Fall Challenge Commitment

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Exercise - I promise to exercise for at least 30 minutes 3 times a week, which will include exercise DVDs incorporating strength-training and cardio and lunchtime walks.

Food - I promise to eat following the Weight Watchers Points Plus system and I will eat within my points for a minimum of 6 days a week every week.

I also promise to drink at least 6 cups of water every day that I'm not traveling or in meetings (for obvious reasons). Traveling shouldn't be a problem as I have no plans to go anywhere but I do have 4 scheduled meetings during this 8-week challenge and since I take the minutes, I need to be there for the duration of the meetings. But, I will bring my water bottle with me to the meeting and will drink as much as I can.

I promise to eat lots of fruits and veggies and minimise my bad fats/junk food.

I promise I will check in with my team daily and leave a comment on the Discussion Board a minimum of 4 times a week.

I promise that I will read and comment on team members' blogs when I have time.

I am committed to this challenge and I promise to do the best that I can and my hope is that I lose my 5% permanently!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

IBEES10 9/23/2011 6:43PM

    How do I join this challenge??? Ahhhh!!!! Good luck, I know you will do just great :).

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MARYLEE56 9/20/2011 6:33PM

    Love your goals!

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MTULLY 9/18/2011 1:29PM

    I am also in the 5% Challenge. You have a great plan. I can see you are in it to win it! We can do this!!!

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NIKI778 9/18/2011 11:22AM

    Great goals!!! I am also in the 5% challenge, YOU CAN DO IT!!!

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Nine Supplements to Avoid

Thursday, September 15, 2011

This article is in Arthritis Today and since the first two supplements claim to be anti-inflammatory, I thought I should share it with others:


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BKWERM 9/16/2011 12:26PM

    I provided the link in a blog rather than just on our team so that it would reach more people. But, I suppose I could post the link on our team as well.

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_LINDA 9/16/2011 12:23PM

    Why not provide these links on the RA team? I had never heard of some of these supplements...

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