There are very few aspects of our life that aren’t affected by the food we eat. Proper nutrition not only keeps us physically healthy but can have a significant positive impact on our sleep, pain levels, and even mental health. Conversely, inadequate nutrition can bring on all types of medical conditions and diseases. One of the areas that people don’t often associate with the food they eat is their energy level. However, fatigue is very common for those who aren’t getting the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients they need.
It is essential for senior citizens to eat the right foods, as fatigue can adversely affect their day. Those who are too tired to exercise or stay active may lose mobility or physical capability. Being exhausted also makes them more susceptible to falling, which can be dangerous. This article will look at the relationship between food and fatigue and how to eat the right food to maximize your energy.
Timing is Everything
There are two aspects to a good diet – the foods you eat and when you eat them. Researchers have concluded that those who skip breakfast experience more fatigue overall than those who eat a healthy meal in the morning. If you often suffer an energy “crash” in the late morning, your body may not have been appropriately nourished that morning. They recommend eating a balanced breakfast within a half-hour of rising. Include some simple carbohydrates, such as fresh fruit, and complement them with complex carbohydrates and proteins. These two types of food break down continuously throughout the day, giving you the energy to make it until lunch. Nutritionists recommend complex carbohydrates such as whole-grain bagels, cereal, or toast. Healthy proteins that provide longer-lasting energy include eggs, yogurt, or cheese.
This combination of foods should be included in all meals and snacks if possible.
Keep Hydration in Mind
Water doesn’t provide complex carbohydrates or protein, but it is still instrumental in battling fatigue. Your body needs ample water to sustain the energy creation process. When Florida is experiencing heat and humidity (which is a lot of the year), it is recommended that seniors drink as much as one gallon of water every day. If they are physically exerting themselves on a hot day, they may need more. While this may seem like a lot of water to drink, you can take steps to make sure you are drinking enough water. One of our favorite tips is to set an alarm for specified periods during the day and simply drink a glass of water when the alarm goes off. If drinking that much water seems like a tedious task, try infusing water with fresh fruit or vegetables for a tasty hint of flavor.
Cut Out the Fatigue Enablers
Coffee and sugar may give an immediate boost of energy. However, once that boost subsides, you can feel even more exhausted than before. As noted above, the better strategy is to eat the right combinations of foods to give you sustained energy over time. This means to substitute caffeine and sugar with whole grains, fruits, fiber, and protein.
Anyone looking to change their diet to beat fatigue should speak with their physician first. Senior citizens especially need to make sure that there are no issues with their medications, medical conditions, and a new diet. Once they understand their new guidelines, a senior can enlist the help of their family to shop and cook differently. If your loved one resides in an assisted living facility, be sure to speak with the dietician and administration to explain what they need to eat to feel their best.
A Banyan Residence provides professional assisted living and memory care facilities for Venice area residents.