Picture This: I am in my early 30's and constantly tired. I work a very busy job and live on coffee, soda and fast food. I cook every so often but it's hard to have the energy/motivation when I'm constantly so fatigued. Could my poor diet be the reason I'm tired? What are some steps I can take in my really busy lifestyle to be healthier? Are there foods that can help me with my low energy levels?
I feel like this is a common complaint, especially in today's busy world. I wanted to ask an expert on this one, so I reached out to Emily McGlone, the owner of LexStart Nutrition in Lexington, KY. Emily is an integrative and functional Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, so I knew she would be perfect to get in touch with.
She was eager to help, and her answer may surprise you. It's something we should all be taking a serious look at in our lives. You might be thinking, how can I get more energy, more energy, more energy? When in reality, she talks about inflammation in our bodies and how it affects us. Inflammation is something my mother dealt with for years. The Doctors never suggested any diet changes, in fact, they acted like it wasn't a big deal. My mom didn't eat right, which looking back is probably the cause of all of her inflammation issues. Recently, she has been diagnosed with stomach cancer.
With that being said, this is a really serious post. We should be bringing more awareness to this topic no matter what age we are. I'm grateful to Emily for taking time out of her busy schedule to provide us with some incredibly eye opening answers that can help you on the road to not only feeling better, but being healthier!
Take it away, Emily!
The cause of inflammation in our body can be multifaceted. Many diseases that are associated with chronic inflammation including: diabetes, cancer, heart disease, arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and alzheimers, just to name a few, are on the rise (1). However, we know that diet is a major contributing factor to the inflammation present in our body, thus affecting how we feel (2). The reason for this is because the food we eat can either provide us with pro inflammatory properties (cause inflammation) or anti-inflammatory (decrease inflammation) properties.
It is believed that pro inflammatory properties cause or aggravate our feelings of fatigue. So, the quality of diet can definitely impact how tired we feel! And while we are all busy, there are a few simple steps that can be taken to help improve our health.
Evaluate your stress. What are your greatest stressors in life right now? What are you doing to manage your stress? Is there anything we can put on the back burner at the moment?
Are you getting enough sleep? How is the quality of your sleep? What can you do to improve your sleep habits?
Assess your current eating pattern. What kind of foods are you consuming? Do you feel your diet has changed with the busier you have become? What are a few small steps we can take to ensure you are eating a balanced diet?
The reality is our diet can be affected by our stress and sleep just as much as our stress and sleep can be affected by the foods we choose to eat. So what kind of foods should we eat?
Although everyone has specific foods that work best for their body, in general we should aim to include as many anti-inflammatory foods in our diet as possible. By doing so, we can decrease inflammation, therefore decreasing many symptoms associated with inflammation such as fatigue (2).
Anti-inflammatory foods include:
Foods rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals
Beans and Legumes
Unsaturated Fatty Acids
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Do you consume any of these foods already? If not, what is one thing you could try and add into your daily routine right now? If I am being honest, gaining more energy is not going to happen over night! You did not form specific habits or get to where you are overnight, so remember to give yourself some grace and be realistic. Instead of starting with taking something away, lets focus on what you can add in.
Try to set a goal that includes eating at least one fruit a day. Or maybe for you it is switching from vegetable oil to extra virgin olive oil. By adding in these different anti-inflammatory foods we will naturally start to replace or decrease pro-inflammatory foods and begin to work on getting your energy back!
As always, if you still don’t know where to start and need help on tackling these steps or you are interested in finding out which foods are anti-inflammatory to you, I highly encourage you to seek out a healthcare professional such as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist to work with! If you are interested in learning more about how I can help please visit my website here.
Virtual Appointments are available!
1. Pahwa R, Goyal A, Bansal P, et al. Chronic Inflammation. [Updated 2020 Mar 2]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK493173/
2. Haß U, Herpich C, Norman K. Anti-Inflammatory Diets and Fatigue. Nutrients. 2019; 11(10):2315.
More about Emily McGlone
Emily is the owner of LexStart Nutrition, LLC where she practices as an integrative and functional Registered Dietitian Nutritionist specializing in digestive issues, autoimmune and chronic disease, as well as weight management.
At LexStart Nutrition, we utilize a holistic nutrition approach to combine our extensive nutrition knowledge and counseling skills so that we can help you uncover the root cause and provide relief to help you feel your best.
It's important to note this is not a sponsored post and I did not earn any type of compensation to post this. This information is intended for educational/entertainment purposes only. This is not meant to be personal, professional or medical advice of any kind. By using this website, you agree to the disclaimer.