Being a caregiver can affect your physical and emotional well-being. Fatigue is often a common result. Finding healthy ways to stay energized is one challenge family caregivers face.
Many try to compensate for stress and too little sleep by drinking lots of caffeine or loading up on sugary snacks. Unfortunately, this only perpetuates the cycle of caregiver fatigue. Unhealthy eating can lead to weight gain, burn out, and even serious health problems like diabetes.
Sluggishness can be caused by many factors, but most of all it’s about what you put into your body. Making smarter nutrition choices can boost energy and improve mood.
Instead of reaching for a candy bar to get an afternoon sugar fix, add these four fatigue-fighting foods to your diet today.
Fatigue Fighting Foods for Caregivers
Legumes are packed with fiber and protein. Low in fat, they are a complex carbohydrate that helps stabilize blood sugar. This gives you a lasting energy source to conquer caregiving duties throughout the day. Beans are highly nutritious, rich in minerals like potassium, magnesium, and iron.
How to Eat: Pack this three-bean salad from Food Network for lunch. A side of black beans is a smart, nutritious addition to a breakfast omelet.
2. Chia Seeds
This “warrior food” was eaten by ancient Aztecs and Mayans to improve performance. Small but mighty, chia seeds are an excellent source of omega-3’s which help raise good cholesterol says Medical News Today. These essential fatty acids improve brain power and memory. Chia is said to have anti-inflammatory properties that reduce joint and arthritis pain.
How to Eat: Chia seeds have a mild, nut-like flavor. Sprinkle atop of yogurt or cereals or mix into smoothies and baked goods for a protein punch.
3. Lean Meats
Coldwater fish like salmon, tuna, sardines, and anchovies are low in mercury and high good fats. Look to turkey and chicken for a dose of energy-boosting vitamin B. Even though beef often gets bad reviews from some nutritionists, a lean, grass-fed cut contains one-third your daily value of iron and zinc. Both are important for weight loss and stronger immunity.
How to Eat: Treat you and your senior family member to steak fajitas or fish for dinner. Try slow-cooker turkey chili for a lighter, nutritious version of a winter comfort food. Cooking in batches is a great time-saving idea for busy caregivers.
These leafy greens are one of the best superfoods for fighting fatigue. Spinach is a powerful, plant-based source of over a dozen vitamins and minerals that helps with muscle cramps, concentration, digestion, nerve health, and much more.
How to Eat: Spinach is so versatile, it can be added to almost any meal. Add greens to soups, casseroles, stir-fries and even to smoothies. Because spinach helps you feel full longer, it’s great for caregivers who are on-the-go and sometimes skip meals.
Feeling tired with no energy makes it hard to get through the day. When you’re a caregiver, you simply can’t afford that. Making simple changes in your diet, including choosing fatigue fighting foods, can make a big difference. Eating right lets you be the best caregiver you can be.