Feeling tired during the day is something that all of us experience at one point or another. It’s easy to put it down to a few too many late nights, stress at work, or having an active few days with the kids. While reaching for the coffee and trying to get to bed at a reasonable hour may provide a quick fix solution, feeling fatigued for an extended period may indicate an entirely different problem.
As we get our energy from the food we eat, feeling fatigued could be an indicator that your diet isn’t providing the vitamins and minerals you need. Eating a balanced diet with a variety of foods ensures that your body can get all the nutrients it requires. Certain vitamins and minerals are essential for your body to reduce tiredness and fatigue and convert your food into energy – learn about these and the foods that contain them below.
Fatigue reducing foods
Vitamin C is an important so-called ‘antioxidant vitamin’ that helps maintain energy levels. Though the vitamin is mostly associated with oranges and other citrus fruits, you can also find it in broccoli, peas and tomatoes. Getting enough is as easy as eating a rainbow – try adding a side of delicious frozen peas to your evening meal.
Folate / Folic Acid (or B9)
Vitamin B9 (also known as folic acid, or folate) is important in the production of red blood cells that carry oxygen around your body. You can easily find folate in peas, spinach, edamame and many other veggies. There’s no excuse when a portion of Steamfresh Edamame Beans, Green Beans and Baby Corn cooks in just 3 and a half minutes!
Vitamin B12 helps release the energy from our food, for our cells to use. Eating enough of this vital vitamin also prevents you from developing a type of anaemia that can make you feel weak and tired. You can find vitamin B12 in eggs and dairy, as well as white and oily fish. Why not try our Mediterranean Fish Fillets with Lemon and Black Pepper or our classic Cod Fish Fingers to get your fix.
Getting enough vitamin B6 is important when you’re looking to reduce fatigue as it helps to make red blood cells- the cells that transport oxygen throughout your body and keep you energised. Especially good sources of this vitamin are cod and chicken, so why not try our Breaded Coated Fish with Colourful Vegetable Noodles and Roast Potatoes recipe.
The body needs iron to make haemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that transports oxygen from your lungs all around your body to various organs and tissues. Not eating enough of it results in iron deficiency anaemia that leaves you feeling fatigued and weak. Women are at risk of this as they lose iron when on their periods. Thankfully, it can be prevented by including enough iron food sources such as edamame, lean red meat, and many beans and pulses in your diet.
Vitamins B2 & B3
B2 and B3 are used to convert the carbohydrates, fats and proteins we eat into energy. B2 is particularly important as it helps along with vitamins B6 and folic acid in the production of red blood cells. You can obtain B2 from legumes, eggs, mushrooms and milk, whereas B3 is found in lean meat, wheat flour (as found in bread), eggs and dairy.
How we get energy from our food
‘Normal energy yielding metabolism’ may sound complicated, but it simply refers to the process that enables us to get the energy from our food! We break down and release energy from food by converting carbohydrates, lipids and proteins into energy using a variety of different vitamins and minerals, as well as acids and enzymes. Keep scrolling to find out all you need to know on these key nutrients, and the foods you can integrate into your diet to help maintain your energy levels.
Vitamins B1, B2 & B3
B1 (also known as Thiamine) is found in wholegrains, nuts, and fortified cereals. A high B2 (or Riboflavin) diet contains legumes, eggs, mushrooms, milk, and fortified cereals. To get enough B3 (or Niacin), aim to eat lean meat, wheat flour (as found in bread), eggs, dairy and fortified cereals.
Calcium is found in dairy or fortified dairy alternatives and contributes to building strong bones. One reason that pregnant women in particular may feel fatigued is that when bones begin to calcify in the womb, because babies are taking their calcium need from their mother’s supply.
Iodine is found in milk and certain seafood including shellfish, seaweed (nori as used in sushi) and fish. Help to eat your iodine recommendation with Birds Eye’s Inspirations range, such as these Rosemary & Sea Salt Lightly Dusted Cod Fillets.
Including these vitamins and minerals in your diet will help to maintain your energy levels and reduce feelings of fatigue. Learn more about how to turn dull dinners into happy, healthy meals and Eat in Full Colour with Birds Eye.