Many people start the New Year thinking about their diet and how they might be able to make changes to improve their health and energy levels.
This lethargy is often experienced by individuals following a brain injury who often suffer from reduced energy levels and fatigue. However, did you know that one of the ways to combat fatigue is by boosting our energy levels with good nutrition?
We have reached out to Dietitian Siân Riley from Red Pepper Nutrition for some advice and she has provided us with five tips for fighting fatigue after brain injury.
5 tips for fighting brain injury fatigue
Sticking to a regular routine is important for sleep, exercise and fuelling our bodies. Meal planners and apps are great ways to get organised, plan shopping and remind us to drink plenty of water.
2. Regular Meals
Eating regularly is vital to keep our energy levels up throughout the day. Starchy carbohydrates (such as oats, pasta, rice and bread) are great sources of energy. Choose high fibre, whole grains such as brown rice, wholewheat pasta, porridge oats and brown or granary bread to provide that slow, sustained energy release during the day.
3. Variety is the spice of life
Your body needs a lot of nutrition! The more variety of foods we eat, the more likely we are to get the nutrients we need from our diet.
B vitamins are important for our fatigue levels as they work to release energy from food. These are found in a wide range of foods - from meats, dairy and eggs to whole grains, fruits, vegetables and fortified cereals.
Nutrients such as Iron (found in red meats, fortified cereals and green leafy vegetables) and folate (found in fruits, vegetables and fortified cereal) work to keep our red blood cells healthy, transferring oxygen and energy around our body.
Vitamin C supports iron absorption and is found in fruits and vegetables.
Omega 3 fats are also important for our energy levels. They are found in oily fish such as salmon, sardines and mackerel. For most of us, having 1-2 portions of oily fish per week will give us enough of this essential fatty acid. Vegans and vegetarians may want to consider an algae supplement.
4. Blood Levels
Ask your GP to check your Vitamin D, Iron and B vitamin levels.
Correcting low nutrient blood levels can often make a huge difference to energy levels and help to manage fatigue.
Don't be tempted to boost energy levels with high sugar foods, caffeine or alcohol. Long term these will only serve to reduce sleep quality and energy levels.
With thanks to Siân Riley
Dietitian, Red Pepper Nutrition