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Anti-Fatigue Diet

By Tamara Moffett

A hectic schedule, persistent stress and a poor diet can leave you feeling mentally and physically worn out. If fatigue is slowing you down, talk to your doctor or dietitian about formulating an anti-fatigue diet. Adopting an anti-fatigue diet involves adding energy-enhancing foods to your diet and avoiding those foods that may worsen your fatigue.

What to Eat

Adopting a healthy diet is an important part of reducing fatigue. Your body needs a consistent supply of vitamins and minerals from healthy foods like fruits, vegetables and lean meats. Your diet should primarily consist of complex carbohydrates and protein. According to Psychology Today, eating foods rich in iron, proteins and complex carbohydrates can help fight your fatigue. Complex carbohydrates are one of your body’s main energy sources. You can add complex carbohydrates to your anti-fatigue diet by choosing foods like whole grains and pastas. Find energizing proteins in foods like fish, chicken and eggs. Good sources of iron include vegetables like spinach, dried beans, eggs and lean red meats.

What to Avoid

Your anti-fatigue diet should exclude or limit foods that contain simple carbohydrates and caffeine. This includes soft drinks, sugary snacks and foods made with white flour. While simple carbohydrates and caffeine can also boost your energy, your body breaks down, absorbs and uses up these compounds at a rapid rate. You should avoid relying on these foods as a permanent solution to your fatigue, as they can potentially cause unwanted weight gain, insomnia and irritability.

Time Frame

The time of day you eat certain foods can also impact your energy level. Try to eat energy-boosting foods earlier in the day, when you are most active. Reserve foods such as turkey that have more of a calming effect for late in the evening or at night to help promote sleep. Also, avoid skipping meals — especially breakfast. Breakfast helps give your body the fuel it needs to start the day. Skipping breakfast can leave you feeling fatigued before your day even begins.


Water should be the primary beverage on your anti-fatigue diet. According to the National Institutes of Health, lethargy and fatigue is a common symptom of dehydration. Water helps your body transport and absorb nutrients from the food you eat. If you do not drink enough water, your body cannot properly process and use these nutrients. Drinking plenty of water will help you get the most out of your anti-fatigue diet.


According to the IBS Treatment Center, food allergies are a little-known though common cause of fatigue. When you consume something you are allergic to, your body burns a significant supply of energy trying to remove it. If you suspect your fatigue may be the result of a food allergy, try adjusting your anti-fatigue diet. Remove the suspected food item from your diet for a week or two and observe whether your fatigue decreases. Your doctor can also check for food allergies using a standard blood test.

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