Fatigue is more than simply feeling very tired. It’s an exhaustion that is relentless, interfering with normal daily activities, and often can’t be relieved by a night’s sleep.

Fatigue is a symptom to many physical and mental health conditions. It can also be a concern when your body is trying to gain back some strength after an illness. Fatigue can also be related to stress, and not getting enough sleep or exercise. Sometimes even an unhealthy diet can be contributing to one’s fatigue.

Including a variety of nutrient-rich, energy-boosting foods is a key part to any balanced diet, but it is especially beneficial when fatigue is an issue. It’s important to always start the day with breakfast and try not to skip meals. This helps to keep a steady blood sugar throughout the day and avoids any major dip, which can increase the feeling of fatigue. If your appetite is poor, try to eat little, but often.

Seeds and nuts are packed with healthy fats and are perfect as a snack, on their own or with yoghurt, providing a slow release of carbohydrates.

There are many fresh, wholesome foods that can help to boost one’s energy. Bananas make for a speedy, energy-rich snack and are packed with fibre and nutrients such as potassium and magnesium. Protein-based foods such as eggs, Greek yogurt, poultry, fish and cheese help to keep the body energised by providing it with a slow release of energy. Iron-rich foods, such as red meat, eggs and green, leafy vegetables are particularly important to include in all our diets. Menstruating women are most prone to iron-deficiency anaemia, which characteristically presents with extreme levels of fatigue, but iron-deficiency anaemia can still occur in children, men and postmenopausal women.

Being adequately hydrated plays an important role in fighting fatigue, as water helps to regulate the body’s energy. Limit caffeine from late afternoon as it can interfere with natural sleep patterns: in its place, enjoy a cup of chamomile or peppermint tea.

Fatigue can sometimes be eased by a combination of lifestyle measures such as ensuring you get a good night’s sleep, focusing on a nutrient-rich diet, reducing stress and incorporating exercise into daily routines. However, if fatigue becomes an ongoing problem, it’s important to rule out the possibility of any underling condition by discussing your fatigue with your doctor.

Oat bread

This oat bread is packed with protein-rich ingredients to give you a good energy boost first thing in the morning or enjoy it alongside an egg as a nutritious lunch.

Oat bread. \ Nessa Robins

400g porridge oats

2tbsp sunflower seeds, plus extra for topping

2 tbsp sesame seeds

1tsp bread soda, sieved

½ tsp salt

500g Greek yoghurt

50ml milk

1tbsp honey

1 Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C /Gas Mark 6. Lightly grease a loaf tin with some butter.

2 Place the oats into a food processor and blitz for a few moments, until fine and they have a similar appearance to flour.

3 Add the blitzed oats to a large bowl with the seeds, bread soda and salt. Stir to combine.

4 Make a well in the centre and add in the yoghurt, milk and honey. Using one hand, keep stirring the ingredients until a ball of dough has formed.

5 When it comes together, place into the greased loaf tin. Top with a scattering of sunflower seeds and flatten slightly to ensure the loaf is even and the seeds are sticking to the dough.

6 Place in the preheated oven for 50 minutes. After this time, carefully remove the loaf from the tin. Place the loaf directly on to the oven rack and continue to bake for an additional 10 minutes.

7 Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack.

Nut bars

These nut bars are packed with healthy fats and fibre and make for a delicious mid-afternoon snack.

150g raw almonds

150g raw cashews

150g raw pecans

150ml maple syrup

100g natural peanut butter

½ tsp sea salt

1 Line a Swiss roll tin with greaseproof paper, leaving a little of the paper over the edges.

2 Roughly chop the nuts and place in a large, non-stick pan over a medium heat.

3 Stirring continuously, toast the nuts for about two minutes, taking care not to burn them. Take from the heat straight away.

4 Add the maple syrup, peanut butter, and sea salt to a small saucepan. Over a low heat, stirring continuously, bring the mixture to a boil and simmer for about two minutes. Allow the mix to thicken a little.

5 Add the toasted nuts to the pot and stir well to combine.

6 Pour into the prepared tin and smooth the mixture out evenly using a spatula or the back of a spoon.

7 Allow to cool fully before cutting into bars. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days.

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