Kathleen Barnes, guest from the “Food is Medicine” series, has answers to these questions and more:
Do you wake up feeling like you’ve never been asleep? Do you lie awake at night?
Do you feel fuzzy-headed and are prone to headaches, muscle aches, and general pains?
These symptoms are part of a basket of maladies that might be chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). They could also describe hypothyroidism or adrenal fatigue.
Unfortunately, these diseases are difficult to diagnose. And, since they are prevalent in women, doctors have a distressing tendency to dismiss the symptoms as psychosomatic.
Diagnosis is probably the biggest hurdle of these debilitating conditions. The average woman with hypothyroidism spends five to six years getting a diagnosis. While I can’t find any hard figures, it seems that chronic fatigue is probably even more frustrating for people looking for diagnosis and treatment.
About a million American have been diagnosed with CFS, but there are estimates that it affects as many as three percent of the population.
So what can you do for yourself if you suspect you have chronic fatigue or its partner, fibromyalgia?
Here are some ideas from my recent book. Food Is Medicine: 101 Prescriptions from the Garden.
Your garden has much to offer in terms of relief:
- Garlic has been shown to reduce the symptoms of fatigue from exertion and seems to works for people with CFS as well.
- Increasing your intake of foods rich in various forms of B vitamins, like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and spinach can help boost your energy. People with chronic fatigue frequently have low levels of vitamin B12, and these foods are rich sources.
- Potatoes and other foods high in potassium and magnesium will help relieve muscle pain and weakness.
- Low levels of the “feel good” brain chemical called dopamine can cause fatigue, so eating mustard greens and watercress, which are good sources of tyrosine (the amino acid from which dopamine is made by your body), can help relive the fatigue and low energy.
- Research also shows that vitamin C is a factor in reducing fatigue, so eating a variety of foods rich in “C” can improve your stamina. Rose hips, those bud-like remnants of roses after they have bloomed, have very high vitamin C levels. You can dry them and make a wonderful tart-tasting tea from them. Other C-rich food: strawberries, tomatoes, cantaloupe, and all citrus fruits.
- Many people with CFS also have low blood pressure. Unrefined sea salt is an excellent source of the minerals you need, including sodium, to bring your blood pressure and your energy back to normal. Also, a potassium-rich banana can keep the muscle pain away.
No need to drag through the days any longer. For more from Kathleen, go to www.kathleenbarnes.com. Listen to her on the Family Food Kitchen, “Food is Medicine” podcasts on the Family Food Kitchen show page.
Simply follow Kathleen’s advice so you can renew your daily energy and feel like yourself again.