Everyone finds it difficult to drag ourselves out of bed from time to time. But for those suffering with chronic fatigue, it can be a daily struggle. With no known cure, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) can leave sufferers exhausted, depressed and frustrated. But thankfully, natural foods and supplements can support the mind and body in boosting energy, building immunity, and banishing chronic fatigue for good.
There is no one cause of CFS, which is part of the reason doctors so often struggle to treat it effectively. But whether it’s triggered by food allergies or an immune disorder, the overarching symptom is the same: debilitating tiredness. Other common symptoms include:
While chronic fatigue syndrome is often treated with drug therapies, research has shown that diet can play a huge role in relieving and managing symptoms. Here are six of the most powerful holistic remedies and fatigue-busting superfoods for beating chronic fatigue.
Also called ‘Indian ginseng’, Ashwagandha is an important herb in Ayurvedic medicine. Believed to prolong life, fight disease and help the body and mind adapt to stress, this superfood can also provide relief from CFS.
According to Alakananda Devi, director of the Alandi Ayurvedic Clinic in Boulder, Ashwagandha is so effective because it boosts the neurological and muscular functions of chronic fatigue sufferers, as well as helping regulate sleep cycles and reduce stress and depression.
B vitamins play an important role in metabolizing energy, making them a useful tool in the battle against chronic fatigue. One particular study at Sweden’s Gothenburg University found that patients given a weekly dose of vitamin B12 reported a greater sense of well-being and happiness, as well as a definite improvement in their levels of fatigue.
Used in South American medicine for thousands of years, maca is a powerful superfood that regulates hormones while boosting energy levels. Loaded with tiredness-zapping complex B vitamins and trace minerals, it’s not surprising that it can also be an effective treatment for CFS.
But it’s not all about the B vitamins – maca also contains a number of compounds that stimulate the hypothalamus and pituitary glands, which go on to help the adrenal and thyroid glands.
Like Ashwagandha, rhodiola is an adaptogenic herb – meaning it helps your mind and body adapt to the stresses and strains of everyday life. As well as offering general defense from stress, rhodiola also boasts fatigue-fighting properties.
So how does it work? Well, studies have shown that rhodiola has the unique ability to rebalance monoamines – a type of neurotransmitter that some researchers believe may be out of balance in CFS patients. The result is higher energy levels and a clearer mind.
Herbal teas are a time-honored approach to restoring the body’s natural balance, and in the case of CFS they can be really effective. Thanks to its immune-boosting properties, ginseng tea is a particularly good choice. In one test tube study, scientists found that both ginseng and Echinacea increased the immune response in cells taken from people with CFS, suggesting it could play an active role in fighting fatigue and repairing immunity.
Finally, don’t forget the most common health advice of all: eat plenty of fruit and vegetables! It may seem simple, but eating your greens really can help reduce the symptoms of chronic fatigue. According to a 2002 study, CFS patients show elevated levels of methemoglobin, a marker of oxidative stress. This means that natural foods and herbs rich in antioxidants could have a profound effect in reducing free radical damage.
Fruits and vegetables such as goji berries, blueberries, kale and spinach, are all full of antioxidants, making them an essential part of a fatigue-fighting diet.
Finally, in the fight against chronic fatigue, no kitchen would be complete without Moringa Oleifera. More and more research is being conducted into this natural supplement and its impressive health benefits. The health supplement boasts high levels of iron, magnesium and Vitamin A, all of which the body needs to help us feel alert and full of energy.
Many people pop Moringa in their green smoothie in the morning to set them up for the day, a healthy alternative to coffee that will give your body a huge surge of nutrients to get you going in the morning.