Diet Stress

Modern, affluent diets are typically high in energy, refined carbohydrate, salt, and saturated fat, but low in complex carbohydrates and fresh fruits and vegetables. This dietary pattern produces chronic, marginal deficiencies of several micronutrients - the B vit-

amins, magnesium, iron, and zinc - important for maintaining energy and fighting fatigue. Moreover, during periods of increased workload and stress, requirements for these micronutrients are higher. Increasing intake of whole grains and lean sources of protein, together with fresh fruits and vegetables will provide ample amounts of the B vitamins and minerals needed to combat fatigue.

Many people make the mistake of relying on large amounts of sugar and coffee during times of stress. Although they may supply short bursts of energy, too much caffeine and refined carbohydrate ultimately worsens chronic fatigue and produces headaches, irritability, and concentration difficulties. Because control of blood glucose is more difficult during times of stress, it is important to minimize intake of refined carbohydrates, which may trigger periods of reactive hypoglycemia (see pp. 185).

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Vitamin B6 supplementation period (days)

Fig. 5.33: Magnesium supplementation and chronic fatigue. 32 adults with chronic fatigue received either placebo or 50% magnesium sulfate (1 g in 2 ml) intramuscularly every weekfor 6 weeks. In the treatment group there was significant improvement in energy level, pain perception, and emotional state, compared with placebo. (Adapted from Cox IM, et al. Lancet. 1990;337:757)

0 15 30 90 180

Vitamin B6 supplementation period (days)

Fig. 5.33: Magnesium supplementation and chronic fatigue. 32 adults with chronic fatigue received either placebo or 50% magnesium sulfate (1 g in 2 ml) intramuscularly every weekfor 6 weeks. In the treatment group there was significant improvement in energy level, pain perception, and emotional state, compared with placebo. (Adapted from Cox IM, et al. Lancet. 1990;337:757)

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