The Natural Way To Increase Energy In Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

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Food As Fuel Basic Building Blocks Of Energy

When you suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome your body is in a state of constant low energy and lacks enough resource to get you through each day. Cravings for sugary carbohydrates, greasy fried foods and caffeine are hard to ignore, but these foods are not the natural way to increase energy. As tempting as they are,  poor food choices cannot provide the fuel your body needs to help you recover.

You wake up from another night of non refreshing sleep and shuffle to the kitchen on automatic pilot heading for the coffee machine. A caffeine fix is desperately needed to give you an energy jolt to get you going, to drag yourself through another day. You’re probably also craving a sweet chocolaty muffin or a bowl of sugary cereal to give you added oomph to start the day.

the natural way to increase energy

These poor food choices set you off on the daily roller coaster of pumping caffeine and sugar into your body, flogging your poor adrenals and setting your blood sugar up for yet another spike. This routine becomes a daily habit as you try hard just to get going in the morning.

But the temporary lift in energy you get from these low nutrient foods is followed pretty quickly by a crash. By mid-morning you are craving another sugar and caffeine fix to tide you over until lunchtime. Then once again as your adrenals crash around the regular time of mid-afternoon, you are craving yet another snack to keep you going until dinner.

Often in chronic fatigue syndrome there is an adrenal fatigue component to your illness. Learn more about adrenal fatigue syndrome and its typical symptoms here.

When dealing with chronic fatigue syndrome, it is vitally important to eat healthy nutritious food to provide you with the fuel needed to help all of your body systems function well and provide the building blocks of energy. Fast food, caffeine and sugar fixes just won’t cut it as they provide a lot of empty calories but little in the way of nutrition.

Foods rich in vitamin B6, magnesium and potassium are great for energy. Vitamin B6 can help relieve fatigue. Some food sources containing these important vitamins and minerals include:

  • Cooked spinach
  • Bananas
  • Wild salmon
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Avocados

the natural way to increase energy

In a different post where I talk about exercise and chronic fatigue syndrome, I explain how you can temporarily feel better from exercise but this is followed by a crash if you overdo the intensity.

Eating the wrong foods can also cause a crash in your energy. Empty calories from food without nutrients give you a temporary energy lift but result in a crash as blood sugar spikes then plummets leaving you feeling tired once again.


Get Rid Of Bad Food Choices – Give Your System A Rest

It takes willpower to change bad dietary habits, particularly when cravings have taken over and your body is crying out for fuel. However, it’s easier to stick to a healthy eating plan once you understand that the cravings are your body’s way of telling you it is crying out for fuel as it has limited energy for your needs.

Instead of being tempted to go for the quick fix of yet another coffee or sugary snack from the vending machine, take a minute to recognize what your body is trying to tell you. Make sure you have some healthy snacks on hand for times when the cravings hit, so you can fill your body with healthy fuel.

the natural way to increase energy

Many people with chronic fatigue syndrome have one or more food sensitivity. These can include a sensitivity to gluten, dairy, peanuts, soy, yeast and shellfish. Even some foods which are considered healthy can be detrimental to your health if you are sensitive to them. It’s important to remove any allergens from your diet to give your body a rest and help it heal.

When your body senses a particular food as harmful it sets up an immune response and produces histamine. This is what causes the symptoms of itchy watery eyes, runny or stuffy nose, a scratchy throat, or hives. Food sensitivities can also contribute to feelings of fatigue.

An IgG (immunoglobulin) test is carried out from a blood sample and can quickly identify which foods you are sensitive to. It will provide vital information to help you refine your new healthy way of eating to suit your particular needs.

Now that allergens are completely removed from your diet you should start to feel improvement from symptoms within a few weeks. Elimination diets usually take about 3 to 6 weeks before your system has calmed down sufficiently and the allergic response stops. The foods can then be introduced one at a time back into the diet as you test slowly and carefully for any reaction.


What To Do About Cravings – Stop Them In Their Tracks

Often the very foods you are intolerant to are the ones you crave the most. Cravings for salty fast food or sugary treats may be your body’s way of alerting you to nutritional imbalances.

Cravings for salty snacks are often triggered when the adrenals are under functioning as they need salt to function effectively. Instead of reaching for salty fried fast food, make a healthier choice.

When your adrenals are under stress they need salt as well as high levels of Vitamin C to function and repair. Read my review of  the high quality, easily assimilated Vitamin C I use here.

Try some cucumber sticks liberally sprinkled with sea salt. Air popped popcorn, or baked sweet potato fries both with a shake of sea salt are good snack choices.

the natural way to increase energy

If sugary snack food cravings hit, try including more protein and healthy fats like coconut oil into your diet.

Fiber can help you stay full longer so include vegetables and seeds like flax and chia, all good fiber sources. Chromium supplements can also be beneficial in reducing sugar cravings.

Putting It All Together

Understand that particularly when you have an illness, the natural way to increase energy is by providing your body with healthy nutritious food. Kick bad food habits to the kerb and introduce healthful food for energy.

Do some testing to find out which food intolerance may be contributing to your chronic fatigue syndrome. Once the results are known, start an elimination diet to give your system a break from the allergic response.

Be prepared for energy slumps by preparing healthy snacks to prevent you from reaching for caffeine and sugar.

It takes time and patience to overhaul your diet and change habits that may have been ingrained for years. Don’t give up the results will come in time.

Please leave any questions or comments you have below.








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  1. This is a good read and quite informative especially on cravings and how to practically handle them.

    I do concur with you on the dangers of sugar, carbs, and empty calories, they are not the best cure as they just give temporary energy boost which is dangerous as those spikes to energy levels are not sustained for longer periods, and eventually have longterm health implications.

    My best approach to health is make your food your medicine otherwise in the long run, you will have your medicine as your food.

    If people would heed your advice here, they would better make the right choices and cut out all the food items that makes them sick. The body certainly communicates to us, but many times we don’t pay attention. It’s high time we do so.

    Thank you for sharing this valuable and timeless health nuggets.

  2. Hi
    I am really suffering from this my energy levels have hit the floor:(
    Everything you say in this post is so true and helpful, it is good to know about the food sources that contain important vitamins and minerals as i would not have a clue.
    I drink lots of tea do you think that can cause me any problems? i can’t drink decaffeinated as that gives me a headache.
    Thanks for the info:)

    • Hi Sharon

      Sorry to hear you are suffering from low energy. Tea contains caffeine which can be detrimental to adrenal health. Perhaps you have headaches caused by caffeine withdrawal symptoms when you change from standard tea to decaf. Try to allow your body to adapt over a day or two to see if the headache disappears. 

      It’s really better not to have caffeine if you are suffering from low energy as it only supplies a short term boost but makes the problem worse in the long term. 

  3. Nice and informative article. I have the caffeine problem and I guess I just have to accept that it is a drug and that I need to replace it. I have done so in the past but my mind always craves for coffee. I shall try some green juices and see how it goes. Thanks for the inspiration

    • Hi Hendrik

      Thanks for your comments. Yes it’s not easy to remove caffeine from your daily routine. It becomes a habit and nowadays there is such a social aspect to it’s use too.

      I’ve found it useful to start by simply cutting down on my intake before finally stopping it completely to avoid the nasty withdrawal headaches I get if I go cold turkey.

  4. Try this for alternative
    1/4 tsp decaf
    1/4 tsp dutch cocoa
    1g Chaga mushroom
    1g Reishi mushroom
    Stir into 3/4 cup of hot almond or soy milk

    • Hi Norm thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. Interesting combination. Mushrooms are great for helping build a strong immune system.

  5. That’s exactly what I’m going through Ann!

    I’m a coffee drinker and I drink coffee before going to work every morning but as work piles up, I started getting tired by afternoon and I end up drinking more coffee. Sometimes when I have to work until midnight, I drink another coffee by the evening and another one midnight to keep myself awake. 

    I try avoiding red bull and sweet stuff though because those sugar levels are high, so I drink coffee instead without sugar nor milk. Still, I do feel a bit worried though for even without sugar, that caffeine level must be high but compared to my co-workers, I’m actually drinking lesser than the other night owls. Will this effect me in the long run?

    • Hi Riaz thanks for leaving a comment. I think the issue with coffee is that your body seems to adapt to higher levels and you need more and more to get the same stimulating effect. Increased caffeine levels place a strain on your adrenals which is not good for overall health. 

  6. Hi,

    Yay landing in this post is really timely to me. Based on this post I think I’m guilty with this chronic fatigue syndrome. Everyday, upon waking up I always tend to crave for coffee and feeling weak. I will get back my chia seeds include/mix on my food again. I did’nt know that there is An IgG (immunoglobulin) test, I beleive I need to this because I think I have lactose intolerance and allergies to gluten. I’m a fan of salmon and I used to include that in my meal at least twice a week. What’s the difference of wild salmon from the other? Cheers!


    • Hi Moviefan, thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. If you suspect you could have food sensitivities  it is worth getting tested as intolerance can really have quite a negative effect on your health and overall energy. Salmon is a great food, farmed salmon has higher fat content with three times the amount of saturated fat. It contains slightly more Omega 3 but much more Omega 6 than wild salmon. Wild salmon is higher in minerals such as zinc and iron due to the natural food wild salmon feeds on. So nutritionally wild salmon is considered the better option. 

  7. Great article. Fatigue torture me on a daily basis, mainly because after my 9-5 job, I come home and start working on my home based business, by the time I go to sleep, I will be extremely tired.

     This is the norm everyday. So in the past, I usually drink Dragon, this is a common drink in my town, the drink has a lot of caffeine. It worked so much for providing the much needed energy 

    I was later diagnosed with Ulcers and was told to avoid such drinks.

    So as I was reading your article, I was much relieved that I have found a good alternative with no side effects

    Types of foods that can provide Vitamin B6 are readily available, it won’t be much of a hustle to find them.

    Thank you so much

    • Hi Ngonidzashe Thanks for your comments. Wow, a drink that caused you stomach ulcers! I’m glad you’ve managed to find a healthier option.

  8. Lately as it’s the holiday season i am more fatigued than normal and am really searching for a natural way to increase my energy.   I’m so glad i found this post!    

    I never knew that vitamin B6 provides energy.   Do you have any recipe ideas that are packed with the right foods (with vitamin b6) to increase my energy?

    Thank you!

    • Hi Barry thanks for your comment. Yes the holiday season can be draining in so many ways. Unfortunately I don’t have any specific recipes, but will work on it, an excellent idea for this time of year, thanks for the idea!


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