Feeling extra sluggish? You’re not alone. The change of seasons and longer days is exciting, but it also may make you feel a little lethargic as our bodies adjust. But now you can erase exhaustion with these tasty treats.
Citrus restores fluid balance.
We think of dehydration — and the tiredness it triggers — as a summer blight, but 75 percent of us are prone to dehydration in the winter, thanks to moisture-robbing dry air and a 40 percent drop in thirst response on chilly days, Cornell researchers say. To boost hydration — and energy! — by 42 percent in one week, enjoy a couple of oranges or other citrus daily. Citrus is mostly water, but it also contains minerals tissues need to retain fluids so they aren’t lost through your skin and kidneys.
Sweet potatoes tame pain-triggering inflammation.
Chilly and dreary conditions mean more time indoors and inactive, which doubles the risk of stiff, sore joints — plus, the weariness that goes hand in hand with being chronically achy. Sweet potatoes to the rescue! Stanford University researchers say these colorful spuds are nature’s number-one source of a compound called beta-carotene that halts tiredness-triggering muscle and joint inflammation, boosting energy by 55 percent if you enjoy one cup daily.
Avocados boost focus hormones.
Adding a small avocado to a meal can boost your focus for five hours, and enjoying one daily will increase your energy and stamina by 40 percent, Spanish researchers say. Thanks goes to this fruit’s rich stores of potassium — a mineral your brain uses to make energizing dopamine. Tips: Grilled avocados seasoned with salt, pepper, and lemon make a tasty side dish, and smashed avocado adds instant yum to sandwiches, burgers, and wraps.
Macadamias steady blood-sugar levels.
Crunching on just 12 to 15 macadamias daily can help steady blood-sugar control to boost energy and stamina by 65 percent, say UCLA researchers. Credit the nuts’ healthy plant fats, which energize a winter-weary pancreas to restore insulin sensitivity and correct blood-sugar issues that bring on fatigue.
Fish prompts serotonin release.
If winter blues have left you foggy and tired, bite into a tuna sandwich or fish taco. Fish nutrients like EPA and DHA encourage your brain to release a steady trickle of energizing serotonin, and research in The American Journal of Psychiatry suggests eating any type of fish three times weekly cuts the risk of blues-triggered tiredness by 75 percent.
Whole grains fire up cellular furnaces.
Opting for healthy whole grains like brown rice and popcorn could increase your energy, stamina, and endurance by 55 percent, suggests research in the journal Psychopharmacology. Experts say cold weather makes the energy-producing mitochondria in your muscle cells sluggish, but the B vitamins in whole grains prod them to function at their peak.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine.