“Wait — that can’t be right,” Linda Harris said to herself, lying in bed and staring at the clock. “My quick afternoon nap had just lasted four hours — and it wasn’t the first time,” she recalls.
“I knew I’d have to work at night to catch up, but would be sleepy again by 9 or 10 o’clock. Napping wasn’t helping me overcome the fatigue, and it was starting to make things worse. I knew I had to try something else before I lost my business.
“By the time I was 61, I had experienced relentless tiredness most of my adult life. In the ’80s, I was diagnosed with anemia and prescribed iron supplements. But I rarely took them because they upset my stomach. When the kids were little, there were times I didn’t have the energy to play with them as hard as I wanted to. I did what I could, wanting to do more. Some days, it was all I could do to push through their schedules, from soccer to music and theater. The doctor had also suggested more exercise, but I couldn’t figure out how I’d fit it in, and I guess I felt with all my activities I was getting enough exercise. Ultimately, I believed there was no way to overcome the fatigue, and I just did the best I could.
“I work remotely as a claims adjuster and have my own business writing and conducting trainings for different companies. Exhausted all the time, I always seemed to be working to catch up or keep up. It got to the point that I needed to take a nap every afternoon, even en if it meant sleeping in my car at lunchtime if I wasn’t working from home. And when I was working at home, letting myself lie down to take a quick nap too often led to me accidentally sleeping three or four hours. I’d then have to launch back into work until I was too tired to continue at night. I talked to my physician about it once again, and he didn’t do blood work but said I should be more consistent about taking the iron and eating iron-rich foods. I wasn’t worried, because I figured the long hours I was working were contributing to the fatigue, but I wished there was something I could do to overcome come it.
Energy to spare!
“In 2018, I set out to improve my health because I was on four blood pressure medications and I had digestive issues. I had been taking beet powder on and off since 2017 because I read it might help with energy, but I decided to commit to taking it regularly because I had also heard that beet powder could lower blood pressure. I bought HumanN SuperBeets powder online (Buy on Amazon, $37.95) and followed directions to mix one teaspoon with about four to six ounces of any drink, such as water, juice, or a smoothie.
Gradually, I began to see my blood pressure go down. Over time, this one change kept my blood pressure in lower ranges in a way that medications alone hadn’t.
“If the powder could do that, I was sure a healthier diet could bring about more good changes! I bought fresh beets and started eating lots of salads, mostly spring mix, and arugula because they’re my favorites. I also stopped eating meat. Somewhere along the way, I realized I also liked how eating this way made me feel. I found I was drinking less coffee because I wasn’t as tired and also wasn’t falling asleep at 8 pm anymore. I did some quick research and discovered the foods I was eating were nitrate-rich and that nitrates are converted to nitric oxide in the body, which helps with blood flow and helps bring oxygen and nutrients where they’re needed. And because beet powder is high in nitrates, it also boosts nitric oxide in the body. I hadn’t heard of nitric oxide before, but I found out that without enough of it, my body likely wasn’t getting the nutrients it needed for all-day energy. While I had always tried to eat healthy, it was my new focus on dark, leafy greens and beets that provided the nitrates my body needed.
“Today, I am thrilled to know that so many of our problems can be solved through diet. Three months after starting the nitrate-rich diet, and nine months after starting beet powder, I went from four blood pressure medications to two. Nitrate-rich foods like beets, leafy vegetables, berries, apples, and bananas have become a regular part of my diet. Not only do they provide me with energy, but I find I am able to focus better, and they seem to improve my mood.
“Now, I’m not napping anymore and I’m getting my work done. These foods have made such a big difference in what I can do and how clearly I can think. My hands can barely keep up with my brain at the computer!”
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.
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