Those nagging symptoms we brush off as no big deal can actually ID the energy thief draining our vitality — and the Rx that ends tiredness. Read on for your diagnosis, and what you can do to get that pep back in your step.
If your rings feel tight, swing your arms.
If you’re feeling bloated and puffy, especially in your hands and fingers, the problem could be sluggish circulation, which allows fatigue-triggering metabolic wastes to build up in the extremities, according to Austrian researchers. But taking two brisk eight-minute walks a day, making sure to swing your arms energetically as you move, encourages the movement of toxins through the lymphatic system to the liver, where they can be converted into easily excreted compounds. Start today and you’ll boost your energy in 48 hours, plus flush away up to five pounds of trapped fluids.
If you have cracked lips, drink your Bs.
Some 40 percent of us are deficient in B vitamins, and fatigue — especially when paired with painful cracked lips — is a red flag, say Canadian scientists. B vitamins rev the production of the energizing brain chemical acetylcholine and fortify mucosal tissues, so areas that endure strain (like the corners of the mouth) are the first to show distress. The easy Rx to boost energy and speed healing: Start your day with a smoothie loaded with vitamin B-rich greens.
If you’re experiencing breakouts, reach for coconut oil.
Tiredness coupled with rash-prone skin is a surefire indication of intestinal yeast overgrowth, say UCLA researchers. Yeast release toxins that lower the production of energizing beta brain waves, plus trigger epidermal inflammation, raising the risk of eczema and other skin woes. The simple solution? Add 3 Tbs. of coconut oil to your daily diet (in place of other fats if you’re trying to slim down) and you’ll see a noticeable uptick in energy and skin health in as little as eight days. The reason: Coconut oil destroys yeast cells on contact by splitting open their protective outer membrane.
If your eyes itch, try a neti pot.
Itchy eyes can be a sign that fatigue is caused by a reaction to irritants like dust, say scientists in PLOS One. When faced with airborne allergens, the immune system releases histamine, a compound that makes the nervous system sluggish and triggers allergy symptoms. Mixing 1/2 tsp. of salt and baking soda in two cups of distilled water and flushing sinuses daily with a neti pot eases itchy eyes and fatigue for 84 percent of women.
If you suffer from leg cramps, enjoy an Epsom soak.
Muscle aches and exhaustion are telltale signs you need more magnesium — a mineral that prods the brain to produce its key energy enzyme (ATP), plus helps muscles relax so they don’ cramp, says Robin Miller, MD, author of Healed ($12.95, Amazon). Fortunately, British scientists have found that soaking in an Epsom salts bath for 20 minutes a night boosts magnesium levels by 36 percent-enough to cut fatigue and cramping in half in a week.
If you have under-eye circles, nosh on black licorice.
Adrenal hormones play a key role in energy production, but European scientists say they also keep capillaries healthy so fluids can circulate properly. And when they’re in low supply, blood can pool in the thin skin under the eyes, leading to dark circles. The trick that revs energy and helps nix dark circles: eating 3 pieces of real black licorice a day. Licorice root’s glycyrrhetic acid energizes the adrenals and enhances capillary health.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.