Tired of feeling tired? These foods might help

Inflammation helps our bodies heal.  But when it becomes chronic, too much inflammation can damage the body, even cause heart attack and stroke.

Angel Nofzinger, a nurse practitioner with Preventive Medicine, a practice in Sandy Springs, GA,  hears the same complaint from patients:  they're tired of feeling tired.

Fatigue is the most common symptom.   But they also report stomach problems, foggy brain, or inability to sleep.

“And, they're just sort of non-specific symptoms and no one can really get to the root of the problem,” she says.

Once patients undergo some lab tests and a diagnostic workup, Nofzinger says, chronic inflammation is often to blame.

It plays a role in all kinds of health problems, from heart disease to Rheumatoid Arthritis to obesity.

But, Nofzinger says, you may be able to fix the problem by tweaking the way you eat.

Start by loading up on lots of fruits and vegetables, which are natural inflammation fighters.

"They’re full of antioxidants,” she says.  “If you eat a lot of bright foods.  Your oranges and your purples and your leafy greens, they're going to be full of free-radical fighting antioxidants."

Tomatoes and berries like blueberries and strawberries are great at reducing inflammation.  So are cherries and oranges.

Cut back on processed or packaged foods, which, are often packed with added sugar.

"And sugars definitely inflame our body,” she says.  “Our bodies can't handle too much sugar. So definitely keeping your body as natural as possible will limit excess sugars."

Limit junk food, or any food that is  hard for your digestive system to break down.

“If you're eating foods that your body doesn't fully digest or see as natural, then your immune system will start to attack the food itself, which will set off a cascade of inflammatory markers basically 24/7."

Plant-based oils like olive oil and anything made from nuts and seeds fight inflammation.  So do fatty fish like salmon, tuna and mackerel.  But Nofzinger says be careful with saturated fats.

"Coconut oil is wonderful for so many things, and it's very anti-inflammatory,” she says.  “But it's full of saturated fats. Your brain is composed primarily of saturated fats. So we don't want to limit those completely. But what we want to avoid are trans fats and fats, especially from meats, that are very processed. Because those do not work well with the body."