They contain an amino acid called tyrosine, which improves alertness by promoting the production of two fatigue-fighting neurotransmitters.
Make it work by: Eating the whole egg, rather than having an egg white omelette, because it’s egg yolk that contains the tyrosine. And add some spinach – which also contains tyrosine – to your omelette for a ‘double dose’ of the amino acid.
All cooking methods reduce tyrosine levels by about 50 per cent, but avoid using the microwave, which lowers a food’s tyrosine content even further.
A one-cup serve contains nearly three times the amount of vitamin-C you need each day – it helps fight fatigue by activating enzymes involved in energy production.
Make it work by: Eating the capsicum raw. Vitamin C is easily destroyed by heat and water, so cooked capsicum contains significantly less of the vitamin than the raw variety. If you prefer, you can grab a green or yellow one instead – green capsicums contain slightly less vitamin-C than the red variety, while yellow capsicums contain significantly more.
As well as drinking plenty of water, eating water-rich foods is key for helping to prevent feelings of fatigue,say US researchers. Because watermelons are 92 per cent water, they fit the bill perfectly.
Make it work by: Storing and eating watermelon at room temperature. Compared to fruit that has been stored in the fridge, ‘warmer’ watermelons contain up to double the amount of key antioxidants.
They deliver a hit of iron – about the same amount as a 100 serve of beef per oyster. Iron is essential for transporting oxygen in the blood, which is vital for feeling energized. When your levels are even just a little bit low, your brain is less able to think clearly and maintain concentration.
Make it work by: Not eating dairy foods like cheese and cream in the same meal as oysters. While oysters contain the variety of iron that’s easiest to absorb, calcium can inhibit iron absorption when it’s consumed at exactly the same time.
They’re a good source of magnesium, a mineral that’s been linked to an increased risk of fatigue when you don’t eat enough of it, which one in three women don’t. Increasing your magnesium levels also improves sleep quality, because the mineral helps regulate the body’s circadian rhythm. A 30 g serve of pumpkin seeds contains 50 per cent of your daily magnesium requirements.
Make it work by: Throwing the pumpkin seeds into a salad that contains green vegetables and avocado. Those foods contain boron, a mineral that improves how well the body absorbs magnesium.
This popular orange vegetable is a good source of fibre, and feelings of fatigue and alertness improve by at least 10 per cent when you eat enough fibre every day. Fibre bumps up the number of friendly bacteria in the digestive tract and keeps you feeling fuller for longer, both of which help to maintain energy levels. A cup of carrots contains 7g of fibre, which is more than one quarter of your daily requirements.
Make it work by: eating your carrots washed and scrubbed rather than peeled. By leaving the skins on, you get a hit of soluble and insoluble fibre, which are both essential for good health.
It’s packed full of omega-3 fatty acids, and they’ve been linked to improved levels of both mental and physical fatigue, as well as faster reaction times.
Make it work by: Using a splash of extra-virgin-olive oil to pan-fry the fish. As well as delivering a hit of omega-3s in its own right, unlike other oils, olive oil doesn’t produce toxic compounds when it’s used to cook fish at high temperatures.
Thanks to the polyphenols it delivers, dark chocolate helps to reduce fatigue by increasing levels of at least three brain chemicals that act as stimulants.
Make it work by: Choosing a dark chocolate that contains at least 85 per cent cocoa, because the higher the cocoa content, the more polyphenols the chocolate contains.