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Last Updated on January 12, 2018

How To Fight Inflammation? Ginger And Other Foods That Can Cure Inflammation!

How To Fight Inflammation? Ginger And Other Foods That Can Cure Inflammation!

Inflammation – Should we worry?

Health advocates are always referring to inflammation, but in actual fact what are they really talking about?

Inflammation is basically a natural process of the body, the body’s chemical messengers encourage a process or an immune response.

But the kind we hear about in the new-age health context is not merely like a broken ankle or a cut; it is the chronic, pervasive low-level of inflammation.

Studies indicate that inflammation affects almost everything from from hip fractures, acid reflux and neuro-degenerative diseases. Many diseases that plague society like arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, inflammatory bowel disease and asthma are tied to one common denominator: Inflammation

Prominent wellness community voices believe inflammation is the root of many diseases. Our current age of environmental pollutants, obesity and high stress levels is a calling for us to do away with some inflammation myths.

Fast Facts on Inflammation

  • Inflammation is a self-protection mechanism, an immune response of the body to alleviate harmful stimuli and begin the healing process. Our wounds, infections and tissue damages heal with inflammation. But when this process gets out of control, for instance in a case of rheumatoid arthritis, it damages the body. It plays a role in disorders like obesity, cancer and heart disease.
  • The initial stage of inflammation is termed irritation, it then turns into inflammation.
  • The discharge of pus follows the inflammation granulation stage, the wound formation and round tissue masses.
  • Note that inflammation is an element of the healing process. Reducing inflammation is necessary is some cases, but not always.

Types of Inflammation

Acute inflammation: Starts with a rapid onset and becomes severe quickly.

Chronic inflammation: Long-term cases of inflammation that can last for months or years. Chronic inflammation can cause several conditions and diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, some cancer types, atherosclerosis,
hay fever and others.

Lifestyle choices that compose of food that we eat each day can either balance anti-inflammatory body compounds or tip one end of the scale.

10 Foods to Avoid in a Anti-Inflammation Diet

Incorporating natural foods that are anti-inflammatory foods in diets is as important as avoiding or reducing foods that promote inflammation.

1. Sugars

    An excess of sugar intake is known to cause tooth decay.[1] Moreover it is linked to obesity, chronic diseases like metabolic syndrome, and diabetes. Recent studies prove that sugar and dairy causes acne.

    2. Dairy

      Approximately sixty percent of the population in the world are unable to digest milk.[2] Milk is an allergen that triggers inflammatory responses. These are inclusive of stomach distress like constipation and diarrhea as well as skin conditions like skin rashes, hives, acne and also breathing difficulties.

      3. Cooking Oil

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        Common cooking oils that are used in restaurants and homes have high omega-6 fatty acids and low omega-3 fats.[3] This imbalance promotes inflammatory diseases like cancer and heart disease.

        4. Trans fats

          Trans fats increase ‘bad’ cholesterol and lower ‘good’ cholesterol levels.[4] They promote inflammation, insulin resistance, obesity and lead to degenerative illnesses. They are found in deep fried foods, commercially baked items, fast foods, and foods prepared with margarine, hydrogenated oil and vegetable shortening.

          5. Meat produced commercially

            Meat produced commercially results in animals that are fed with high inflammatory diets like high omega 6 fats and low omega 3 fats.[5] They gain fat as they are kept in compressed environments and given antibiotics and hormones to grow faster. This meat should be avoided.

            6. Alcohol

              Regular alcohol consumption causes inflammation of the larynx, esophagus and liver.[6] This chronic inflammation promotes the growth of tumors leading to cancer.

              7. Processed and Red Meat

                Medical Studies have located a molecule that is not naturally produced by humans (Neu5Gc).[7] After this compound is ingested, the body begins to develop anti-Neu5Gc antibodies that trigger chronic inflammation. This inflammation is linked to heart disease and cancer.

                8. Refined Grain

                  Many grains that we eat are refined. They are devoid of vitamin B and fiber in contrast to unrefined grains.[8] Refined grains are equal to empty calories. The high glycemic causes degenerative diseases like coronary disease, cancer and diabetes. These are found in many products, the most common are: white rice, white bread, white flour, noodles, pastries, pasta and biscuits.

                  9. Artificial Additives

                    Artificial food additives like monosodium glutamate (MSG) and aspartame triggers of inflammatory responses, affecting people that already suffer from conditions like rheumatoid arthritis.[9] Packaged foods usually artificial food additives. Read the labels carefully to weigh the risks.

                    10. Frozen Yogurt

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                      The mixture of dairy and sugar is not a good combination and will have harmful effects even though it may sound healthy.[10] Foods that are high in sugar levels and saturated fat spur inflammation as they cause over-activity in immune systems, lead to fatigue, joint pain, fatigue and blood vessels damage.

                      When we address inflammation with foods that are anti-inflammatory we alleviate symptoms and even cure many of them.

                      20 Foods that Fight Inflammation

                      1. Dark Leafy Greens

                        Vitamin E is key to protect the body against molecules that are pro-inflammatory (cytokines). A good source of this vitamin is dark green vegetables like swiss chard, spinach, broccoli and kale.[11] Cruciferous and dark green vegetables have a higher concentrations of nutrients inclusive of iron and calcium, as well as disease fighting elements.

                        2. Fatty Fish

                          Oily fish, like mackerel, salmon, sardines and tuna have high omega-3 fatty acids that reduce inflammation.[12] Add fish to menus, boiled or steamed rather than fried, salted or dried.

                          3. Nuts

                            Nuts like almonds are rich in vitamin E, calcium and fiber. With high levels of an omega 3 fat type, alpha-linolenic acid, they fight inflammation. Nuts are full of antioxidants that help repair the damage by inflammation.

                            4. Soy Foods

                              Studies have shown that soy products are effective for anti-inflammation.[13] At a cellular level they are a defense against cancer and cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis as well as menopausal symptoms.

                              7. Celery

                                Research about celery has identified it for anti-inflammatory health benefits, including protection against the digestive inflammation tract itself.[14]

                                8. Peppers

                                  Peppers are high in antioxidants and vitamin C and therefore possess powerful effects of anti-inflammation.[15]

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                                  9. Tomatoes

                                    Red, juicy tomatoes are lycopene rich, which is known to reduce inflammation in the body and lungs. Cooked tomatoes have more lycopene than raw tomatoes. The consumption of tomato juice is also beneficial.

                                    10. Beets

                                      This bright red color veggie is equally brilliant in its antioxidant properties.[16] It reduces inflammation and protects against heart disease and cancer as it has good fiber and folate.

                                      11. Garlic and Onions

                                        These pungent vegetables are anti-inflamm atory superstars.[17] The compounds of garlic lower inflammation boosting substance. Onions help to inhibit agents that cause inflammation in arthritis. Eating raw garlic is best.

                                        12. Olive Oil

                                          Olive oil is the best additions to healthy heart diets and lung functioning.[18]

                                          13. Cherries

                                            Research has shown that tart cherry juice helps athletes to recover faster from workouts that are intense, and decrease muscle pain.[19]

                                            14. Berries

                                              All fruits help to fight inflammation as they have a high fiber content. Berries are stronger in anti inflammatory properties as a result of rich antioxidants.[20]

                                              15. Turmeric

                                                Turmeric, the bright colored relative to ginger is a disease-preventive agent due to anti inflammatory components and is a beneficial addition to dishes.[21]

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                                                16. Ginger

                                                  Ginger has amazing benefits and ingesting ginger, either by drinking ginger tea or sprinkling ginger on foods, is said to even reduce arthritis pain, muscle pain and improves movement agility.[22]

                                                  17. Dark Chocolate

                                                    Recent research revealed that gut bacteria ferments and breaks down dark chocolate components turning them into anti-inflammatory healthy compounds.[23]

                                                    18. Broccoli

                                                      The health benefits of broccoli, a cruciferous vegetable, are numerous.[24] If you eat broccoli on a regular basis, the health benefits that are provided are amazing.

                                                      19. Black Beans

                                                        High in fiber and protein, black beans are a great healthy food choice that reduce inflammation.[25]

                                                        20. Pineapple

                                                          Pineapple contains enzymes that reduce inflammation and swelling in the body.[26] Pineapple is great in vitamin C, for a healthy immune system and is best when eaten raw and ripe.

                                                          A Superfood Anti-inflammatory Recipe

                                                          Carrot Salad with Ginger and Turmeric

                                                          This superfood combination of turmeric, carrots and ginger contains flavor compounds making them favorites in the culinary world. To top it of, the curative power of these ingredients has been East Indian and Chinese Ayurvedic medicine cures for many millennia.

                                                          Featured photo credit: http://drbrocchini.com via drbrocchini.com

                                                          Reference

                                                          [1]Mercola: Sugar Industry Secrets Exposed
                                                          [2]Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition: Dairy products and inflammation: A review of the clinical evidence
                                                          [3]Authority Nutrition: 6 Reasons Why Vegetable Oils Can be Harmful
                                                          [4]Authority Nutrition: Why Are Trans Fats Bad For You? The Disturbing Truth
                                                          [5]Owlcation: Dangerous Health Risks of Meat – New Evidence
                                                          [6]Alcohol Journal: Alcohol and inflammation and immune responses: Summary of the 2005 Alcohol and Immunology Research Interest Group (AIRIG) meeting
                                                          [7]US San Diego News Center: How Eating Red Meat Can Spur Cancer Progression
                                                          [8]Authority Nutrition: Why Refined Carbs Are Bad For You
                                                          [9]Archives of Disease in Childhood: The effects of a double blind, placebo controlled, artificial food colourings and benzoate preservative challenge on hyperactivity in a general population sample of preschool children
                                                          [10]Huffington Post: The Sad, Sad Truth About Frozen Yogurt
                                                          [11]United States of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service: Dark Green Leafy Vegetables
                                                          [12]National Health Service: Oily fish: mighty omega-3 or codswallop?
                                                          [13]Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation: Positive effect of dietary soy in ESRD patients with systemic inflammation–correlation between blood levels of the soy isoflavones and the acute-phase reactants
                                                          [14]The World’s Healthiest Food: Celery
                                                          [15]Ethnopharmacology: Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of Capsicum baccatum: from traditional use to scientific approach
                                                          [16]Health: 14 Foods That Fight Inflammation
                                                          [17]Health: 14 Foods That Fight Inflammation
                                                          [18]Health: 14 Foods That Fight Inflammation
                                                          [19]Health: 14 Foods That Fight Inflammation
                                                          [20]Health: 14 Foods That Fight Inflammation
                                                          [21]Dr Weil: 3 Reasons To Eat Turmeric
                                                          [22]British Journal of Anaesthesia: Efficacy of ginger for nausea and vomiting: a systematic review of randomized clinical trials
                                                          [23]Mercola: Scientists Probe Dark Chocolate’s Health Secrets
                                                          [24]Cancer Prevention Research: Dietary Sulforaphane-Rich Broccoli Sprouts Reduce Colonization and Attenuate Gastritis in Helicobacter pylori–Infected Mice and Humans
                                                          [25]Medical News Today: Black Beans: Health Benefits, Facts, Research
                                                          [26]body+soul: Pineapple helps relieve inflammation

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                                                          Published on November 14, 2018

                                                          Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

                                                          Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

                                                          With our busy, always on lives, it seems that more and more of us are facing constant tiredness and fatigue on a regular basis.

                                                          For many people, they just take this in their stride as part of modern life, but for others the impact can be crippling and can have a serious effect on their sense of wellbeing, health and productivity.

                                                          In this article, I’ll share some of the most common causes of constant tiredness and fatigue and give you some guidance and action steps you can take to overcome some of the symptoms of fatigue.

                                                          Why Am I Feeling Fatigued?

                                                          Fatigue is extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.  It is a reduction in the efficiency of a muscle or organ after prolonged activity.[1]

                                                          It can affect anyone, and most adults will experience fatigue at some point in their life. 

                                                          For many people, fatigue is caused by a combination of lifestyle, social, psychological and general wellbeing issues rather than an underlying medical condition.

                                                          Although fatigue is sometimes described as tiredness, it is different to just feeling tired or sleepy. Everyone feels tired at some point, but this is usually resolved with a nap or a few nights of good sleep. Someone who is sleepy may also feel temporarily refreshed after exercising. If you are getting enough sleep, good nutrition and exercising regularly but still find it hard to perform, concentrate or be motivated at your normal levels, you may be experiencing a level of fatigue that needs further investigation. 

                                                          Symptoms of Fatigue

                                                          Fatigue can cause a vast range of physical, mental and emotional symptoms including:

                                                          • chronic tiredness, exhaustion or sleepiness
                                                          • mental blocks
                                                          • lack of motivation
                                                          • headache
                                                          • dizziness
                                                          • muscle weakness
                                                          • slowed reflexes and responses
                                                          • impaired decision-making and judgement
                                                          • moodiness, such as irritability
                                                          • impaired hand-to-eye coordination
                                                          • reduced immune system function
                                                          • blurry vision
                                                          • short-term memory problems
                                                          • poor concentration
                                                          • reduced ability to pay attention to the situation at hand

                                                          Causes of Fatigue

                                                          The wide range of causes that can trigger fatigue include:

                                                          • Medical causes: Constant exhaustion, tiredness and fatigue may be a sign of an underlying illness, such as a thyroid disorder, heart disease, anemia or diabetes.
                                                          • Lifestyle-related causes: Being overweight and a lack of regular exercise can lead to feelings of fatigue.  Lack of sleep and overcommitting can also create feelings of excessive tiredness and fatigue.
                                                          • Workplace-related causes: Workplace and financial stress in a variety of forms can lead to feelings of fatigue.
                                                          • Emotional concerns and stress: Fatigue is a common symptom of mental health problems, such as depression and grief, and may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms, including irritability and lack of motivation.

                                                          Fatigue can also be caused by a number of factors working in combination.

                                                          Medical Causes of Fatigue

                                                          If you have made lifestyle changes to increase your energy and still feel exhausted and fatigued, it may be time to seek guidance from your doctor.

                                                          Here are a few examples of illnesses that can cause ongoing fatigue. Seek medical advice if you suspect you have a health problem:

                                                          Anemia

                                                          Anemia is a condition in which you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues. It is a common cause of fatigue in women.

                                                          Having anemia may make you feel tired and weak.

                                                          There are many forms of anemia, each with its own cause. Anemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe.[2]

                                                          Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

                                                          Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a condition that can cause persistent, unexplained fatigue that interferes with daily activities for more than six months.

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                                                          This is a chronic condition with no one-size-fits-all treatment, but lifestyle changes can often help ease some symptoms of fatigue.[3]

                                                          Diabetes

                                                          Diabetes can cause fatigue with either high or low blood sugars. When your sugars are high, they remain in the bloodstream instead of being used for energy, which makes you feel fatigued. Low blood sugar (glucose) means you may not have enough fuel for energy, also causing fatigue.[4]

                                                          Sleep Apnea

                                                          Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where sufferers briefly stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Most people are not aware this is happening, but it can cause loud snoring, and daytime fatigue.

                                                          Being overweight, smoking, and drinking alcohol can all worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea.[5]

                                                          Thyroid disease

                                                          An underactive thyroid gland means you have too little thyroid hormone (thyroxine) in your body. This makes you feel tired and you could also put on weight and have aching muscles and dry skin.[6]

                                                          Common lifestyle factors that can cause fatigue include:

                                                          • Lack of sleep
                                                          • Too much sleep 
                                                          • Alcohol and drugs 
                                                          • Sleep disturbances 
                                                          • Lack of regular exercise and sedentary behaviour 
                                                          • Poor diet 

                                                          Common workplace issues that can cause fatigue include:

                                                          • Shift work: Our body is designed to sleep during the night. A shift worker may confuse their circadian clock by working when their body is programmed to be asleep.
                                                          • Poor workplace practices: This may include long work hours, hard physical labour, irregular working hours (such as rotating shifts), a stressful work environment, boredom or working alone. 
                                                          • Workplace stress – This can be caused by a wide range of factors including job dissatisfaction, heavy workload, conflicts with bosses or colleagues, bullying, or threats to job security.
                                                          • Burnout: This could be striving too hard on one area of your life while neglecting others, which leads to a life that feels out of balance.

                                                          Psychological Causes of Fatigue

                                                          Psychological factors are present in many cases of extreme tiredness and fatigue.  These may include:

                                                          • Depression: Depression is characterised by severe and prolonged feelings of sadness, dejection and hopelessness. People who are depressed commonly experience chronic fatigue.
                                                          • Anxiety and stress: Someone who is constantly anxious or stressed keeps their body in overdrive. The constant flooding of adrenaline exhausts the body, and fatigue sets in.
                                                          • Grief: Losing a loved one causes a wide range of emotions including shock, guilt, depression, despair and loneliness.

                                                          How to Tackle Constant Fatigue

                                                          Here are 12 ways you can start tackling the causes of fatigue and start feeling more energetic.

                                                          1. Tell The Truth

                                                          Some people can numb themselves to the fact that they are overtired or fatigued all the time. In the long run, this won’t help you.

                                                          To give you the best chance to overcome or eliminate fatigue, you must diagnose and tell the truth about the things that are draining your energy, making you tired or causing constant fatigue.

                                                          Once you’re honest with yourself about the activities you’re doing in your life that you find irritating, energy-draining, and make you tired on a regular basis you can make a commitment to stop doing them.

                                                          The help that you need to overcome fatigue is available to you, but not until you tell the truth about it. The first person you have to sell on getting rid of the causes of fatigue is yourself.

                                                          One starting point is to diagnose the symptoms. When you start feeling stressed, overtired or just not operating at your normal energy levels make a note of:

                                                          • How you feel
                                                          • What time of day it is
                                                          • What may have contributed to your fatigue
                                                          • How your mind and body reacts

                                                          This analysis may help you identify, understand and then eliminate very specific causes.

                                                          2. Reduce Your Commitments

                                                          When we have too many things on our plate personally and professionally, we can feel overstretched, causing physical and mental fatigue.

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                                                          If you have committed to things you really don’t want to do, this causes irritability and low emotional engagement. Stack these up throughout your day and week, then your stress levels will rise.

                                                          When these commitments have deadlines associated with them, you may be trying to cram in far too much in a short period of time.  This creates more stress and can affect your decision making ability.

                                                          Start being realistic about how much you can get done. Either reduce the commitments you have or give yourself more time to complete them in.

                                                          3. Get Clear On Your Priorities

                                                          If working on your list of to-do’s or goals becomes too overwhelming, start reducing and prioritizing the things that matter most.

                                                          Start with prioritizing just 3 things every day. When you complete those 3 things, you’ll get a rush of energy and your confidence will grow.

                                                          If you’re trying to juggle too many things and are multi-tasking, your energy levels will drop and you’ll struggle to maintain focus.

                                                          Unfinished projects can make you self-critical and feel guilty which drops energy levels further, creating inaction.

                                                          Make a list of your 3 MIT (Most Important Tasks) for the next day before you go to bed. This will stop you overcommitting and get you excited about what the next day can bring.

                                                          4. Express More Gratitude

                                                          Gratitude and confidence are heavily linked. Just being thankful for what you have and what you’ve achieved increases confidence and makes you feel more optimistic.

                                                          It can help you improve your sense of wellbeing, which can bring on feelings of joy and enthusiasm.

                                                          Try starting a gratitude journal or just note down 3 things you’re grateful for every day.

                                                          5. Focus On Yourself

                                                          Exhaustion and fatigue can arrive by focusing solely on other people’s needs all the time, rather than worrying about and focusing on what you need (and want).

                                                          There are work commitments, family commitments, social commitments. You may start with the best intentions, to put in your best performance at work, to be an amazing parent and friend, to simply help others.

                                                          But sometimes, we extend ourselves too much and go beyond our personal limits to help others. That’s when constant exhaustion can creep up on us.  Which can make us more fatigued.

                                                          We all want to help and do our best for others, but there needs to be some balance. We also need to take some time out just for ourselves to recharge and rejuvenate.

                                                          6. Set Aside Rest and Recovery Time

                                                          Whether it’s a couple of hours, a day off, a mini-break or a proper holiday, time off is essential to help us recover, recharge and refocus.

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                                                          Recovery time helps fend off mental fatigue and allows us to simply kick back and relax.

                                                          The key here, though, is to remove ourselves from the daily challenges that bring on tiredness and fatigue. Here’s how.

                                                          Can you free yourself up completely from work and personal obligations to just rest and recover?

                                                          7. Take a Power Nap

                                                          When you’re feeling tired or fatigued and you have the ability to take a quick 20-minute nap, it could make a big difference to your performance for the rest of the day.

                                                          Napping can improve learning, memory and boost your energy levels quickly.

                                                          This article on the benefit of napping is a useful place to start if you want to learn more: How a 20-Minute Nap at Work Makes You Awake and Productive the Whole Day

                                                          8. Take More Exercise

                                                          The simple act of introducing some form of physical activity into your day can make a huge difference. It can boost energy levels, make you feel much better about yourself and can help you avoid fatigue.

                                                          Find something that fits into your life, be that walking, going to the gym, running or swimming. 

                                                          The key is to ensure the exercise is regular and that you are emotionally engaged and committed to stick with it.

                                                          You could also walk more which will help clear your head and shift your focus away from stressful thoughts.

                                                          9. Get More Quality Sleep

                                                          To avoid tiredness, exhaustion and fatigue, getting enough quality sleep matters. 

                                                          Your body needs sleep to recharge.  Getting the right amount of sleep every night can improve your health, reduce stress levels and help us improve our memory and learning skills.

                                                          My previous article on The Benefits of Sleep You Need to Know will give you some action steps to start improving your sleep. 

                                                          10. Improve Your Diet

                                                          Heavy or fatty meals can make you feel sluggish and tired, whilst some foods or eating strategies do just the opposite.

                                                          Our always on lives have us reaching for sweets or other sugary snacks to give us a burst of energy to keep going. Unfortunately, that boost fades quickly which can leave you feeling depleted and wanting more.

                                                          On the other hand, whole grains and healthy unsaturated fats supply the reserves you can draw on throughout the day.

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                                                          To keep energy up and steady, it’s a good idea to limit refined sugar and starches.

                                                          Eating small meals and healthy snacks every few hours throughout the day provides a steady supply of nutrients to body and brain. It’s also important not to skip breakfast.

                                                          Eating a balanced diet helps keep your blood sugar in a normal range and prevents that sluggish feeling when your blood sugar drops.

                                                          11. Manage Your Stress Levels

                                                          Stress is one of the leading causes of exhaustion and fatigue, and can seriously affect your health.

                                                          When you have increased levels of stress at work and at home, it’s easy to feel exhausted all the time. 

                                                          Identifying the causes of stress and then tackling the problems should be a priority. 

                                                          My article on How to Help Anxiety When Life is Stressing You Out shares 16 strategies you can use to overcome stress.

                                                          12. Get Hydrated

                                                          Sometimes we can be so busy that we forget to keep ourselves fully hydrated.

                                                          Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and is essential in maintaining our body’s basic functions.

                                                          If we don’t have enough water, it can adversely affect our mental and physical performance, which leads to tiredness and fatigue.

                                                          The recommended daily amount is around two litres a day, so to stay well hydrated keep a water bottle with you as much as possible.

                                                          The Bottom Line

                                                          These 12 tips can help you reduce your tiredness and feeling of fatigue.  Some will work better than others as we are all different, whilst others can be incorporated together in your daily life.

                                                          If you’ve tried to make positive changes to reduce fatigue and you still feel tired and exhausted, it may be time to consider making an appointment with your doctor to discuss your condition.

                                                          Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

                                                          Reference

                                                          [1]Oxford English Dictionary: Definition of fatigue
                                                          [2]NHS Choices: 10 Reasons for feeling tired
                                                          [3]Verywellhealth: What is chronic fatigue syndrome
                                                          [4]Everyday Health: Why does type 2 diabetes make you feel tired
                                                          [5]Mayo Clinic: Sleep apnea
                                                          [6]Harvard Health: The lowdown on thyroid slowdown

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