Q & A: Combatting stress and fatigue

I have just turned 50, am not menopausal, and eat a relatively healthy diet, but I feel tired all the time. I have had a stressful couple of years and wonder if this could be the reason?

Clinical Nutritionist Suzie Sawyer answers:

Low energy is a common problem and there can be many causes. If you’ve been stressed for a long time, it’s important to support your adrenal glands, which sit just above the kidneys, and play a key role in the body’s natural stress response.

The adrenal glands can actually shrink over time if the body is very stressed, which in turn leads to extreme tiredness. Key nutrients that support adrenal function are vitamins C, B5, B6, zinc and magnesium. So, make sure you’re eating at least five portions of fruits and vegetables daily including broccoli, cauliflower and sweet potatoes.

Liver, plenty of seafood, as well as nuts and seeds will also ensure you’re getting these specific nutrients. A good daily multivitamin and mineral will also help your body recover faster.

Keep your blood sugar levels balanced will also help, which means eating protein at every meal. Think lean meat, chicken, turkey, eggs, dairy produce or soy protein if you’re vegetarian. It’s also a good idea to cut down on stimulants including alcohol and drinks containing caffeine.

The herb rhodiola could also help. It is an adaptogenic herb, which means it helps the body to adapt to stress and restore equilibrium. Rhodiola helps the body endure stressful situations as well as improving energy levels. Take it in the mornings to feel the benefits throughout the day.