Living in Lagos, as in any megacity, is intense. The hustle, the hassle and the traffic all appear to conspire to sap one’s energy or else serve to reinvigorate.
Truth be told, to survive, we need energy. Food is the major source of energy for humans. There are however times when the energy requirements of a person are not met due to some underlying health conditions, malnutrition, or other ailments.
One of such conditions is fatigue. Experts describe fatigue as a feeling of weariness, tiredness, or absence of energy that does not go away even after rest. When individuals feel fatigued and sick at the same time, it is usually cause for concern.
Fatigue may arise when there is weakness or exhaustion as a result of physical exertion of the body. It also occurs when the right kind of food isn’t consumed, as the body runs on food as its fuel source.
Once food is absent, the body metabolism begins to weaken gradually. This causes low energy levels and an overall lack of strength. Low energy is a common complaint in doctors’ offices, and adults are especially vulnerable to fatigue due to their daily activities.
In Nigeria, the activities of individuals struggling to make a living is very demanding on the human body. Hawkers and street vendors perambulate the environs in search of customers. Families troop out of their homes to go to school and work, artisans run around fixing things while farmers go to the farm to till the soil.
Other members of society engage themselves in various vocations, with a large percentage working for extended hours in their field. These rigorous activities contribute to the pervasiveness of fatigue among the Nigerian populace.
Another sector affected by fatigue are athletes and military personnel. Athletes require energy to perform their sporting activities. Their food consumption patterns vary from those of the average individual.
Military personnel require healthy food consumption to be able to function optimally, as their jobs are physically demanding. Fatigue lowers their motivation, slows down their reaction time, and impairs their judgement and concentration.
The crux of the matter is not just that fatigue exists but how to beat it. The solution lies in regular exercise and good nutrition. Exercise improves health, maintains fitness and is important as a means of relieving anxiety.
Food is a powerful tool that nourishes the metabolic engine of the body and provides energy for daily activities. Eating good food is mandatory for combating fatigue effectively. However, it is not just any type of food that will abolish fatigue, but a protein-rich food source.
Proteins are regarded as macronutrients, needed by the body in ample quantities. Their benefits are extensive, and their importance cannot be underestimated.
Proteins are made up of amino acids, which are the core constructs of cells and tissues in the body. Proteins replace worn-out cells and supply the body with energy. A report by the International Society of sports nutrition indicates that increased protein intake improved muscle recovery and decreased muscle soreness, whilst restoring the energy of the participants.
Proteins provide energy to the body, by releasing calories to the target organs that require it. Calories are units of energy that are present in nutrients, and proteins produce calories when digested in the body.
Protein food sources like soybeans, milk, akara, and eggs are rich in dietary fibre, which are useful for preventing blood sugar spikes around mealtimes. Rapid fluctuations in blood sugar levels are another possible cause of fatigue.
Protein-rich foods aid the synthesis of enzymes that assist the body to resist fatigue and its symptoms. Enzymes like coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) and ATP synthase are antioxidants that improve energy and strengthen the circulatory system.
Lastly, protein eliminates fatigue by generating hormones and neurotransmitters which are beneficial to the cerebral cortex (centre of the human brain) – the part of the brain that is responsible for rest.
Evidently, it is important to eliminate fatigue. And since protein-rich foods have proven effective in combating fatigue, it is prudent to eat a protein-rich diet, to improve the chance of eradicating fatigue. The best part is that the required change can start immediately.
Protein is essential to good health.
Reginald Onabu, Researcher and Public Relations Officer, Writes from Lagos.