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When living with Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis, it’s common to frequently experience fatigue, which can be caused by a number of factors. The food choices we make can help fight or contribute to this fatigue. Below are 5 food-related tips to help boost your energy so you can feel your best.
1. Eat regularly throughout the day
Eat every 2-3 hours or whenever you’re hungry. Instead of grabbing what’s convenient, plan ahead and make nutrient-dense meals and snacks you can grab when you need them.
2. Drink plenty of water
Fatigue is one of the first signs of dehydration and people with IBD are at an increased risk of becoming dehydrated, due to fluid loss from loose stools.
How much water should you drink? As an estimation, aim to drink at least half of your weight (in pounds) in ounces (e.g. for a 140 pound person, try drinking at least 70 ounces of water per day, which is approximately 9 x 8-ounce cups).
You’ll know you’re hydrated when your urine is a pale yellow.
3. Avoid sugary foods and drinks
Although sugary drinks and snacks might give you an initial burst of energy, they will leave you feeling even more sluggish later on.
Instead, choose foods high in complex carbohydrates, which are a more nutritious form of energy. Examples of complex carbs include well-tolerated fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains.
4. Aim for balance at every meal
Eating well-balanced meals provides sustained energy and the nutrients your body requires to function.
This means including a variety of food groups and good sources of all macronutrients in your meals including protein, carbohydrates, and fat.
Here’s an example of a simple, yet well-balanced, IBD-friendly meal: Baked salmon (protein & fat) with rice (carbohydrates), sautéed spinach (fiber) and summer squash (fiber).
5. Take a multivitamin
Those at risk for nutritional deficiencies, like people with IBD, are recommended to take a daily multivitamin which becomes increasingly important if you’re restricting multiple foods and food groups.