The quality of the foods you eat seems to be most important in helping to restore your energy levels. In a nutshell, follow a wholesome, healthy diet:

1. Emphasize plant foods in your daily diet. Fill your plate with grains, fruits and vegetables. If you eat animal-protein foods like meat or poultry, they should take up no more than one-quarter of your plate. Try vegetarian sources of protein like beans and soy more often.

2. Choose foods and oils that are rich in essential fatty acids. Fish, nuts, seeds, flax and flax oil, canola oil, Omega-3 eggs, wheat germ and leafy green vegetables are examples.

3. Make food choices that are rich in vitamins, minerals and protective plant compounds. Choose whole grains as often as possible. Eat at least three different-colored fruits and three different-colored vegetables every day.

4. Eliminate sources of refined sugar as often as possible: cookies, cakes, pastries, frozen desserts, soft drinks, sweetened fruit juices, fruit drinks, candy, etc.

5. Buy organic produce or wash fruits and vegetables to remove pesticide residues.

6. Limit foods with chemical additives.

7. Avoid caffeine, which can worsen fatigue by interrupting sleep patterns.

8. Drink at least 9 cups of water every day.

9. Avoid alcohol. If you drink, consume no more than one drink a day, or seven per week.

10. Take a multivitamin and mineral supplement each day to ensure you are meeting your needs for most nutrients. Buy a product that contains no artificial preservatives, colors and flavors, or added sugar, starch, lactose or yeast. This should be declared in small print below the ingredient list. If you experience gastrointestinal upset when taking a multivitamin, try a “professional brand” supplement available at certain health food stores. These products contain no binding materials and they are suitable for people with food sensitivities; however, they’re expensive and you have to take three to six capsules a day to meet your recommended intake levels. Brand names include Genestra® and Thorne Research®.

To help you follow these principles, follow my dietary guidelines in chapter 1. You’ll learn what foods you should be eating more often. You’ll also learn how many servings of these foods you should be striving for each day.

If you experience bloating, cramps, gas, diarrhea or skin rashes after eating, it’s a good idea to be tested for food allergies. Ask your family doctor for referral to an allergy specialist.

Because no single cause has been identified for CFS, there is no single diet or supplement program that can be said to cure the condition. However, there is research to suggest that the vitamins, minerals and herbs I discuss below can improve CFS symptoms. Since these supplements are all considered safe in the amounts indicated, it makes sense to try one or more of these for a trial period. You should always make an effort to boost your intake of these nutrients through your food choices, too.


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