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Spring foods

As the nights get shorter and the temperature rises in spring, our muscles relax more and we can become sluggish and tired. People are also generally more physically active in spring which can add to the tiredness.

This is accompanied by an increased demand for various nutrients such as protein, vitamins and minerals. As many people have an insufficient intake of them during winter, they may develop spring fever or chronic fatigue. In individuals who had less exercise or activity during winter, spring fever or chronic fatigue frequently occurs.

The main symptoms of spring fever include not just fatigue and drowsiness but also decreased appetite, digestive disturbance and dizziness. Some people might also experience menopause-like symptoms, including a sudden decrease in appetite, a lack of physical strength, rapid heartbeat and hot flashes.

Keeping a regular schedule is essential for overcoming spring fever and chronic fatigue. A sufficient intake of nutrients such as protein, vitamins and minerals is also important. Overdrinking and excessive smoking should be avoided. 

If you frequently drink coffee when you feel drowsy or drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes to relieve stress, you might worsen your fatigue.

Office workers with a lot of tasks in the morning should take in nutrients that are essential for brain function at breakfast time. They should refrain from overeating at lunch and should relax with light exercise such as walking, gymnastics or light stretching.

In spring, some seasonal foods are rich in vitamins B1 and C, which stimulate the appetite.

With the activation of metabolism, the amount of vitamin intake is increased by 3-5 times in spring as compared with winter. This therefore makes us vulnerable to vitamin deficiency.

A diet with plenty of vegetables and fresh fruit will help people recover from fatigue and boost the immune system. It is of great importance to take in enough vitamin B1 and C, which are involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates and the immune system, respectively.

Foods rich in vitamin B1 include tree nuts, barley, beans, peanut and mixed grains. Vitamin C content is high in vegetables, fruits and wild greens including wild chives and shepherd’s purse.

A protein-rich lunch such as fish or meat and a carbohydrate-rich dinner will help you sleep. It is also recommended to drink green tea in the morning.

The author is professor of Sung Kyun Kwan University School of Medicine and doctor at department of family medicine of Samsung Medical Center.

Lee Jung-kwon
Lee Jung-kwon

By Lee Jung-kwon
Korea Herald daum