6 ISSUES FOR JUST £6 Subscribe to Cotswold Life today CLICK HERE

Healthy eating: Don’t be a slave to the afternoon slump

13:51 28 April 2015

Avoid sugary foods at lunchtime that cause a sharp spike in blood sugar, followed in quick succession by a rapid fall in blood sugar and subsequent crash in energy levels

Avoid sugary foods at lunchtime that cause a sharp spike in blood sugar, followed in quick succession by a rapid fall in blood sugar and subsequent crash in energy levels

Archant

Naomi Mead shows us how to avoid afternoon fatigue with nutrition

It is commonly known as the post-lunch slump. It usually strikes around 3pm and can make the remainder of the afternoon feel like an insurmountable task. For many of us it is an unwelcome, but inevitable, daily occurrence. And what do we do? We reach for the coffee and raid the biscuit tin we have so admirably been resisting all day! Sound familiar? You’re certainly not alone. The good news is that the mid-afternoon energy dip that leaves you counting down the seconds until home time can be avoided, just by making some simple changes to your diet. Here are some top tips to avoid the brain fog, and keep you energised and clear-headed until home time:

• Drink water – Fatigue is one of the main symptoms of dehydration, and when you’re rushing around at work it can be very easy to forget to drink. If you’re feeling sluggish and fuzzy headed it may well be that a glass of water is just what you need. Studies have shown that even mild dehydration can affect mood, energy levels and mental clarity. You should be aiming to drink eight glasses or two litres of water a day. Decaffeinated herbal teas such as lemon and ginger, peppermint and fennel provide a warmer and more comforting alternative on colder days.

• Don’t overdo the caffeine – One or two coffees can boost energy and mental alertness. However, heavy caffeine consumption puts the body under stress, and can lead to anxiety, irritability and poor mental performance. On top of this, it can affect sleep, which is then likely to have a knock-on effect the next day. Try green tea, which is still caffeinated but is rich in antioxidants and L-theanine – a compound that has been shown to aid concentration and alertness.

• Avoid the sugar rollercoaster – Avoid sugary foods and refined carbohydrates at breakfast and lunchtime (white bread, pasta, biscuits, fizzy drinks and cakes) that cause a sharp spike in blood sugar, followed in quick succession by a rapid fall in blood sugar and subsequent crash in energy levels. Instead opt for ‘complex’ carbs such as whole grains, beans and pulses that provide a slow and steady release of energy.

• The importance of protein – Protein contains tryptophan, which your body needs to make serotonin, a neurotransmitter that promotes a calm, relaxed feeling and helps to fight emotional fatigue. Protein rich foods also contain tyrosine, which your brain uses to synthesise the neurotransmitters adrenaline and noradrenaline that help to keep your mind attentive, motivated and alert. Always make sure your lunch contains a good source of protein such as lean meat or fish, beans, pulses or nuts.

• Savvy snacking – The perfect antidote to the 4pm slump is to step away from your desk to savour a nutritious snack. Breathe, chew slowly and enjoy. You will be less likely to overeat, and will also be giving your overworked mind a break, too! Resist temptation and avoid sugar-rich foods, which may give you a temporary boost, but will always lead to a sugar dip and wanting more. Instead, a snack rich in protein, such as a handful of raw nuts, will provide you with a more sustained source of energy and will keep you fuller for longer.

• Boost your nutrients – Vitamins and minerals are needed for every single process in the body, not least the conversion of food into energy. By eating plenty of brightly-coloured fruits and vegetables, you will be ensuring you get the wide spectrum of nutrients your body needs. The B vitamins are particularly vital for energy, and can be found in whole grains, nuts, seeds and pulses.

• Pump up your iron – The body needs iron to produce haemoglobin, which is the carrier of oxygen around the body to the cells where it is used to produce energy. Increase your intake of iron-rich foods such as red meat, spinach, nuts, beans, seeds and dried apricots. Eat in combination with vitamin C-rich foods such as citrus fruits and green leafy vegetables to boost its absorption.

• Get up from your desk – Remember that you are not chained to your desk (not physically anyway!). Stretch your legs and get up from your seat whenever possible. Just because you have internal phones and email doesn’t mean you have to be a slave to them. Pop across the office or up and down the stairs for simple questions or messages to co-workers. Studies have shown that even short bursts of exercise can help to keep your mind brisk and alert.

Incorporate all of these into your daily routine, and your challenge will become what to do with your new-found energy!

*******

Naomi Mead is a Cheltenham-based registered nutritional therapist at Food First, www.food-first.co.uk

-------------

This article appeared in the April 2015 issue of Cotswold Life magazine.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Cotswold Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Cotswold Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Cotswold Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Food & Drink

17:56
Gloucester Services have a lot to celebrate this year

2016 continues to be a remarkable year for Gloucester Services, as they add another accolade to their tranche of national awards. The family run motorway service station has today become the first ever motorway services to be listed in the Good Food Guide

Read more
Mary Berry and fellow Bake Off judge Paul Hollywood. (Love Productions/Mark Bourdillon)

Millions tune in to see the Queen of Baking share her culinary wisdom each week on The Great British Bake Off – but how much do you really know about judge and food writer Mary Berry?

Read more
Mon, 10:22
Cotswold Juice Company's juices are available to order now

Cheltenham has welcomed The Cotswold Juice Company, delivering 100% organic, freshly made, cold-pressed juices and smoothies to businesses and people at work in Gloucestershire.

Read more
Tuesday, August 16, 2016
Aquarius Spa at Whatley Manor

Combine two of life’s little luxuries this summer with a relaxing half day Aquarias Spa experience followed by a deliciously indulgent afternoon tea for two at Whatley Manor - £100 (saving £48).

Read more
Friday, August 12, 2016
Maytime Inn at Burford

From cosy courtyards to picturesque pub gardens, the Cotswolds has many beautiful places to take advantage of the sun and dine al fresco. Whether you’re craving an afternoon coffee and cake or want to enjoy a relaxing evening meal, we’ve picked 18 of the best eateries with exquisite outdoor dining

Read more
Monday, August 8, 2016
Lucknam Park Hotel

Afternoon Tea, once the preserve of high society, is now widely available in cafés, tearooms and restaurants across Britain. This is no less true in the Cotswolds, where you can delight in a cream tea or sip a delicate speciality blend in virtually every town and village in the region. To help you choose, here’s our selection of the best places to enjoy afternoon tea around the Cotswolds.

Read more
Friday, July 29, 2016
The Potting Shed Pub, Malmesbury

Whether you’re a loyal local or a visitor to the area, you’ll never be far from a charming real ale pub in the Cotswolds.

Read more
Cheltenham Festival
Tuesday, July 26, 2016
Horse and Groom, Bourton-on-the-Hill

After a long countryside walk in the Cotswolds there’s nothing better than refuelling with a pint and some pork scratchings in a quaint, rural pub. We pick 10 of the best (and most remote) places to go in the region.

Read more
Tuesday, July 26, 2016
The Cotswold Life Food & Drinks Awards 2016

The 14th annual Cotswold Life Food & Drink Awards took place at Cheltenham Racecourse last night July 25. 450 guests gathered to celebrate the region’s food and drink industry in one of the biggest events in the Cotswold calendar. Here we announce the winners

Read more
CLFDA
Tuesday, July 26, 2016
Cotswold Life Food & Drink Awards Best Pub Restaurant The Swan at Southrop, sponsored by Tayabali Tomlin

From cosy pubs to rustic inns, the Cotswolds are home to some of the finest dining pubs in the region. Here’s our winner of the Best Pub Restaurant at the Cotswold Life Food & Drink Awards 2016.

Read more
CLFDA
Tuesday, July 26, 2016
Cotswold Life Food & Drink Awards Food Product of the Year Nelson Loaf by The Artisan Baker, Stroud, sponsored by Royal Three Counties Show

It’s hardly surprising that there’s such good food coming out the Cotswolds - the entire region is stuffed full of beautiful local ingredients, and there’s a real passion for creating good, honest food. Despite the multitude of delicious products on offer, there is one that has shown itself to be a cut above the rest…

Read more
CLFDA
Tuesday, July 26, 2016
Cotswold Life Food & Drink Awards Drinks Product of the Year Apple Juice by Day's Cottage, Brookethorpe, sponsored by Resource Group

This was your opportunity to nominate your favourite drinks product aside from ale beer or cider that is made by a Cotswold farmer, producer, retailer or manufacturer. We announce this year’s worthy winner.

Read more
CLFDA
Tuesday, July 26, 2016
Cotswold Life Food & Drink Awards Butcher of the Year Andy Creese Butchers, Newent, sponsored by NFU Mutual

The Cotswolds is home to numerous local butchers who contribute an enormous amount to the local food scene. Their knowledge of the trade and the pride they take in their work make them a pride to the community

Read more
CLFDA
Tuesday, July 26, 2016
Cotswold Life Food & Drink Awards Chef of the Year Shamsul Krori from The Curry Corner, sponsored by Arthur David

They put in years of dedication and training to create perfection on a plate. These are the chefs behind the plethora of fantastic restaurants that we enjoy in the Cotswolds. There is so much talent here, but we have picked our finalists, and one that was a cut above the rest

Read more
CLFDA

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:


Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory
A+ Education


Like us on Facebook


Local Business Directory

Cotswold's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area



Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search