You have a hearty and satisfying lunch. You head back to the office, and start on the paperwork or head for a meeting. Within minutes, your eyes are like sandbags and you are fighting with all your might to lift those defiant eyelids. Sounds familiar? This is known as the “Post Lunch Dip” or “Post Lunch Drowsiness”. Many have put their work on the line because of this embarrassing habit. An even more dangerous scenario is if you are required to drive when the Post Lunch Dip hits. Studies have shown that accidents occur more frequently right after lunch between 2.00pm to 4.00pm compared to the mornings or evenings. Drowsy driving is considered one of the most common causes of accidents.
What to eat for lunch can be quite tricky. Most companies only give you a meager hour off. Combine this with deadlines, tight schedules and always-on-your-ass bosses, lunchtime decisions are not top of the priority for many. Hence, it is easy to fall into the trap of eating whatever it is that is most convenient or with the least walking distance. Preparing healthy lunches from home? Forget it. That thought scares the jitters out of us average readers with no maid to prepare the necessary. Fortunately, with a few tricks and tweaks you may have a lunch time meal that is satisfying, good for the waistline and avoids the dreaded sleeping-on-the-keyboard syndrome.
After lunch, the body focuses on the digestive system. The digestive process requires a fair bit of energy. The body generally redistributes some of the energy you have to the stomach for digestion. Thus, the harder the stomach has to work, the more energy is required. With this in mind, it is best to consume a smaller meal or one that is less rich or has lower calories.
Two things you should try to avoid during lunch: stuff made out of white flour and things that contain sugar. Both these things are highly refined and will flood your blood with sugar very quickly. The body recognizes that high amount of sugar in the blood is not good and will excrete insulin to lower your blood sugar. Studies have shown that when insulin is excreted and your blood sugar level drops, you will feel sleepy. If you want to avoid nodding off in the all important post lunch meeting, cut out the white flour and sugar.
Our bodies are 70% water. Drinking water is essential for the human body to function. I am sure you have read somewhere to always remember to drink more water. So, it should be the right thing to drink loads of water during lunch right? Wrong! To digest the food ingested, the stomach has to be in an acidic environment (or alkaline, depending on the types of food we ate). By drinking loads of water, we neutralize the acid or alkaline in our stomachs. Hence, our stomachs have to work harder by producing even more acid or alkaline to process the food. This results in higher usage of energy and makes us even sleepier. What I do is to have a glass of water 30 minutes before my meal. I do not have any water during the meal. This takes some getting used to, but after a while, it is quite natural as long as I chew my food properly. I only have the next glass of water 30 minutes after my meal. If this feels unnatural to you, you may have small sips of water during the meal but not the whole glass. Needless to say, a whole can of coke or glass of sugary drink should be a no-no.
What about fruits? Similarly, it’s something we are constantly reminded to take more of. So, it is a good thing to gobble some up immediately after your meal right? Not exactly! We ingest a variety of different food during lunch. All this food forms a chunk of mush in the stomach while the gastric juices are excreted to break down the food. This is a slow process. Fruits contain sugar (in the form of fructose). When you add the sugar into the chunk of mush with the gastric juices, there is a tendency to ferment a little. The fermentation process releases gas and this can lead to that bloated feeling. Bam! Before you know it, you are fighting Mr. Sandman again. A better move would be to save your fruit for later. Have it two hours after your meal as your tea time snack. Not only would it digest better, it would also help ward off the hunger pangs before dinner.
Eat fruits on its own and not with meals
Now you have more reasons to make some healthy changes to your lunchtime habits. Try these simple changes and you may just shock your colleagues with your post lunch energy while showing off your leaner waistline!
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