Many of us know the feeling of a mid-afternoon dip in energy, a creeping fatigue that has us reaching for yet another coffee or maybe something sweet to give the blood sugar a boost. What you might consider the best options to revive you may also be among those foods and drinks which are responsible for making you tired in the first place.
No quick coffee
Let's start with coffee, the second most consumed drink after water. Coffee is many people’s go-to stimulant at the start of every day and when our power starts to wane in the afternoon. This, however, is actually counterproductive.
The body naturally produces cortisol to stimulate our senses and keep us awake. Add to this a cup of coffee and the production of cortisol will reach its peak and cause stress, anxiety, disruption of the internal clock and major fatigue. So, the next time you feel the need for a boost to restart, think about an herbal tea or similar alternatives to refuel with energy.
Gluten-free is the way to go
Another common ingredient at breakfast time, and at lunch time if you visit the sandwich shop, is white bread. This is also something to avoid if you want to beat fatigue.
White bread has a low content of vitamins, minerals and trace elements that do not provide enough interesting nutrients to the body. In addition, its high concentration of gluten also accentuates fatigue. Its manufacture requires the use of a refined wheat flour already rich in gluten which is added to another amount of gluten necessary to raise the bread.
Wholemeal or gluten free bread can be an alternative if you want to stay alert after lunch. Gluten in other products can also be responsible for fatigue. As well as bread, it can be found in pasta and cookies – and it is bad not only for those who are intolerant, susceptible or have the coeliac disease to which it is linked.
Gluten promotes chronic fatigue if you consume a little too much. Fortunately, today many brands offer gluten-free foods for people who follow a special diet.
Staying away from refined sugar is also a good idea but bad news if you like pastries, chocolate and cakes.
When the afternoon dip comes, how many times have you said ‘I need sugar’ thinking this will give you the energy boost to get you over the bump? True, foods with refined sugar do boost your energy but they are quickly ingested by the body and give a hit that usually disappears just as quickly.
However, it is difficult to do without sugar, it is found everywhere, and the temptation is great to open your closet in search of a little sweet thing to help you through the day.
Trade meat for salmon
Red meat is another food to avoid if you want to keep sharp. Red meat is very fatty and fatty foods generally promote drowsiness. Although it is an important source of iron, especially when raw, red meat is difficult for the body to assimilate and draws all its energy from it.
It is sometimes the source of certain health problems. Better a salmon fillet, rich in omega 3, rather than a piece of steak. You can also set yourself the veggie challenge to try to reduce your meat consumption and discover other foods to replace it on your plate.
Many healthy options
Maybe you want to avoid chocolates and sweets after lunch so choose a healthy option like fruit to get you over the sleepiness. If so, stay away from cherries which are literally sleep hormones because of the amount of melatonin they contain.
Needless to say, these are the fruits not to eat unless you want to take a nap. Cherries contain vitamins A and C, omega-3 and omega-6 so they do bring a lot of health benefits. Plus eating cherries helps prevent heart disease, improve your gut health, reduce inflammation, fight inflammatory rheumatism attacks and improve sleep – but they won't help you regain energy.