Throughout the day, energy level is affected by rising and falling blood sugar, stress, and physical activity. When this results in a debilitating energy crash, Health Magazine reports that the right snack can help fight fatigue.
The incapacitating drowsiness of the afternoon slump may only be bested by the infamous post-Thanksgiving turkey coma. Just like the holiday nap-inducer, afternoon slumps typically occur after a meal. According to researchers, a high carbohydrate low protein meal may be especially energy zapping. This type of meal elevates serotonin in the brain, which can cause sleepiness. But this isn’t the only reason for the overwhelming urge to nap. According to WebMD, the afternoon slump is a natural phenomenon. After a full night’s sleep, our biological clocks are programmed to keep us alert in the morning. This tapers off in the early afternoon when our bodies mimic the physiological effects of getting ready to go to sleep at night. While in some cultures this means it is time for a siesta, many of us must find alternate ways to recharge.
Combating the Afternoon Slump
Though an artificially sweetened candy bar will provide a quick energy rush, the effect will quickly wear off and blood sugar levels will plummet even lower than they were before. It is a much wiser choice to get lasting energy from food instead. There is a direct link between food and energy, and poor nutrition is often the cause behind fatigue. Our bodies feel especially tired and drained when undernourished, signaling a need to load up on energy from food. It’s important to maintain your blood sugar in order to stay productive throughout the whole day.
Energy Dense Foods
- Try mixing simple and complex carbohydrates for both immediate and sustained energy. A slice of high-fiber, whole wheat toast drizzled in honey is a sweet snack that will keep you going.
- Go for the good fat. Foods high in unsaturated fat and low in saturated fat and trans fats contain a powerfully compact energy source. A handful of nuts or a sliced avocado will do the trick and taste amazing.
- You can never go wrong with a fresh fruit refresher. Bananas and apples are particularly potent slump-busters.
- Don’t forget to drink plenty of water! Dehydration is a classic energy zapper. Every single organ in our bodies depends on water to function correctly, plus a glass of frosty ice water can act like a healthy wake-up jolt.
Next time you are in the depths of the afternoon slump, don’t throw off your entire healthy meal plan by reaching for a sugary soda or a quick candy bar. The initial sugar rush and resulting crash will never compare to the sustained lasting energy benefits of a healthy snack.
- “Food to Fight Fatigue”, WebMD
- “5 Energy Boosting Snacks”, Health.com
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