Lunch time is a perfect chance to take a step back from the work bench and let your thoughts carry you wherever they may. To give your brain a bit of a prompt during a sluggish work day, “Food for Thought” is here to offer the mind an adequate serving of information. Bon appetite!
Today's Special: the Midday Energy Crash
The infamous "witching hour" of the work day, there are few things less welcomed than the midday energy crash.
Known for destroying productivity by raising irritability levels and causing feelings of fatigue, most everybody regardless of when their work day begins and ends feels it at some point during their shift. Midday crashes can also bring headaches and indigestion, making those last few hours at the office feel like an eternity.
Fortunately, there are a few things that can be done to reduce the intensity of the midday crash and keep you from having to stop and think about the next sentence you are going to type twenty times over before you type it.
Your first step to keep from finding yourself going face first into your keyboard as the clock strikes 3pm is taking the time to pick a well rounded lunch. The two nutrients to keep in mind when doing this are protein and carbohydrates.
Carbs are the fuel that the brain calls upon to keep it running full speed and are also what provide sugars to the bloodstream. Too few carbs through skipping meals or not eating beneficial carbs can lower blood sugar and lead to feelings of sluggishness and headaches.
Likewise, proteins keep your body feeling full and able to tap into the vitamins and minerals packed into your choice of lunch. If your job is a little bit more physical than others (ex. personal trainer, warehouse staff, etc.), protein can keep muscles fed and reduce risk of strain on them, much like it does during post workout recovery.
A lunch consisting of a good carb, such as vegetables like tomatoes and spinach, when paired with lean meats and fish can be the perfect pick-me-up to get you through the day. Since restaurants and delis vary in what toppings and breads they offer, some of which can speed up energy crashes, salads with protein are the top choice for a hearty midday meal. Making lunches, even sandwiches, at home is also a great choice since you can control what goes into/onto the meal and make every bit count.
While it may be the opposite of what sounds like a good idea, reaching for a soda or doughnut as an energy crash sets in is actually something to avoid.
Although blood sugar levels play an important role in staying alert, overly sweet products can introduce too much sugar to the system and cause the crash to come back even harder when the energy is gone. These foods can also cause the body to crave it again as the sugar rush dies down, leading to a vicious cycle of knocking back soda after soda and consuming all the empty calories that go with it.
Most energy drinks also fall into this category as many are full of sugar or artificial sweeteners that can trick the brain into needing more of the beverage as it processes the one you just had.
Getting enough nutrients in the day can be tough sometimes. Maybe you were late and didn't get to eat breakfast before getting in the car or jumping on the train, or perhaps today is Sloppy Joe Day in the cafeteria and the salad looks kind of sketchy this week.
Should this be the case, a good multivitamin or supplement can be of use. With many on the market, ideal ones are those that have plenty of calcium, potassium, iron, and protein, all of which give the mind and body plenty of resources to draw from.
Nutritional supplements, such as Moringa oliefera capsules, also offer these vitamins and minerals. As a whole food supplement instead of a synthetic vitamin, Moringa is easy for the body to absorb and assimilate. It also is part of the "superfood" class of foods along with Acai and Goji berries.
Drinking enough water throughout the day is a key final piece to keeping your day from crashing at breakneck speed. Keeping the brain hydrated keeps the cloud of drowsiness at bay. A cup of coffee can also help bounce back from the early stages of an energy crash, provided it is not overloaded with sugar.