Overcoming Food Coma

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Food coma occurs after eating a large meal or indulging in sweets, carbohydrates, or fatty foods. While muffins, croissants, and Danishes at the morning's meeting or as after-lunch snacks taste good, each reeks of sugar and can cause your body to fall victim to food coma.

In the Caribbean, food coma, known as "itis," happens after one eats foods such as meats and sauces and other forms of soul food that are high in fat and carbohydrates and more likely to cause sleepiness.

According to Wikipedia, "A biological mechanism known as the shell-core effect causes the circulatory system to redirect blood-flow from the extremities to vital core-level processes (i.e., regulating core body temperature). As a result, the brain's intake of oxygenated blood is restricted so that the stomach can metabolize large quantities of complex carbohydrates."

In other words, sugary foods cause your blood sugar levels to spike. This, according to an article on iVillage.com, "cause[s] an increase in insulin, which in turn ultimately lowers your blood sugar." The result? A tired, nap-seeking employee. Fatty foods also take longer to digest (six to eight hours). This means they sit longer in your stomach and require blood from your arms and legs to stay away from their extremities longer, all resulting in you feeling more tired.

Other foods more likely to lull you into a mid-afternoon snooze contain tryptophan. Guilty of putting turkey-eaters to sleep, "tryptophan is the amino acid that the body uses to make serotonin, the neurotransmitter that slows down nerve traffic so your brain isn't so busy." These kinds of foods include pasta, scrambled eggs, cheese, and tuna salad sandwiches.

The solution? Avoid the above. And eat foods high in protein, antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Foods like blueberries, beans, oatmeal, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and hard-boiled eggs are not only packed with nutrients but will also give your body a necessary energy boost.

Make that meal part of a combo and take a walk after you eat. Help your food digest by moving and not slumping back into your swivel chair. According to an article on WholeApproach.com, "a brisk twenty to thirty minute walk after a meal helps activate digestion."

So while saying goodbye to lunchtime favorites like mocha cappuccinos, potato chips, and tuna sandwiches may be difficult, remember this: by learning how to conquer the food coma slump, you will not only boost your energy and improve your work performance, but you may also say "hello" to a raise.

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