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How can you ward off the post-lunch dip?

Download PDF An after-dinner dip after your lunch at the office? Many people know what it’s like. It’s when you nod off at the computer. Or just when you start to yawn and wish you had something sweet to eat. Or you feel really jittery, even to the point of shaking or sweating, and you can’t focus on your work anymore either. That little dip is usually caused by whatever it was that you just had to eat.1 Was it a sandwich, a glass of juice, a slice of gingerbread or a dish of yoghurt?

A meal can contain a lot of carbohydrates such as you find in bread, other baked goods, sugary drinks or dairy products. Carbohydrates are sugars, and digesting large quantities of them is exhausting work for the body. In other words, it tires us out.2,3 The liver and pancreas are the first organs that have to start working on removing these excess sugars from our bloodstream. And these organs need quite a bit of help in doing this. It costs our body a lot of vitamins and minerals to convert and store these sugars. If we don’t consume minerals like zinc and magnesium and the B vitamins, we can quickly become deficient in them. In the long run, this can cause additional problems. If you want to keep functioning properly at work, you have to be able to think clearly and make the right decisions. So take care of your body by eating foods that contain important substances. The more you use up your own vitamins and minerals, the greater the risk that you will burn out at a certain point.

Three tips to stay sharp and focused after lunch:
  1. Select unprocessed natural food items: a green salad with fish, any kind of vegetable soup, a large omelet and fresh fruit with nuts. Having one or two slices of bread is OK, but try a rice cracker sometimes for a change. Don’t go for 4 slices of bread and a glass of juice. That’s too many carbohydrates that will take too much energy to digest.
  2. Take a walk, preferably before your meal. By getting some moderate exercise, your muscles will produce anti-inflammatory agents. And this helps reduce the impact of a meal.4
  3. If you still have an annoying dip during the day and want to get rid of it fast, have a healthy snack like nuts, dark chocolate or a hardboiled egg. In the long run, however, it would be better not to snack at all so that you train your body to handle a dip on its own.

- Written by Willeke van den Oord, an orthomolecular therapist who practices according to the principles of Clinical Psycho-Neuro-Immunology.
1. Schuitemaker, G.E., Hypoglycemie. Orthomoleculair 1983; 3:3-28.
2. Kosten, T.R., George, T.P. (2002). The neurobiology of opioid dependence: implications for treatment. Science Project Perspective, 1(1), 13-20.
3. Kracke, G.R., Uthoff, K.A., Tobias, J.D. (2005). Sugar solution analgesia: the effects of glucose on expressed mu opioid receptors. Anesth Analg, 101(1), 64-8.
4. Brandauer, J., Landers-Ramos, R.Q., Jenkins, N.T., Spangenburg, E.E., Hagberg, J.M., Prior, S.J. (2013). Effects of prior acute exercise on circulating cytokine concentration responses to a high-fat meal. Physiology Reports, 2013 Aug; 1(3), e0004.

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