How To Avoid Food Coma or Postprandial Somnolence

Inappropriate food combinations or excessive portions that you eat at lunch time are two of the reasons why you’re so tired in the afternoon. Learn how to banish laziness that occurs after a meal!

If you don’t want to feel sleepy in the afternoon, you should know a few things about the reasons that induce this drowsy state and fight them. This sensation that occurs after a meal is called postprandial somnolence and it manifests itself with symptoms such as drowsiness, inability to concentrate and an accentuated somnolence.

This is why you get so sleepy and lazy after eating, especially when choosing exaggerated food portions:

1.Eating too much

Eating stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system announcing that body must operate at lower capacity and begin the process of digestion. The more you eat, the more energy will be concentrated on the process of digestion alone, leaving you with that feeling of drowsiness and somnolence.

2.Give up refined sweets!

Our body needs glucose to obtain energy. Once the food is digested, it releases glucose and, as a response, the pancreas starts producing insulin to keep blood sugar at an optimal level.

A high amount of insulin causes the brain to increase the production of serotonin and melatonin. So you will undoubtedly face the feeling of drowsiness.

Carbohydrates are the main source of glucose. Some carbohydrates are assimilated into the body more slowly and gradually increase the level of glucose, providing energy constantly on a longer period.

These are “good” carbohydrates, which are found in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. The “bad” ones are absorbed quickly and suddenly raise blood sugar levels, decreasing as easily as they were absorbed. They deliver quick energy, but it is consumed just as quickly, making us feel more tired than even before eating.

“Bad” carbohydrates are found in refined sugar and sugar based products, soft drinks and refined sweets (cakes, candy, cookies, donuts, and crackers). Also, they are found in white flour and flour-based products (bread, pasta).

3.Tryptophan

There are foods rich in tryptophan, an amino acid that can induce drowsiness. The richest foods in tryptophan listed by the National Institutes of Health include – cheese, chicken, fish, eggs, milk, nuts, peanut butter, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, soy products, pork and turkey meat.

4.Energizers trick you

Energy drinks have a short-term effect, by the content of caffeine and sugar (those containing sugar). An hour or two after drinking the energizer, the glucose level decreases more than before and the body reaches a state of exhaustion. Therefore, we don’t charge batteries for a full day if we use an energy drink. In addition, chemicals contained must be metabolized by the liver, process which wearies the body.

5.Alcoholic beverages consume our vitamins

These beverages have more calories than sugar. The latter has 4 calories per gram, while one milliliter of alcohol has 7 calories. The problem is that those calories don’t have nutritional value, as they are “empty”. In order to be metabolized by the liver and converted into energy, they need vitamins and minerals, the substances that give us energy.

Other causes of the food coma after meals:

  • Lack of nickel, a mineral that protects the liver, helps store glycogen and is useful in enhancing properties of insulin in lowering the glucose level.
  • Cobalt deficiency, a mineral that helps produce red blood cells, with important anti-anemic effect.
  • Low blood pressure.
  • Liver or bile diseases.
  • Some food intolerance or food allergies.
  • Atherogenic diets rich in cholesterol and saturated fats;
  • Anemia.

Body digestion requires a lot of energy. Usually, a rich meal causes drowsiness and/or fatigue, which obviously demonstrates a lack of energy.

What happens then with our energy?

70% of it is involved in the digestion process. This happens especially when we eat unhealthy (large quantities or unpleasant food combinations).

Of all the food groups, meat uses the most energy during digestion. Also, combinations of meat, dairy products, and white flour are very difficult to digest, requiring a lot of energy.

Learn more about postprandial somnolence by watching this great video.

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