Do you know? a feeling you have after finishing a big meal, you feel stuffed and then you feel sleepy then the idea of taking a nap sets in.
Sounds familiar right?
It’s called postprandial somnolence – commonly called “food coma”.
Food coma is a change in the circulation when food enters the stomach and activates the gastrointestinal tract, blood flow shifts from the muscles and brain into the stomach and intestines. This was an explanation made by the professor of nutrition and psychology at Cornell University, David Levitsky.
Protein delays gastric dumpling, which means food, and it’s surrounding supply of blood tends to stay in the stomach longer. “It is theoretically possible after eating a large (protein-rich) meal, you may feel more tired”. Levitsky said.
Indeed, a recent study involving fruits flies found that the more protein the flies consumed, the longer they slept. A similar case can be made of fat, which takes longer time to digest.
Circadian rhythms is said to contribute to food comas, too. In our bodies, there is a normal decrease in arousal that occurs in the early to mid-afternoon, a common biological phenomenon that contributes to sleepiness and is compounded by eating a meal.
How To Prevent a Food Coma.
Though a food coma may seem inevitable at times, there are something’s you can do that may help:
Eat smaller meals. The bigger the meal, the greater the chance of being drowsy.
At lunchtime, small portions are especially important, because the lunchtime dip in arousal compounds the effects.
To avoid postprandial sleepiness, have a light lunch or have an early lunch about 11:45am to avoid endogenous circadian dip.
Choose liquids over solids. That doesn’t mean lunch has to be limited to smoothies, though occasionally they are fine as a mini meal. “If you have a salad or a bowl of soup as opposed to a hamburger, something with a higher water content is more better”.
Opt for carbs that are low on the glycemic index over ones that are high low-GI carbs include whole wheat bread, oatmeal, beans, peas, most fruits and non-starchy vegetables.
Limit the intake of white bread, white rice, bagels, pretzels and crackers.
A cup of coffee or cappuccino should suffice. Though caffeinated beverages can serve as a helpful stimulant, too much can lead to restlessness and later sleep.
Skip the wine and martin “Alcohol is a sedative, so this just adds to the drowsiness”
If you enjoy taking drinks with meal, choose dinner time over lunch, and limit yourself to one beverage.
Compiled by: MyCookery Zone
Courtesy: Lisa Drayer (a nutritionist, author and health journalist) & CNN.