How to beat the 3pm slump

Thursday, 26 April 2018

Do you feel constantly exhausted or lacking concentration? Are you propping yourself up with caffeine and / or sugary snacks in search of an energy boost come 3pm? While our energy levels are affected by other factors including stress, sleep and our environment, our diet can have a big impact on the amount of bounce in your step each day.

So what can you do to eat for more energy?

1. Fuel up with smart carbs

Firstly look at the types of carbohydrate foods you are eating. Consuming refined, low fibre carbohydrates or excess added sugars can temporarily boost your energy, but is all too often followed by a slump. Hello 3pm.

To maintain energy levels throughout the day look to low GI, high fibre carbohydrates like wholegrain breads, sweet potato and legumes. These foods cause a slower and more sustained increase in blood glucose levels that helps to maintain your energy levels throughout the day.

It’s important to include a portion of low GI carbohydrates at each meal and to make sure you are eating regularly to avoid a dip in blood glucose levels that can cause fatigue. Three meals a day is a good place to start for most of us, though some people may also require a small nutritious snack between meals. Reach for something like an apple and some natural yoghurt.

2. Eat nutrient rich foods

Making sure you consume a good mix of wholegrains and protein rich foods can also ensure you are getting enough nutrient rich foods that help with energy production. Make sure you include enough iron rich foods such as lean meats, legumes, nuts and seeds and foods rich in B vitamins such as wholegrains, dairy, eggs and green leafy vegetables. Getting a range of vitamin and minerals through a healthy, varied diet can help to prevent deficiency related fatigue.

If fatigue is persistent it is worth discussing it with your GP, sometimes it can be indicative of a deficiency and your GP may choose to take a blood test to check vitamin D, B12 and iron levels.

3. Reach for the water bottle

It’s also important to pay attention to hydration, as feeling tired or sleepy is one of the first symptoms of mild dehydration, along with a dry mouth, and yellower coloured urine.  An easy way to make sure you drink enough fluid is to make a habit of having a glass of water at each meal or snack time. Also make a habit of carrying a water bottle with you. Herbal tea makes a good alternative in cooler weather, e.g. peppermint, chamomile, rooibos.

You don’t need to be an athlete, you just need to move a little more than you did yesterday.

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