What can I eat to feel alert before an important meeting? I tend to feel very sleepy after my lunch.
When you want to give an exam, make a presentation or crack a deal, you want to be at your sharpest best. You want to be alert and focused and not tense, blank and edgy. To achieve this, you must eat at least two hours before you have to perform. Don’t drink any alcohol at least a day before the day.
The breakfast you choose should be low in fat, as fats take longer to digest and slow you down mentally. Eat some good quality protein for breakfast as it helps keep you full for a longer duration and does not bring about unnecessary hunger pangs. Moreover, eating protein helps tyrosine (an amino acid) reach your brain with the help of which the alertness chemicals dopamine and nor epinephrine are produced. When the brain produces these chemicals, distinct changes in behaviour take place.
People tend to think more clearly, react positively and become more energetic and motivated. Therefore, a good breakfast choice before you have to perform would be:
A hot steaming bowl of partially cooked sprouted mung beans and 1 cup low-fat curd.
A glass of tomato, carrot and beetroot juice along with 10-15 almonds and an egg and a slice of whole wheat bread.
A glass of carrot and spinach juice along with two egg whites and a toast (whole wheat bread).
A bowl of chana or rajma or chowli, which is left over from last night’s dinner and a fruit.
Eating up to three-fourth of your capacity prevents you from feeling sleepy. This is because the heavier the meal, the longer it will take to digest it. More blood flows to the stomach (for digestion) making less blood available for your brain to function to its optimum capacity. We definitely don’t want this to happen. You could also take a B-complex along with a vitamin C supplement on that morning. The B-complex helps convert food into energy and makes you feel extremely active, motivated and energetic.
The vitamin C is required to handle the ‘stress’ to the body as during a stressful situation vitamin C is used up and one need more of it to handle a tricky situation and nullify the free radicals produced as a result of stress.
What are the health benefits of honey? Is it entirely fat-free?
Honey contains glucose and fructose, and minerals like magnesium, iron, calcium and B-complex vitamins. It is rich in antioxidants (good for skin health) and has strong anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties. Though fat free, honey is quite calorie dense, so be careful to use it in moderation only.
Dr Anjali Mukerjee is a nutritionist and the founder of Health Total, a nutrition counselling centre.