I have a habit of drinking smoothies and eating bananas after lunch so I could feel full longer, but I get sleepy and tired in the afternoon. What foods should I avoid at lunch? (Huyen, 30, Hanoi)
Lunch is a main meal, but an unhealthy diet can still make you tired, lose focus, and affect your afternoon workflow.
Bananas contain L-tryptophan, which changes into serotonin when consumed, improving your moods and producing melatonin – a chemical that affects your circadian rhythm and makes you sleepy.
Sugary smoothies shouldn’t be consumed at lunch as well. This is because sugar is a simple carbohydrate that can make you feel tired. Instead of drinking fruit smoothies, you could try foods rich in complex carbohydrates and fiber such as various kinds of nuts, whole grains, lentils, and black beans.
Another lunch food that can make you feel tired is salad, which is low in energy and protein but contains too much sugar in the dressing.
Another popular lunch ingredient is salmon. Although highly nutritious, salmon is rich in vitamin B6 – triggering the body to produce more melatonin that can make you feel sleepy.
An ideal lunch should be a moderate combination of carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats such as avocado and olive oil to make you feel full longer. You should also add more vitamins and fiber to your body by eating vegetables.
Dr. Nguyen Hoai Thu
Vietnam Institute of Applied Medicine