Eaten Too Much? 5 Tips to Get Through Your Food Coma

Eaten Too Much? 5 Tips to Get Through Your Food Coma

So you over-indulged at that buffet or had an extra piece of pie after dinner. Maybe it’s your birthday, so you’re justified in consuming too much cake and ice cream? Too many chicken wings during the ball game? We’ve all done it – gone overboard with great food or beverages, then we pay the price – the dreaded food coma.

What Is a Food Coma?

Your tired or dreary feeling after a large meal is not just a figment of your imagination. Science tells us the feeling is brought on not only by how much we eat but what we eat. The chemistry of digestion itself increases blood flow to the stomach, shunting it away from other areas, which can trigger a sense of light-headedness or feeling tired in some people.

Meals containing a significant imbalance of nutrients, such as those high in carbohydrates or fats, contribute to this sleepy feeling. Although there are still many studies continuing to determine the actual interactions between food consumption and the release of hormones that can make us sleepy, the primary fact remains – it happens.

So once the symptoms kick in, how do you combat your food coma?

1. Eat

hungry man eating after a food coma
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​Image: CC0 Public Domain Juanital57 via Pixabay

Maybe this sounds a bit counter-intuitive, but one of the main causes of your coma is the imbalance of chemistry going on in your digestive tract on up to your brain cells. Grabbing a light snack can counteract this condition, providing it meets these attributes:

  • Contains a content of healthy fat
  • Is low in simple carbohydrates
  • Is high in protein

An intake of this type of snack will help to counteract the effects of the high carbs you’ve consumed, improving the ratio of carbs to proteins.

2. Balance Your Diet

Have a healthy, hearty breakfast. If you skip breakfast, you’re even more likely to be ravenous by lunch, consuming more than your body can easily absorb. In short order, the food coma will begin to sneak up on you.

There’s nothing less comfortable than fighting sleep at your desk or being drowsy in meetings that need your full attention. Balancing breakfast and lunch is better for your overall health, and will help keep you awake and alert.

3. Hydrate

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Your body can confuse dehydration and hunger. This can cause you to eat more than you really need, bringing on drowsiness. Nutritionists suggest drinking a large glass of water 20-30 minutes before you sit down to your meal.

4. Take it Slow

Obviously, overeating is what triggers many instances of food coma. Just look around the room after a large family gathering with great food, and notice how many family members are dozing off.

Part of the solution is to eat slowly. Even if you’re feeling really hungry, it’s important to not just shovel the food down at record speed. Your stomach can’t keep up with that rate of consumption, and will still think it’s hungry, so you keep right on eating – and overeating.

Eating more slowly will help your digestion, reduce the tendency to overeat, and will actually enhance your dining experience.

5. Watch What You Eat – and When

One of the major causes of your food coma is the combination of foods you consume. Overloading on fatty foods and those high in simple carbs like white bread, white rice, which contain simple sugars can bring on that feeling. Your body breaks these foods down quickly and burns them in a short time. Once they’re digested, your body’s sugar levels take a nosedive, bringing on that lethargic feeling.

Substitute more complex carbs such as foods high in whole grains, that take much longer to break down, evening out the flow of nutrients to your body.

It’s also best for your body and digestion to eat smaller meals, more often. This evens your supply of nutrients to the body and the flow of energy to the brain, keeping you more balanced and alert.

You might want to check The four best foods to eat for weight loss​.

Beating Your Food Coma​​

When a food coma does strike, despite all your best nutritional behavior, there are still certain steps you can take to combat the effects:

  • Move – taking a brisk walk for 20-30 minutes will help your digestion and assist in regulating your blood sugars. Some aerobic exercise will help get the blood flowing to the right places again, as well.
  • Drink – no, not alcohol that will only increase drowsiness, but water. Consuming some plain water or decaffeinated tea will help move digestion along, speeding recovery.
  • Learn – like most people, there will be times when you have succumbed to the evils of overeating, and lapse into that feeling of drowsiness. Use that feeling to help you focus on better eating habits in the future.
  • Get back to normal – don’t skip breakfast the next day. It’s the most important meal of the day. A healthy breakfast will help get you back on the right track.

Remember that the easiest way to combat your food coma is to avoid it in the first place.

Featured Image: CC0 Public Domain Free-Photos via Pixabay

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