Stress in our lives today is almost continuous, and its effect on the body can be very extreme if it isn’t controlled. Symptoms of stress overload include rapid weight gain, anxiety, irritability and low mood. So follow these 3 rules to help minimise the effect on your system:
Hydration: Drink water regularly during the day. Regular fluid intake will keep the body calm and able to deal more effectively with stress.
Relaxation: Go outdoors at lunchtime. A 15-minute walk helps you to relax thereby allowing the stress hormones that have built up during the morning to be released out of the body.
Balance: Eat a healthy lunch and regular snacks to guarantee a constant flow of energy throughout the day which will help keep the body stress free. Caffeine and sugary foods such as chocolate can have the opposite effect so try to avoid or minimise these in the diet.
Going to the gym later ? Make the right lunchtime choice.
If you plan to do exercise after work your body will require even more nutrients to support you. Lunch plays an important role as it can provide the energy not just for the afternoon but also into the early evening.
So make sure it contains: • Wholemeal bread, pasta or rice • Lean protein such as chicken, tuna, egg, ham or pulses • Salad vegetables such as rocket, watercress, spinach and beetroot
An additional snack at 4pm such as a couple of oatcakes with a small piece of cheese or a yogurt with a handful of nuts will further guarantee that you are getting sufficient nutrients to maximise your workout.
Find it hard to remember to drink water ? Drink a glass or 2 with your daily cuppa
Caffeine can disrupt blood sugar levels in the body, causing ‘highs’ followed by a slump which inevitably leads to rapid drops in energy and concentration.
It takes about 4 glasses of water to fully dilute the effect of the caffeine from 1 cup of coffee.
So the more water you drink alongside the caffeine, the least disruptive it will be to your system.
Eat an egg for lunch to help maintain your concentration levels into the afternoon
Eggs contain the Vitamin Choline which helps to keep the brain and especially the memory sharp.
They are also a lean form of protein which, when boiled, poached or scrambled, make an excellent companion for slow release wholegrain carbohydrates such as wholegrain bread.
The fat in eggs is low in saturates and so counts as ‘good fat’ and, although they contain cholesterol, if eaten in moderation (4-6 per week) can form an important part of a balanced diet.
Plan a healthy mid afternoon snack to keep you going until your evening meal
To avoid feeling hungry on the way home from work and maybe stopping off for a chocolate bar, take a healthy snack to work with you or pick up one up as part of your lunch to keep until later in the day.
An apple or banana with a small handful of nuts will give you an energy boost if eaten late afternoon. Or try a plain yogurt with fresh blueberries to keep you energies balanced until your evening meal.