Work in any health or fitness field long enough, and you’re sure to get asked the same questions over and over.
Zoe Bingley-Pullin, nutritionist and the founder of Falling in Love with Food, shares her answers to three common questions with Coach.
How can I beat the afternoon slump?
Many of us are very familiar with the dreaded 3pm slump! To help overcome it and push through try these tips:
Hydration can easily be mistaken for hunger and can also lead to loss of concentration. When energy starts to dip, drink a glass of water and see how much better you feel!
Eat a satisfying lunch
If your lunch is lacking, you will start to feel a drop in energy and increase in appetite only a few hours later. To help support stable energy into the afternoon, always include a source of protein (such as eggs, chicken/meat, fish, legumes, dairy, nuts/seeds or tofu), good quality fats (avocado, extra virgin olive oil, tahini or nuts/seeds) and complex carbs (brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat pasta, multigrain bread or root vegetables) in your lunch.
Spending time in an outdoor green space such as a park or even your backyard is enough to help reduce our stress hormone cortisol and pick up mood. If feeling flat go for a quick power walk around the block or try a 10-minute yoga routine to get blood flowing.
Here are some good snacks to see you through the afternoon:
- Banana smoothie with added oat bran rich in B-vitamins for energy
- 1/4 avocado with seed crackers or veg sticks
- 1 green apple with a handful of raw nuts or poached/baked apple with Greek yoghurt
- Vitamin C-rich vegetable juice combo such as carrot, ginger and lemon
- Natural Greek yoghurt topped with hemp seeds and fresh papaya or pineapple
What are superfoods and do I need them?
Superfoods are nutrient-dense foods believed to be particularly beneficial for health and well-being. Typically they are foods high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds such as hemp seeds, blueberries, turmeric, kale, seaweed, berries and green tea.
As you can see, superfoods don’t necessarily mean powders and blends of ancient foods from a packet — everyday wholefoods are the best kind of superfoods.
Including superfoods in your day-to-day diet helps to boost the overall nutritional quality of your diet. If we are under lots of stress or eat a poor quality diet most the time, superfoods can help us meet our nutritional needs. In terms of powders, they can be used to boost the diet especially during periods of stress or illness, but shouldn’t be used to replace real food.
I have heard a lot about probiotics, but what exactly are prebiotics?
Prebiotics are carbohydrate-containing foods known to resist digestion in the small intestine and therefore reach the colon, where they are fermented by gut flora.
In fact, prebiotics can favourably alter the composition of gut bacteria; specifically, the growth of bifidobacteria and lactobacilli, two beneficial probiotic strains. Prebiotics also:
- support the production of short chain fatty acids, important to protect against colon cancer;
- reduce the ability of bad bacteria to grow;
- increase uptake of minerals such as calcium; and
- may support overall immunity.
As you can see, it’s very important to include prebiotics in your diet to help good gut bugs flourish. So which foods actually contain prebiotics?
- oats and oat bran