Beat the 3pm slump

HEALTH:

It’s a modern day phenomena; even when you’ve eaten well all day, you still find yourself craving something sweet to perk you up in the afternoon.

So how can you beat the 3pm slump and stay energised all afternoon without breaking your diet?

EXERCISE:Nuts-various-edible2

If you’re struggling with cravings, try changing your environment by getting up and doing some exercise.

Physical activity not only helps to relieve stress and fatigue (common junk food triggers), but it also improves inhibitory control within the brain which can help regulate how likely you are to give in to cravings. So get up and go for a walk; you might be surprised by how quickly the sugar craving evaporates.

NUTRITION:

Be prepared! If it gets to 3pm & you’ve nothing left nutritious left to eat, you’ll be far more inclined to seek out sweet treats.

Remove all temptation and keep a steady supply of healthy snacks in your bag or desk drawer to ensure you’re never caught short. Fresh fruit, vegetable crudities and containers of unsalted nuts & seeds are particularly good choices.

© Sarah West Nutrition

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Are you getting enough?

HEALTH:

Iron is an integral component of many proteins and enzymes that maintain good health and wellbeing. You must always ensure you take in sufficient amounts of iron-rich foods in your diet.

Excess amounts of iron can result in toxicity and even death, so it important to see your doctor for a firm diagnosis of iron deficiency before simply supplementing with iron tablets.

EXERCISE:

spinach-dd-02Keen gym-goers will deplete their iron stores much faster than their less physically active counterparts sweat & the digestive tract, putting them at greater risk of deficiency and decreased endurance.
Insufficient iron stores lead to a shortage of oxygen being delivered to the muscles during exercise. This means that those with low iron levels will have a much harder time sustaining their workout and will rapidly run out of energy. Watch out for signs of weakness, lethargy, dizziness and heart palpitations and see your GP if you are concerned or feel unwell.

NUTRITION:

Poor dietary choices are the cause of most cases of iron deficiency.  Try boosting your intake by including more lean red meat, poultry, shellfish, lentils, leafy greens (such as spinach and broccoli), almonds and iron-fortified cereals in your diet.

By combining these iron-rich foods with a source of vitamin C (such as orange juice) and avoiding milk, tea and coffee while you eat, you will further optimise iron absorption.

© Sarah West Nutrition

Winter wellbeing

HEALTH:

Had enough of grey skies and cold weather? Lack of sunlight lowers the feel-good brain chemical serotonin, meaning your enthusiasm to get fit can seem lower than ever at this time of year.

But don’t be tempted to hibernate; it is particularly important to keep active if you want to stay feeling your best and help fend off those winter germs and viruses.

EXERCISE:

Exercise is an essential part of any healthy lifestyle and you should aim for a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity each week, whatever the weather.

492649930158102_do6Vso4s_cWinter is a great time to try out something new that you can do indoors, so why not give badminton or squash a go? A burst of activity will make you feel far better (and warmer!) than just sitting around at home.

NUTRITION:

The secret to fighting off infections is to keep the immune system strong. To enhance your immune function this winter try eating plenty of colourful fruits and vegetables and increasing your intake of foods containing zinc (such sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, beans, poultry, yogurt and wholegrains).

Try to avoid too much refined sugar, as this has been shown to reduce energy levels and suppress immune function.

© Sarah West Nutrition