by Mark Miller December 17, 2020 4 min read
If you’re getting sleepy at work in the afternoon or after your midday meal, it may be because you’re eating too many calories of carbohydrates, fats, and sugars. So how do you avoid getting sleepy after meals?
Certain foods trigger the body to produce chemicals or hormones that induce drowsiness. Also, eating too much can induce a food coma, as they are jokingly called.
To stay alert in the afternoon or whenever you have your meal during your shift, eat smaller amounts of food with less carbs, fat, and sugars.
You’ll have the added benefit of cutting down on calories if you opt for small servings of vegetables, fruits, whole grains (in small amounts), nuts, seeds, and low-fat meats.
Some people complain of drowsiness after a big holiday meal, especially where turkey is served. People have come to blame tryptophan in the turkey, but Huffington Post says  there is just as much of the amino acid in eggs and cheese.
Foods high in carbs, fat, and sugar trigger a neural response in the small intestine that directs the body to slow its metabolism and work on digesting what you’ve eaten rather than going out and acquiring more food to eat, Huff Post reports. This response takes place in what is called the parasympathetic nervous system.
Researchers determined certain brain cells, the orexin neurons of the hypothalamus, react strongly to glucose, which spikes after a fattening meal. The neurons produce a protein named orexin that helps moderate wakefulness.
Another neurohormone affected by food is insulin, which the body releases in greater amounts as you eat bigger quantities of food. Huff Post states:
The insulin, in turn, increases the amount of serotonin and melatonin that flood the brain, two chemicals associated with drowsiness (and, for that matter, happiness).
Huff Post says the drowsiness one feels after a meal isn’t dangerous. But if you feel it a lot it may be a sign of overeating, which does hold dangers of obesity and related heart disease, diabetes, stress on bones, muscles and tendons and other health problems.
Healthline reports  on other foods that can cause drowsiness:
Though all foods are digested in much the same manner, not all foods affect your body in the same way. Some foods, like turkey, can make you sleepier than others. Turkey and other high-protein foods, along with spinach, soy, eggs, cheese, tofu, and fish contain the amino acid tryptophan, which is used by the body to create serotonin, possibly responsible for that post-meal haze.
Cherries affect melatonin levels, carbohydrates cause a spike and subsequent fall in blood sugar, and the minerals in bananas relax your muscles. Any one of these factors could leave you sleepy.
Healthline discusses energy-destroying foods.
Healthline says there are foods that have the opposite effect, foods that wake you up and make you ready to tackle any boring task your boss may throw at you right after lunch:
The good news is, there are foods that can have the opposite effect. For instance, a balanced diet that includes vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats promotes sustained energy. Drinking plenty of water, avoiding too much sugar and eating smaller, more frequent meals can also help.
Woman’s Day has an article  on certain high-energy foods that can help combat low energy. The article states foods high in fat and calories can make you feel fatigued because they require a lot of energy to digest.
The 10 foods that Woman’s Day identifies as high in energy compounds are:
(The fact that one publication says high-carb foods like rice and potatoes, bananas and spinach cause drowsiness and another publication says they boost energy may point to a lack of research on the matter.)
It makes sense, too, as Healthline says, that a decent night’s sleep can help ward off drowsiness after a meal or during the midday.
Exercise also helps. Healthline says:
Multiple studies found that regular exercise helps increase energy and reduce fatigue. In other words, being sedentary doesn’t create some sort of energy reserve that you can tap into at will. Instead, being active will help ensure that you have the energy to push through your days.
Healthline’s article has the subhead: Feeling Tired After a Meal Is Completely Normal, but the site advises that talking to your doctor if the drowsiness interferes with your day or a change in diet and lifestyle don’t help mitigate it.
That said, WebMD advises  you to eat a good breakfast, eat a well-balanced diet during the day, and eat good fats and a lot of protein.
Cut out certain foods if you suspect they are making you drowsy, and see if that works. If it doesn’t work, consider having a blood test for celiac disease, which affects about 1 in 100 people.
Another thing you can try not mentioned by the articles we linked to is to take caffeine. As long as you keep your intake to 200 to 300 mg per day, caffeine is considered no problem. It is a stimulant that does not harm the body. In fact, many studies claim in moderate amounts caffeine benefits people, not just in boosting alertness but in reducing risk of disease and other types of pathology.
One good way to get caffeine is in Viter Energy Mints, healthful, flavorful mints that contain not just 40 mg of caffeine but also energizing B vitamins.
by Mark Miller June 24, 2021 3 min read
Erectile dysfunction. In combination, those are two of the ugliest words known to man. But can caffeine help you get it up?
Science hasn't found the definitive answer to this question, but one study concluded that fewer men who consume caffeine have problems performing. The study said:
Caffeine intake reduced the odds of prevalent ED, especially an intake equivalent to approximately 2-3 daily cups of coffee (170-375 mg/day). This reduction was also observed among overweight/obese and hypertensive, but not among diabetic men. Yet, these associations are warranted to be investigated in prospective studies
by Mark Miller June 22, 2021 4 min read
Many breastfeeding mothers wonder if it's OK to take caffeine. In fact, many nursing mothers just avoid caffeine in case it would keep their babies fussy, jittery and awake.
The answer is yes, you can take caffeine while breastfeeding, as long as you don't go over about 300 mg a day.
It's an important question because caffeine is in so many products, and taking coffee, tea, or soda is such a common ritual.
And breastfeeding mothers may be tempted to take caffeinated products because they are deprived of sleep by their newborns' odd sleep schedule.
by Mark Miller June 17, 2021 5 min read
You might think gum chewing is an activity with little or no benefits besides the pleasure and flavor, but think again. Chewing gum has several benefits.
In addition to freshening your breath, sugar-free gum can help prevent cavities and contribute to overall oral health. But that's just the beginning.