Berries – an early morning smoothie staple for any fitness lover. Whether you love them or hate them, new research by the University of Reading has discovered that eating fresh, mixed berries in the morning can prevent that annoying afternoon slump.
The research, conducted in conjunction with British Summer Fruits, found that munching on some mixed berries for breakfast could sustain or even improve cognitive function for up to six hours after consumption.
These results follow a study that involved testing 40 adults aged between 20 and 30 who had consumed either mixed berries, or a placebo for cognitive function, accuracy and mood at two, four and six hours after consumption.
Unsurprisingly, those adults who drank the polyphenol-rich berry drink sustained cognitive function throughout the day.
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“The beneficial effects of polyphenol-rich interventions on cognition have been reliably found in a number of trials. However, most of these studies have considered polyphenols from a single source with little research considering the benefits of multiple polyphenol-rich sources” said Professor Claire Williams, a neuroscience professor at the University of Reading.
Dr Emma Derbyshire, Nutritionist for British Summer Fruits adds: “From this study we can make the assumption that if someone working a nine-to-five job consumes a mixture of strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries, it will help to improve cognitive function, through both sustained accuracy and improved reaction speeds. This research also points to the benefits of eating a mixture of berries, compared to just a single type of fruit.”
Tips to avoid an afternoon slump
Dr Emma Derbyshire: “Taking a nap may seem like the best approach to manage an afternoon slump, but for most this isn’t possible.
Equally, caffeine can shift your cardiac rhythm, making it harder to fall asleep at night, but there are a few ways to give yourself a boost to avoid the slump.”
• Get plenty of sleep at night. If you are sleep deprived, you are more likely to experience an afternoon energy dip
• Choose lunch wisely. Opt for high protein and low-fat options. Fat takes a lot of resources to absorb. Protein, on the other hand, is easily digested and will keep your body supplied with energy for hours
• Get out in the sun. Sunlight can make you more alert
• Eat mixed berries in the morning. Berries can help improve cognitive function and accuracy for up to 6 hours after consumption
• Exercise. Even light exercise causes a slight bump in cortisol and body temperature making you more awake
• Avoid sugar and caffeine. They provide your body with temporary energy, but causes a big dip in energy later on in the day
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