Becoming sleepy and gassy after a meal can put a wrinkle in your day, especially if you're at work. If you're struggling to stay awake or trying to control flatulence around others, you're distracted from more pressing tasks. The types of food you eat are often the culprits. Knowing which ones are causing the problem will help you get these nuisances under control, so you can focus on what's important.
Many people become tired because of the foods they just ate. A research team at the University of Manchester in England found that high blood glucose levels can reduce brain cell activities that would normally keep a subject awake. Certain neurons in the brain are turned off when glucose levels rise. These neurons are also less active at night, when the body rests and conserves energy. The same is true after a meal -- especially if the meal was high in sugar. Neurons in the brain signal your body to rest and save energy when satiated.
Though it would be difficult to eat a meal that doesn't impact your glucose levels, you can make conscious decisions about which types of foods to eat during the day. Cut foods high in simple carbohydrates, such as sweets and processed foods, and incorporate the healthier complex carbohydrates found in starchy vegetables and whole-grain breads. Eat smaller meals more often, rather than two or three big meals that can cause dramatic spikes in your glucose level. Smaller meals better regulate your insulin and blood sugar levels.
Gas often develops in the digestive tract after eating certain foods. Typically, your body first feels bloated, which then results in the passing of gas. Producing and passing gas is normal. According to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, a person makes about one to four pints of gas a day and passes it about 14 times per day. The gas is made when undigested foods are broken down. Certain sugars and starches cannot be digested and absorbed by the body. These carbohydrates pass through the small intestines and are expelled through the rectum.
Certain foods cause more gas production than others. You can reduce some of the gas your body makes by cutting down on foods such as beans, cabbage, milk products, including cheese, products with fructose, such as soft drinks, and foods that contain artificial sweeteners. Foods high in fiber, such as oat bran and peas, and certain starchy foods, such as potatoes, pasta and wheat, all produce gas in the large intestine. Rice does not produce gas. Cutting down on high-fat foods can also help reduce the amount of gas you produce, as less fat in the body helps empty your stomach faster.