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Lunch lessons for the power-hungry

Choosing the right sandwich could give you a post-lunch productivity boost.
What's the best lunchtime snack for the office?
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LONDON, England (CNN) -- Ambitious executives could gain an edge over their rivals by changing their lunchtime dining habits, according to an Oxford University scientist.

Dr John Stanley, a lecturer in biochemistry at Trinity College, has created the perfect sandwich for power lunches, guaranteed to help you survive the dullest of afternoon PowerPoint presentations.

The nutrition expert suggests eating a chicken tikka masala and mango salsa sandwich on granary bread before business meetings to stay alert.

Protein in the chicken produces neurotransmitters in the brain, helping a person to stay awake, while the sandwich also contains vitamins and minerals that combat fatigue.

For a pre- or post-office workout at the gym, Stanley recommends an apple and peanut butter on granary combination because of its low glycaemic index, meaning it releases a steady stream of energy for exercise.

Workers wishing to get back to peak performance after a heavy night out should make themselves a toasted chocolate and banana sandwich for breakfast -- the perfect cure for hangovers, according to Stanley, because it provides a quick release of sugars and minerals to help restore blood sugar levels.

For the seriously stressed-out manager, Stanley prescribes a more conventional smoked turkey and cream cheese sandwich to guarantee a good night's sleep.

The key ingredient is the amino acid tryptophan, contained in the turkey, which releases serotonin in the brain, a naturally-occurring feelgood hormone that is used in the treatment of depression. The cream cheese also contains calcium and the vitamin B12, which produce neurotransmitters that regulate sleeping patterns.

"Meal times are increasingly becoming shorter, but a quick and easy sandwich can still give you a good dose of vitamins and minerals to help see you through the day, whatever you have to deal with," said Stanley.

And for those with any energy left after a hard day at the office, he recommends figs, honey, orange and ricotta cheese on thick white bread.

Drawing more on the classical Greeks' belief that figs boosted fertility and the use of honey in love potions during the Middle Ages than the science of sandwiches, Stanley says the combination is a modern take on an ancient aphrodisiac.

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