There’s energy in a can and there’s REAL energy.
If you feel exhausted and are tempted to crack open a can of instant energy, think twice before giving in to the craving.
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Today’s wide array of energy drinks are a horrifyingly popular way to get the instant energy you need and stay awake when you simply don’t have time to sleep. In fact, there are a whopping 500+ on the market today. Probably designed mostly with students and athletes in mind, they are also wildly popular in offices around the world.
But, this is like the ‘Emperor’s New Clothes’ syndrome—it’s not real energy, and worse—it’s detrimental to your health.
One energy drink isn’t going to kill you, but there are increasing indications that 2-3 cans a day cause arrhythmia, insomnia, nausea, nervousness, dehydration and many other negative conditions.
Many health institutions have sounded the alarm bells over health problems reported to have been related to energy drink consumption—and even deaths.
A study by JAHA (Journal of the American Heart Association) found energy drinks to have a greater impact on blood pressure and heart rate than beverages that contain just caffeine alone.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was also investigating reports on 13 deaths and nonfatal heart attacks in people who consumed energy drinks.
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Here’s where things go wrong: Energy drinks contain a lot more than just an extra dose of caffeine. They contain additional stimulants that enhance adrenaline, speeding up the heart rate and blood circulation to the point where—temporarily—you feel happy and powerful. But then, you crash. After the euphoria that makes you think you can do the work of five people, there is a sudden lack of energy and a loss of concentration. And this is where the addiction comes in.
In the best-known energy drinks—such as Monster Energy, Red Bull and 5-Hour Energy, you generally have 320 milligrams of caffeine (equal to four cups of coffee), some 4 ounces of sugar (yikes), B vitamins, and stimulants such as taurine and guarana, which have not even been approved as safe food supply elements by the FDA.
The good news is that there are plenty of alternatives to these toxic and unhealthy energy pick-me-ups. We’ve put together a list of 10 alternative ways to restore your energy in a flash, while at the same time not only keeping you healthy but making your healthier. And this isn’t the ‘Emperor’s New Clothes’—this is real energy. Your body is a temple, so treat it like one with one of these options:
- Ginseng for energy and resilience. Ginseng is prescribed by herbalists to boost your resilience to stress and stress-related fatigue. It is also popular in China as a revitalizing herb for the elderly. But it also boosts your immune system, helps combat jet-lag and is even said to increase fertility. If you have a juicer, nothing could be easier. The best energy boosters are multivitamin juices made of fresh fruit. Red grapefruit, orange, honey, and ginger are a universal formula for energy blasts.
- Lemon juice (and ginger)—A healthy dose of straight, unadulterated lemon juice every single morning will change your life. Organic is preferred, but anything will do. And, if you need a lift at the office, keep a full bottle handy and take a shot every time you feel your energy waning. The lemon is one of the most useful and valuable foods in the world. It shocks you into wakefulness and stimulates your metabolism, so that it’s also a great weight-loss tool. This is the superfood of superfoods, and it’s rich in potassium, calcium, vitamins C, A, B1, B6, magnesium, phosphorus, pectin and many other elements. Lemon is an excellent alkalization, antiseptic and antioxidant. It’s also great for digestion and helps with nausea. If you add some ginger to your lemon juice you get an additional booster for your circulatory system, helping to clear your mind and stimulate your brain.
- Licorice – for restoration. Licorice has been described as ‘the universal herb.’ It has many beneficial effects. Most importantly, for anyone suffering from low energy levels, licorice works to restore adrenal glands which have been worn out by too much stress. It is also an anti-stress mood booster and it stabilizes blood sugar levels so you don’t experience an ‘energy crash’ that has you reaching for coffee and a doughnut in the late afternoon (or another ‘energy drink’).
- Yerba Mate is a favorite tea in Argentina which has recently become more widely known due to celebrity consumption (think: Madonna). It is prescribed by herbalists for its reviving properties. It does contain some caffeine, but in a more natural and less damaging form than processed black tea. This herbal tea stimulates the brain and nervous system more gently than coffee, and—at least in Argentina–it is traditionally prescribed as a healing tonic for people who have become exhausted due to stress.
- Green Smoothie – Green leaves contain more vitamins and minerals than any other food group and you can pack them into a great-tasting smoothie. Try a mix of avocado, kale, apples, spinach, coconut water and mint to best boost your immune system, improve your health and increase your energy—the natural way. If you drink it in the morning, you’ll be ready to take on the full day.
- Pomegranates Juice – Pomegranates contain high amounts of glucose. Pomegranates are great antioxidants (in fact, they have three times more anti-oxidants than green tea or oranges). So, not only are you giving yourself an energy boost, but you’re also helping to prevent heart disease, inflammation and possibly even cancer, all the while boosting your immunity.
- Neural Boost 4-in-1 Organic Brain Food Supplement Energy, Memory, Mood and Focus – This concoction contains the top brain foods and herbal nootropics for supporting a healthy energy boost. It’s also designed to improve your short- and long-term memory and positively enhance your mood and your mental focus ability. It is designed to be consumed daily as a tonic for nourishing and restoring the function of the brain and nervous system. Add it to your favorite shake and you’ve got a boost that tastes good.
- Forever Living FAB – while most energy drinks have harsh stimulants and added caffeine, this one drink contains a proprietary herbal blend, plus natural caffeine from guarana to give you a natural boost. The is an easy option that is a healthier energy alternative with a nice dose of vitamins, amino acids and electrolytes—and without all the calories, carbs and sugar.
- V8 + Energy – This age-old beverage producer has come out with an ‘energy drink’ that is rich in vitamin B, contains no added sugar and provides a combined serving of vegetables and fruit, plus natural energy from green tea leaves.
- But, we’ve left the most important for last: WATER. In general, dehydration leads to fatigue, which makes it hard to get through the day. The more water you drink, the more awake and alert you will feel. Drinking water is a simple remedy that will increase energy, fight fatigue and help keep your body operating at prime efficiency.
Never underestimate the power of the simplest energy solution out there. In the least, combine a heavier dose of water with one of our other energy drink solutions. Sometimes, it’s best just to get back to the basics.
Your body is a temple, but the greed and commercial drive of our society to churn out products that fight this and that, without taking the time to weigh the consequences, means that we end up putting all sorts of stuff into our system that has harmful effects. Sometimes it might seem easier just to crack open a can of energy, but there are plenty of simple solutions—they just don’t usually come along with the same amount of heavy-hitting advertising that catches our eye.
Nature already provides all of the answers for us, we just need to get creative and reboot and rewind.
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