If you've been watching the news lately or reading the paper, you may have noticed a few different stories about death associated with energy drinks. Some people have become so dependent on caffeine to get them through the day that they are drinking dangerous amounts to stay energized. Caffeinated energy drinks can contain anywhere from 160 to 500 mg of caffeine and coffee (although not as high in caffeine as energy drinks) is offered by coffee houses in 20 and 30 ounce sizes! You don't need to ruin your health to stay awake and alert, and that's why I'm going to give you 7 healthy ways to get an energy kick!
1. Drink Green Tea
More than a decade's worth of research about green tea's health benefits have shown its potential to fight cancer and heart disease as well as helping to lower cholesterol, burn fat, and prevent diabetes and stroke. Because of green tea's minimal processing, its unique antioxidants are more concentrated and thus help ward off diseases in your body. The only negative side effect reported from drinking green tea is insomnia due to the fact that it contains caffeine. However, green tea does contains less caffeine than coffee with approximately 30 to 60 mg of caffeine, compared to over 100 mg that an average cup of coffee has. Because it still contains a little caffeine, this is a great way to start weaning yourself off your energy drink and coffee fixation.
2. Vitamin B12 Supplement
Vitamin B12 is an essential vitamin that you receive by eating foods such as fish, meat and dairy products. Because of this, vegetarians and vegans sometimes require additional supplementation of vitamin B12. When you have a vitamin B12 deficiency, you will tend to feel fatigued and sluggish. By simply taking a vitamin B12 daily supplement, you may see your energy and even your mood increase! Vitamin B12 has also been known to allow you to sleep better, which will also make you feel well rested and more energetic each day.
3. Eat a Power Snack
Starting to feel a little sluggish mid-day? Instead of reaching for a cup of coffee, try eating a power snack! Try to find a snack that combines protein, a little fat and some fiber all into one. Snacks like peanut butter on a whole-wheat cracker, or some yogurt with a handful of nuts meet all of these needs. The carbs will offer a quick pick-me-up, while the protein keeps your energy up, and the fat makes the energy last! Talk about a triple threat energy packed snack!
4. Get up and Move
Take a brisk walk or find the staircase in your office building and do five or six flights to get your blood pumping and your body warmed up. In addition, taking your mind off what you've been focused on and getting a quick change of scenery can help to re-energize you! During your lunch break, instead of going to get food and coming right back with it to eat at your desk, take a long walk that takes up most of your lunch break and grab food on your way back to the office! Your lunch break is there for a reason, use it to get re-energized for the second half of your day!
5. Drink a Green Monster
If you miss making your coffee every morning, try making a "green monster" smoothie instead to start your day. A green monster is a vitamin packed smoothie, perfect for breakfast or even lunch on the go! Some people may be put off by the green coloring and the fact that they are going to be drinking spinach, but honestly all you taste are the other ingredients such as peanut butter and banana! The smoothie recipe I found below is packed with vitamins A, C, K, iron, fiber, folate, lutein, magnesium, potassium, protein and calcium! All of these will keep you energetic all day without the crash coffee or energy drinks give.
1 small frozen ripe banana, peeled
2 cups baby spinach
1 tbsp Better n Peanut Butter
3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1/2 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt
Blend together with some ice and enjoy!
6. Peppermint Tea
One of the most surprising and interesting healthy ways to get energy is peppermint! As well as freshening your breath and calming your stomach after a meal, the cooling sensation of having peppermint tea is an instant revitalizer. The scent of peppermint alone helps decrease fatigue and enhances alertness! If you don't have any peppermint tea available, chew peppermint gum, savor a peppermint mint, or simply smell the scent of peppermint. Peppermint room sprays, oils and lotions will have an energizing effect, as well when put around your house or office.
7. Drink Water
This may be one of the simplest healthy ways to get energy that most of us don't even think about. We all need to consume a minimum of eight glasses of water daily to hydrate our bodies. If we are even a little dehydrated, our metabolism can slow down up to 3%! If you are at all dehydrated, it will also cause you to become sluggish. Try to make sure you are reaching your eight glasses of water goal daily in order to keep alert and energized without the help of caffeine! Also, try adding a small and zesty kick to your water by adding some lemon juice or lemon zest! The small zing can be enough to quickly revitalize your body while staying hydrated.
Using these healthy ways to get energy instead of turning to energy drinks or coffee, will have both your body and your wallet feeling much better! Easing off your caffeine fixation is a great way to feel better overall as well as not risk serious health issues if you consume too much. What is your favorite way to get an energy boost during the day?