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Healthy Alternatives to Energy Drinks

Published by monica on Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Photo credit by mat.teo

Everyone needs an energy boost from time to time. Surprisingly, energy drinks like Red Bull and Rockstar may not be the most efficient way to perk yourself up. The sugar in energy drinks can give you a quick boost, but then you will have a sugar crash later on and feel worse than you did initially. The caffeine dose in an average energy drink is much larger than you really need. Instead of slamming an energy drink the next time you are in a slump, try one of these options instead:

1. Water - It sounds impossible, but water can actually make you feel more alert than an energy drink. Sometimes what you perceive as tiredness is actually dehydration. I had a friend in college who got addicted to caffeine, and forced himself to quit cold turkey. Once he had stopped craving caffeine, he only drank water, and swore to me that drinking a glass of water made him feel as alert as coffee used to.

2. Juice - If your blood sugar is low, this may cause you to feel tired. Rather than relying on sugary energy drinks or soda, drink something with naturally occurring sugars such as orange juice or pineapple juice. You will get a natural sugar rush along with a dose of vitamins.

3. Green or Black Tea - If you still feel like you need a caffeine boost, try green or black tea. It will give you a gentler caffeine boost that will make you feel alert without feeling jacked out of your head. Tea also has antioxidants, and green tea in particular contains a chemical that can boost your metabolism and aid you in weight loss.

4. Caffeinated Gum - If you have a sweet tooth, but can't spare any extra calories on sweetened drinks, you can get your caffeine from a low-calorie gum. Brand names include Jolt, Black Black, and Blitz.

5. Magnesium - Magnesium is a mineral that your body needs for all essential processes, and not getting enough in your diet can lead you to feel groggy or run down. Try snacking on almonds or taking a supplement to make sure you are getting the recommended amount of magnesium.

6. Have a Snack - You might think you need a drink to perk you up, but what you really might need is a snack. Try something with both whole grains and protein, like peanut butter on toast or hummus on crackers.

Additionally, make sure you keep a regular sleep schedule, and don't skip meals. If you find that you are constantly tired, try cutting back on alcohol and fatty foods. Taking a 30 minute walk each day can also help get your blood flowing and invigorate you. If you find you are constantly tired for weeks at a time, visit your doctor and get checked for mono and for any possible hormonal or thyroid conditions.

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