Energy Drink Alternatives

March 01, 2012

You see them everywhere, small bottles of 'energy boosters' that claim to help you keep sharp and active.  But did you know most energy drinks contain large amounts of caffeine or sugar? They can provide a temporary energy boost, but the boost is short-lived, and can cause unforeseen problems. Energy drinks that contain sugar may contribute to weight gain, and those containing caffeine can lead to nervousness, insomnia and irritability -- eventually leading more serious conditions, such as a rapid heart beat or increased blood pressure. Before your reach for that energy drink you might want to consider a healthier way to boost your energy!
  • Start with breakfast. We've heard it a thousand times, and it's true. A good breakfast gets your metabolism going, helps keep you alert and energized until lunch and is a great beginning for a day of healthy eating. Go for fresh fruit, whole grain hot or cold cereal, or whole grain bread with nut butter. Try Peter's terrific oatmeal pancakes!
  • Eat nutrient-rich food. Your metabolism needs good fuel to convert minerals and vitamins into energy. A lack of nutrients can slow down metabolism, which can make you feel tired or listless. Look for food that offers a high nutrition per calorie ratio such as vegetables, beans, nuts, fruits, whole grains, with occasional lean animal proteins. Keep away from refined, fried and fatty foods, sweets and desserts that contain high calories and minimal nutritional value.
  • Eat food high in antioxidants. Antioxidants rid the body of damaging chemicals that can lead to fatigue and illness. You can find these protective antioxidants in fruits, vegetables, and other plant-based foods. Savor your antioxidants with fruits like berries and melons and dark green leafy vegetables like broccoli, collard greens, and spinach.
  • Don't forget omega 3s. Diets high in omega 3 fats improve mood, memory, and the thought process -- all related to focus and energy. Be sure to include at least one source of omega-3 fats in your daily nutritional regimen. Good sources for omega 3s include fish, flax seeds, flax oil,  hemp oil or seeds, leafy greens, and walnuts.
  • Snack. Snacking or eating small meals throughout the day can help maintain your blood sugar level and energy level! The important thing is to go for healthy snacks. Try a handful of nuts and dried fruit,  baby carrots with hummus, baked whole-grain chips with fresh salsa, or apple slices with yogurt or almond butter dip.
  • Drink Water. That first drink of water in the morning jump-starts your metabolism and water help keep it going all day long. The body needs water, and lots of it. Keep a fresh and ready source of water close by, and sip at least 1 cup every 2 hours.
It all comes down to the basic three: get enough sleep, stick to your fitness program and eat a healthy diet.  There are energy drains are all around us, protect yourself and you can overcome them all!

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