Tuesday, January 7, 2014

10 Natural Alternatives to Energy Drinks

Almost every one of us is living in a fast lane and so are most of the Americans and we support this kind of lifestyle with no other than energy drinks.

According to Packaged Facts, a food and beverage market research firm, consumer demand for energy drinks increased 60 percent between 2008 and 2012. Sales of energy drinks and shots summed more than $12.5 billion in 2012 and Packaged Facts estimates this figure to boost to $21.5 billion by 2017.

Products who label themselves as the “energy” packaged drinks, shots, drink mixes and extra heavily caffeinated soft drinks. Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D., for the Mayo Clinic explains, most rely on large amounts of caffeine, along with sugar and other additives, to temporarily boost energy. The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) suggests “stimulant drink” is a more appropriate name for this class of beverages.

The USADA found tyrosine and phenylalanine, which may interfere with medication; kola nut and guarana, which are sources of caffeine; yohimbe while analyzing commonly used ingredients in energy drinks, which interacts with anti-depressants; and ma huang, which is a plant source of ephedra. Competitive athletes should focus more on to energy drink ingredients, warns the USADA, as banned stimulants may come out having some other name.

Depending on energy drinks for just a boost of energy is fine sometimes but taking these kinds of products has harmful effects on the body. Excessive caffeine can cause nervousness, irritability, insomnia, increased heartbeat and elevated blood pressure.

Plus, it can trigger more serious complications such as migraines, seizures and heart problems. Reported by Medical News Today, the number of people receiving emergency treatment as a result of consuming energy drinks increased from 10,068 in 2007 to 20,783 in 2011,

If regularly feel fatigued or tired, or maybe you have a problem with your low energy or you, identifying the cause can be helpful in identifying effective, natural strategies. “Usually when people are feeling the need for an energy boost, it is due to a low-blood sugar or dehydration,” says Mindy Black, a board-certified dietitian and exercise physiologist.

Blood sugars drop 3 to 4 hours after a meal or 30 to 45 minutes after a high-sugar snack.

“No matter how perfect their lunch may have been, blood sugars only remain stable for about three hours,” Black says. She recommends one of these energy-boosting combos rather than energy drink. The secret is to include lean protein with quality carbs.

•             Handful of almonds mixed with a handful of whole grain cereal
•             Beet juice with low-fat string cheese
•             A smoothie with yogurt, a few strawberries and a banana or a mandarin orange and handful of walnuts
•             Salmon and half a cup of quinoa or brown rice
•             A glass of chocolate milk

Another common cause of low energy is dehydration. “If we’re dehydrated, a lot of our organs and vital systems are slowing down, which can make us lethargic and tired,” Black says. “If you are not drinking enough hydration fluids, not sodas and alcohol or juice, to have clear or close to clear urine every 90 minutes, your energy drain may be due to dehydration.” The solution? Drink more water.

One typical reason why people feel tired is that they’ve depleted their glycogen stores.

“Perceived exertion and perception of fatigue are directly related to low glycogen stores,” says Barbara Lewin, RD, LD, sports nutritionist and owner of Sports-Nutritionist.com. “That translates into not taking in enough carbohydrates, especially before and after your workouts. This is the primary reason for athletes experiencing low energy levels. The best ways to boost your energy levels is to consume carbs throughout the day.”

Here are a few more natural energy boosters:

•             Snack on healthy carbohydrates, such as apples and oatmeal
•             Include foods containing iron, such as spinach, nuts, oysters and dark chocolate, in your diet
•             Drink cold water to increase energy for up to two hours
•             Take a quick 10-minute walk
•             Catch a 20-minute power nap

Although energy drinks offer a short-term solution to low energy, developing healthy habits such as getting enough sleep, eating wholesome foods every 3 to 4 hours and regular physical activity will keep you energized all day, every day.

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