The evidence against consuming energy drinks is mounting – and for good reason. As sports cardiologist Dr. John Higgins puts it: “We have a situation of something potentially dangerous that is freely available. The entire culture has to change until we know what’s going on.” Higgins recent studies into the adverse effects of energy drinks were actually the basis of the American College of Sports Medicine’s updated energy drinks warning…
In 2010 and 2017, Higgins published eye-opening research about energy drink consumption in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings and World Journal of Cardiology. In the first paper, numerous studies revealed that energy drinks could result in elevated blood pressure, increased heart rate, seizures, stroke, cardiac arrest and, in some extreme cases, death. The 2017 study also found that after consuming a single energy, it negatively impacted patients’ blood cells, which resulted in endothelial dysfunction (i.e., a reduction in artery strength).
A 2015 web-based survey published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found out of 2,055 young Canadians, 55.4 percent experienced adverse health effects after consuming an energy drink.
- 24.7% experienced rapid heartbeat
- 24.1% experienced sleeping difficulties
- 18.3% experienced headaches
- 5.1% experienced nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
- 3.6% experienced chest pains
- 0.2% experienced seizures
Another study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, researchers found that, contrary to popular belief, caffeine is not always the root of the problem when it comes to energy drinks! When participants consumed a caffeinated beverage, blood pressure spike 1 point, whereas it spiked 5 points after consuming an energy drink. This is likely do to the cocktail of stimulants and other additives.
“You read the label and it’ll say 50 to 100 mg of caffeine,” said Dr. Robert Lapus, an emergency medicine physician. “But I think it’s the other ingredients in there that are almost like caffeine—the guarana, the ginseng, the taurine—which we can’t really put an amount to or know exactly what they do.”
Thankfully, there are many ways we can boost our energy throughout the day without relying on energy drinks such as Monster or Red Bull. Opting for sugar laden, chemical and caffeine-filled drinks will only give us a short, unnatural burst of energy, wearing down our adrenal glands and contributing to serious long-term health problems.
Natural (And Delicious) Alternatives to Energy Drinks
So instead of reaching for that can of Red Bull or Coca-Cola, why not give your body a natural energy boost with these delicious pick-me-ups. They’ll have you powering through your day without an energy crash!
1. Matcha Green Tea
Matcha is made from green tea leaves that contain L-Theanine and a small amount of naturally occurring caffeine (less than coffee!), both providing energy-boosting effects.
It helps to invigorate your metabolism gently lifting you without any energy slumps!
How to make it: Combine 1 cup of water, 1 teaspoon of organic pure maple syrup and 2 teaspoons of matcha powder. Mix well and enjoy hot or cold.
2. Coco-Hydro Smoothie
Coconut water and bananas contain high amounts of potassium to help regulate and maintain healthy cells and their natural production of energy.
How to make it: Blend ½ cup coconut water, ½ cup nut milk, ½ a ripe banana and ½ an orange.
3. Berry Fresh Juice
Berries are rich in fiber which helps to slowly release the energy from their natural sugars. The lime adds a zesty tang to boost the berries pep up power.
How to make it: Blend 1 cup water, 1 cup mixed berries, and the juice of 1 lime.
4. Iced Green Chia Tea
Green tea gently energizes whilst chia is rich in protein and healthy omega-3 fats giving you long lasting energy. The honey adds a dash of sweetness and gives an extra energy kick.
How to make it: Mix 1 cup green tea, 1 tablespoon of chia seeds and 1 teaspoon of honey.
Psst! If you’re not sure what’s up with the chia seeds, watch this video:
5. Spicy Warmer
If you’re after a warm beverage to energize without the caffeine, then this is it! Packed with soothing, anti-inflammatory spices it nourishes your insides at the same time.
How to make it: Simmer 2 cups of hot water in a small pan. Add 1 inch of fresh ginger, sliced. Then ¼ teaspoon of turmeric, 1 ½ teaspoon of honey, and ¼ teaspoon of ground cardamom. Serve in your favorite cup with a slice or two of lemon!
6. Green Machine
Green vegetables are rich in chlorophyll that oxygenates the blood. Oxygenated blood helps to increase your energy levels and make your brain sharper!
How to make it: Juice 2 small cucumbers, 1 celery stalk, ¼ cup of kale leaves, ¼ cup of spinach, 1 tablespoon of parsley, and juice of ½ a lemon. Serve with crushed ice.
7. Protein Power Up
Enjoy a glass of this to start your day and you’ll be powered up for the whole morning! Protein, healthy fats and slow-releasing sugars combine to give you a sustained energy release, whilst the greens boost your chlorophyll intake, oxygenating your cells.
How to make it: Combine ½ a banana, 1 tablespoon almond butter, 1 tablespoon of vegan protein powder, ½ cup of chopped kale, ¼ cup coconut yogurt, ½ tablespoon flax seeds, ½ tablespoon hemp seeds, and ¾ cup of nut or coconut milk.
8. Beet The 3pm Slump
Beets are rich in nitrates which helps to reduce the amount of oxygen needed by blood vessels and muscles to function. Nitrates are converted to nitric oxide in the body which helps to reduce blood pressure by widening the blood vessels, allowing oxygen to flow easily. The combination of energy boosting beetroot, zesty lemon and apple will have you powering through the afternoon!
How to make it: Juice 1 small beetroot, 1 apple, 1 lemon, 2 celery stalks, and 1 handful of spinach. Serve with ice.
9. Super Shot
This tart shot of energy is sure to wake you up! It’s also a potent detoxifying beverage, cleansing your liver, kidney and bowels. Get ready to be buzzing!
How to make it: Combine 4 ounces of cranberry juice, 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, and the juice of half a lemon. If that’s too strong, add 4 ounces of water. Chase with more water if needed.
Support your body’s natural ability to give you energy throughout the day with these delicious drinks and feel alive all day long!
Do you have a natural energy drink of your own? Let us know in the comments below!
This article is shared with permission from our friends at foodmatters.tv with an Editor’s Note at the beginning.
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