7 Alternatives to Energy Drinks
Author: Jillian Foster
Energy drinks have become very popular in recent years and they are easily available for people to grab when they feel like they need a pick me up. Unfortunately most energy drinks are not great for overall health and wellbeing. Many contain a high level of caffeine that can cause palpitations, high blood pressure and gastrointestinal upsets. The high sugar content can contribute to obesity and is detrimental to dental health. The World Health Organization (WHO) has expressed concerns over the consumption of energy drinks and in 2014 a team of WHO researchers warned an increased consumption of energy drinks may pose danger to public health, especially among young people.
With that in mind we have put together our list of 7 alternatives to energy drinks to give you a natural energy buzz.
This traditional tea provides many health benefits in one cup including an energy boost. Whilst green tea does contain some caffeine known to help with fatigue, it also contains an amino acid called L-theanine that helps slow down the absorption of caffeine, allowing a more sustained release of energy over time. This combination of caffeine and L-theanine also help boost brain power, whilst other compounds called catechins are known to have a protective effect on the brain. Green tea is rich in antioxidants that can protect cells from free radical damage that can be caused by a busy and stressful lifestyle.
An ancient fermented tea beverage, kombucha is slightly fizzy and sweet making it an ideal replacement for energy drinks. The fermentation process produces probiotics which are great for digestion, gut health and the immune system. It is rich in B-vitamins to provide energy and support cognitive function. As it is made with tea it contains a small amount of caffeine as well as all the antioxidant benefits that come with tea consumption.
Dehydration can often cause a slump in energy and ongoing fatigue. Whilst drinking more water can be enough to perk you up, you might also need to replenish your electrolytes. This can have a positive impact on cellular health which can improve your energy and concentration. There are a number of different electrolyte formulas available, choose one to suit your taste preferences.
Getting adequate protein each day is necessary to maintain muscle health, help brain function, stabilise blood sugar, aid cell renewal, support liver regeneration and meet your energy needs. Consuming a protein shake using either grass fed whey protein or a plant-based protein powder can give you a little perk to help you power through your day.
Maca root powder
Maca is a plant native to Peru, where the root is used traditionally to increase libido and fertility. Maca root has an impressive nutrient profile, boasting particularly high levels of vitamin C amongst other vitamins, minerals and amino acids. Whilst studies on the purported benefits of maca are still lacking, there is some research to show it can help improve memory and learning, boost sports performance and energy and improve mental wellbeing. You can use maca powder in a variety of ways such as adding it into your smoothie or protein shake or cooking with it in cakes or porridge.
B complex vitamins encompass thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6), biotin (B7), folic acid (B9), and cobalamin (B12). Whilst they all play a role individually in the body, collectively they assist each other during various enzymatic and metabolic processes making it ideal to take them together. B vitamins are involved in energy production in the body and are also known to improve mood and support cognition and memory. We suggest taking your b-vitamins with either breakfast or lunch to get your daily energy boost.
Rhodiola & Ginseng
Try out some adaptogenic herbs to help give you a lift each day. Adaptogens help the body adapt to or cope with stress. Rhodiola has been used in athletes in Russia to improve energy and stamina and newer research has shown its benefits in people experiencing acute stress. Ginseng, either as Siberian ginseng or Korean ginseng can also give you a boost. Both have been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to aid vitality, support energy levels and to reduce mental fatigue. You can get these herbal medicines in the form of a tablet, powder or liquid herbal extract.
Why not try our Energy Boosting Smoothie for the perfect afternoon pick-me-up!
Energy Boosting Smoothie:
150mL Coconut water
150mL Milk (of your choice)
1 scoop Protein powder (of your choice)
1 tbsp. Maca root powder
1 tbsp. Cacao powder
Blend all the ingredients together with ½ cup of ice and enjoy!
|Written by Jillian Foster|
Jillian (BHSc Naturopathy) is a qualified naturopath who believes through a healthy and balanced diet and lifestyle, we have the power to influence our health and the health of future generations. With a passion for herbal medicine, Jillian loves helping people find the right solution for their health needs and educating people on how they can lead a healthy and happy life.
Jillian enjoys keeping active with her two young children and baking them delicious and healthy treats.