We are a society that loves our caffeine! Many of us can't function in the morning without at least one cup of coffee. Feel your energy dip in the afternoon? Time for another cup of coffee.
There is no doubt about it, caffeine is an easy way to give your body a little boost and help you feel more productive and energized. However, that energy is short lived and may be creating more trouble for you in the long run.
Ingested stimulants, like caffeine, increase your body's stress response, putting a strain on your heart. It pauses the receptor that provides the feedback needed to avoid overstimulation of nerve cells.
If you consume too much caffeine, the body will continue to speed up which frays the nerves and can leave you feeling a little wound up. When you come back "down" from this excessive stimulation, you will feel more wiped out than you did before you drank that extra cup.
Caffeine also has an addictive property. Have you ever tried to quit caffeine cold turkey? It isn't pretty.
Caffeine withdrawals can include:
- mood swings
Like most addictive substances, your body builds a tolerance over time meaning you need stronger coffee (or more of it) to get the same energy lift you had in the past!
While it isn't necessary to give up your favorite caffeinated drinks completely, there are things you can do that will provide you with healthier, more sustainable energy. A few little diet tweaks and you're set!
5 Healthy Energy Boosting Alternatives!
Eat carbs and protein at breakfast
Breakfast is an important meal for getting your body ready for the day. It helps get your metabolism going while providing the cells in your body with the energy they need to do their job. The best plan is to eat a breakfast that includes protein, carbs, and some healthy fats. This combination will power you right through the morning!
Eat low GI foods
GI stands for glycemic index and it is used to measure the effect certain foods have on your blood glucose levels. Foods that rank low on the glycemic index will release their energy slowly so you don't get that horrible sugar crash right after eating. Some foods that are considered low GI include: apples, pears, brown rice, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, broccoli, and milk.
Eat less food, more often
If you find yourself lagging during the day, switch things up. Take a pass on three large meals a day and aim for 4-6 smaller ones. When you eat big meals, your digestive system has to work harder to process the food. This is where your body's energy goes and you are left feeling like you need a nap. When you eat smaller meals, your system is less taxed. This means you can get the energy you need from your food without overworking your system.
Get your vitamin B
There is an entire array of B vitamins that play an essential role in helping your body absorb and convert food into energy. Make sure you are eating a diet that is rich in a variety of these essential nutrients. Eat foods like broccoli, asparagus, spinach, lentils, and parsley. For clever and tasty ways to work these (and other nutrient rich foods) into your diet, check out the BodyRock Meal Plan
When you need energy NOW
When you want a quick pick me up but want to avoid the post-coffee crash, grab a banana or an apple. These guys will give you the quick hit you need without making you feel like grabbing a blanket and hiding out under your desk for a little shut eye!
How do you satisfy your energy needs? Share your tips with us, we love to hear from you!