8 Healthy Alternatives to Energy Drinks (Slideshow)
Yerba mate is a South American plant with leaves that are commonly dried and made into tea called mate (pronounced MAH-tay). A cup of this rich-tasting tea has 85 grams of caffeine, almost the same as coffee — but unlike coffee, mate is also a great source of antioxidants that may help prevent disease.
Okay, before you say there’s no way you’re drinking something made from fermented rye and beets, hear us out. The carbohydrates found in rye will give you a slow and steady release of energy throughout the day, and beets are a wonderful source of both iron and potassium, which work to fight fatigue. In Tolstoy’s War and Peace soldiers drank kvass after fighting on the battlefield, and you know what they say: if it’s good enough for Tolstoy…
If you’re feeling cloudy-headed and fatigued, the problem could be a lack of iron. Studies have shown that low iron levels can lead to headaches and exhaustion. Instead of reaching for an energy drink to feel normal again, why not have a smoothie packed with iron-rich fruits and veggies like spinach, kale, strawberries, and watermelon? Don’t let the weird combinations scare you; soon you’ll be feeling so great you’ll crave green smoothies over energy drinks.
If you’re feeling zapped of energy, you could just be dehydrated. Without water, the blood thickens, causing the heart to pump harder to circulate blood. The extra energy your body exerts moving all that blood around causes fatigue. Stay hydrated and stay alert.
Like most tea, green tea has caffeine, but in addition, it contains theobromine, which is a stimulant that increases circulation. A cup of green tea in the afternoon will leave both body and mind feeling alert without making you feel jittery or anxious.
We’ve already explained how dehydration can leave you feeling spent, and coconut water is a fantastic, low-calorie way to stay hydrated. Additionally, coconut water is high in potassium, which can also help you feel less drained around midday.
Drink your Bs! B vitamins, especially B1, are essential for cell production and the conversion of carbohydrates to energy. Citrus fruits like pineapple and grapefruit are great sources of B1, as are guava and mango. Fresh squeezed juice makes a fine pick-me-up, just make sure there’s no added sugar or you’ll find yourself crashing.