With busy schedules and long days, it’s no wonder we live in a caffeine-addicted society. Whether you’re filling up your coffee cup in the morning, getting a lunchtime soda out of the vending machine or stopping to pick up an energy drink from the gas station, it can often feel like desperate times call for desperate measures. However, not all caffeinated beverages are treated equal and recent research shows energy drinks may be even more harmful to your health than experts thought.
A new study revealed that the blend of caffeine, herbal stimulants and sugar that compose most energy drinks causes changes in the heart's electrical system. These changes can cause an abnormal and potentially dangerous heart rhythm. Not only that, the combination of ingredients has the potential to cause a longer-lasting increase in blood pressure than if you had just consumed caffeine without additional stimulants.
So, how much is too much? Some research recommends adolescents limit their consumption to eight ounces per day and the Mayo Clinic cautions adults not to consume more than 16 ounces per day. However, while the occasional energy drink likely won’t cause any long-term health effects, it’s important to understand the risks.
For instance, drinking energy drinks regularly can lead to:
- Weight gain, thanks to high amounts of sugar
- Energy crash, once the temporary boost wears off
- Insomnia, if consumed too regularly or too late in the day
- Increased heart rate, if consumed in high quantities
- Increased blood pressure, if consumed too frequently
Luckily, if you’re interested in breaking your energy drink habit, there are several natural and healthy alternatives to getting more energy.
5 Ways to Boost Your Energy That Don’t Involve Drinking Energy Drinks
1. Get More Sleep
It may sound simple, but making an effort to get adequate sleep is the single best way to have more energy throughout the day.
2. Clean Up Your Diet
What you eat can have a big impact on your energy levels throughout the day. Try to eat less processed food and more fruits and vegetables and see how it makes you feel.
Even though it may seem like you’re adding more hard work into your day, a consistent exercise routine can actually leave you feeling more energized overall.
4. Drink Coffee
While you also shouldn’t overdo it with this caffeinated beverage, coffee is a much more natural source of caffeine than energy drinks.
5. Say No
If you find yourself needing more and more energy, take a look at your schedule and see if you can prioritize differently. Sometimes, saying no to an opportunity in favor of more rest is the best choice for your body.
Want to learn more about making healthy eating and drinking choices for your body? Download our free guide: “5 Steps to Healthy Eating.”