With people living life on the go, the consumption of energy drinks is on the rise. In fact, studies have shown that 32% of people often reach for an energy drink after a workout to get their energy levels back up. However, relying on energy drinks for that short boost of energy can have a detrimental effect on your health. As such, below are five healthy alternatives to energy drinks.
One of the most common causes of fatigue is a lack of protein, especially after a workout. By consuming a nutrient-rich protein shake, you can increase your energy levels. However, just adding protein powder to water isn’t enough. For protein to convert to energy it requires carbohydrates. As such you should consider adding fruit and yogurt, milk or plant-based milk to your protein powder when making your protein shake. This will help you achieve and sustain the desired energy boost.
Increasing your metabolism helps to increase your energy levels. Spinach, kale and broccoli are all green vegetables that contain a significant amount of B vitamins. By increasing your B vitamin intake, your metabolism can run at peak performance, helping you to recover faster and giving you more energy. As such adding kale, spinach or even avocado to a regular smoothie can get your energy up. Additionally, many of the ingredients found in green smoothies, such as apple and kale also contain quercetin. Quercetin helps to increase mitochondria in your cells, which then leads to faster muscle and fatigue recovery.
Green tea is widely regarded as a superfood. This is due to its numerous health benefits, including a large number of antioxidants. A small part of the reason green tea can help give you the energy boost you want is due to its caffeine content. Even though it is much lower caffeine than coffee and typical energy drinks, it also contains L-theanine, which is an antioxidant that stimulates your brain. This combined with the minimal amount of caffeine helps to quickly increase your energy levels.
That’s right, chocolate specifically dark chocolate can help boost your energy levels. This is because dark chocolate contains caffeine, iron and antioxidants in the form of polyphenols. Cocoa polyphenols release nitric oxide, which allows for better blood flow by dilating your blood vessels. This process increases the release of oxygen and nutrients to your muscles helping you to feel less lethargic. For an extra boost consider dark chocolate milk, as it contains water to rehydrate and the carbs and proteins you need to regain that lost energy.
Glutamine is an amino acid that provides the body with the building blocks for proteins. Adding a glutamine supplement to your diet has two significant benefits. Firstly, it helps to increase your energy levels. Secondly, the amino acids help your muscles recover faster and can help decrease soreness after a hard workout. Glutamine can be consumed as a supplement and is available in powder and pill form. However, it is also naturally found in high protein foods such as tofu, eggs, milk, and meat products.
As you can see there are plenty of healthy alternatives to energy drinks for you to consume. You can also increase your energy levels by ensuring that you get enough sleep. However, if you need an energy boost first thing in the morning, before your workout, or after your workout, there are healthy options for all situations and tastes. Combining a few of the suggestions above is recommended to ensure you are consuming a variety of vitamins and minerals as part of your health journey.