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Did you know you can have a healthy, all natural energy drink as an alternative to your typical heavily caffeinated sugary stimulant drink (i.e. Red Bull)? When it comes to living a healthy balanced lifestyle, having high quality energy is a primary goal. However, quick fixes like the standard energy drink will not give you the most sustained energy that you need throughout the day. Thankfully, there are healthy energy drink alternatives to give you that much need energy boost.

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What’s in That Energy Drink?

Did you know that a 12 oz can of Red Bull contains 37 grams of sugar? So, why are energy drinks so popular these days? Perhaps, it is because we are desperate for energy. When our energy begins to diminish, we look for a quick fix. However, the typical energy drink might actually make you more restless than energized. Such energy drinks claim to provide you with a boost in both physical and mental stimulation. Yet, those effects might actually be short-lived. For instance, you might feel energized for an hour or two and then start to crash and feel worse than before you ingested the drink. There are excessive doses of caffeine and other stimulants in the drinks that basically amplify blood pressure and creates irritability and anxiety.

It’s All About Hydration

One reason people reach for energy drinks so often is because they are low in blood sugar (especially during the afternoon slump). Or, they are heavily dehydrated but dont know it. Dehydration, for instance, is more common than you may think. Our bodies are made up of over 50% of water. So, it would be wise to drink lots of water and keep ourselves balanced and hydrated, therefore attaining more stable energy. Active.com states that, “If we’re dehydrated, a lot of our organs and vital systems are slowing down, which can make us lethargic and tired.” Solution? Drink more water.

Good Ol’ Green Tea

Green tea contains lower doses of caffeine than standard energy drinks. Yet, it has many health benefits like lowering the risk of heart disease and cancer. Green tea is also known to improve productivity and mental clarity.

Green Smoothies to Go

A green smoothie is always a great way to start each morning, as it will naturally boost your energy levels and keep them lifted throughout the day. Blending in iron-rich greens such as spinach and kale (great sources of B vitamins) will help our metabolism run smoothly. Once our metabolism works smoothly, then our bodies will produce high quality long term energy at a faster rate. During the day, try these green smoothie combinations: strawberries, banana, greens (spinach, parsley, romaine), nuts (almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds), and perhaps some cacao as well.

Shake it Like a Protein Shake

Protein shakes are in! You usually drink a protein shake before or after workout, but they also make a good breakfast drink. They contain high amounts of protein and essential vitamins and minerals to keep you energized throughout the day. My current favorite brand is the Garden of Life RAW Organic Fit from vitacost.com. Not only will this protein enhance your overall diet, but encourage weight loss while building lean muscle. Entrepreneur.com states that, Lack of protein is a common cause of fatigue. A high quality protein shake can help your body reach its nutrient requirement. Protein requires carbohydrates to turn into an energy we can use. Add fruit, wheat germ or quinoa to your shake with 10 grams of protein. Protein can be from a powder, yogurt, milk or soy milk for a more sustainable energy boost.

There are many great healthy alternatives to the standard energy drinks. Stay hydrated. Drink green tea, green smoothies and protein shakes to boost energy. Before you open your next Red Bull, and give these natural energy drinks a try first.

Feature photo:
Marion Michele

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