An Alternative to Caffeine
February 27, 2017
Long days and little sleep: this combination leads to a reliance on the quick fix of caffeine. While the immediate boost is much needed in some situations, it quickly wears off and leaves one back in the hands of fatigue. Overall, caffeine does not restore energy or ward off emotional fatigue. The only solutions to replenishing energy and preventing fatigue are food and sleep. A longer-term option to combating weariness lies in our diets.
Including healthy, nutrient-rich foods in your diet will leave you energized and less likely to grab a coffee. The cliché term, “you are what you eat,” holds a great deal of truth. If you feed yourself food that is high in nutrients, you won’t suffer poor performance and will have more energy throughout the day.
Another important factor to consider is when you eat. Your body is similar to a car in terms of fuel. A car not only needs the correct fuel, it needs this fuel at the right time. When the tank is full of the correct fuel, the car operates properly. If the body isn’t given the required nutrients at the right time, it begins to break down muscle in order to generate energy. In addition, a balanced diet will help maintain energy throughout the day. According to the USDA, a well balanced diet consists of dairy, grains, vegetables, protein, and fruits. Including foods from these five groups results in feeling more energized.
Not only are caffeine’s stimulating effects short-term, but they also have been proven to have negative side effects. Caffeine consumption has been linked to insomnia, irritability, muscle tumors, nervousness, increased heart rate, stomach pain, and restlessness. As a whole, the population has become dependent on caffeine. According to the International Coffee Organization, around 1.6 billion cups of coffee are consumed around the world each day.
There are multiple solutions to staying energized. Here are some healthier options to help you maintain concentration and replace caffeine.
Fish is an excellent substitute for fattier meats such as beef and pork. In addition, fish is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which the body uses for energy and as building blocks for tissue and muscle. Besides taking the place of other meats, fish is also low-fat and full of protein.
Walnuts are a great source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and have the highest concentration of omega-3 of any nut. Therefore, walnuts are a great energy builder. Like most nuts, walnuts are multipurpose and can consumed by themselves or added to any salad, dessert, fruit, or vegetable dish.
Eggs are packed full of vitamins, minerals, good fats, and high-quality proteins. In addition, eggs contain high levels of choline, a crucial nutrient that falls into the category of B vitamins, that play an important role in metabolism and in the central nervous system. These nutrients contribute to energy in many ways and make eggs a staple food item.
Beans are B-vitamin rich. This vitamin is crucial to converting food to energy and keeping the body energized throughout the day thus making beans an excellent source of energy. In addition, beans are full of protein and high in complex carbohydrates. This option is also heart healthy due to the high levels of soluble fiber.