It is not uncommon practice for people to lean on caffeine to get through their workdays; after all, the energy boost provided by a strong cup of coffee or a frosty can of energy drink is typically enough to sustain a person for those last few grueling hours in the office.
However, relying too much on caffeine is not the most sound approach to bolstering your energy levels. According to the Harvard Health Blog, excessive coffee consumption can lead to sleep problems and increased blood pressure and is considered a contributing cause of heart arrhythmias and bone loss. For a more balanced approach, consider reaching for one of the following the next time you need a quick pick-me-up.
While there may be some debate as to whether eight daily glasses is the magic number when it comes to water, there can be no doubt that consumption is imperative to functioning on a daily basis. Whether your job requires that you be sedentary for long stretches of time or pace around hallways from meeting to meeting, drinking water with regularity will help you maintain poise and focus. The Harvard Healthbeat writes that fatigue is typically the first symptom of dehydration, so once you begin to feel drained, get up and go fill up your bottle at the water fountain.
Reader’s Digest adds that including a slice of lemon into your water adds energy-producing electrolytes without ever needing to purchase an energy drink with artificial flavors. If you need a bit of variety, consider flavoring your water naturally with ingredients such as cucumber, mint and ginger.
If you have to interact with co-workers regularly, you probably already have gum handy just to ward off the horrors of coffee breath. But according to Prevention.com, a 2012 study found that people who chewed a piece of gum for 15 minutes were more alert than those without gum. According to fatigue expert Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, the unmistakable sensation of mint acts “like splashing cold water on your face,” providing a quick jolt of alertness.
For as much as some fad diets might paint all carbs as being counterproductive for good health, the very purpose of carbohydrates is to supply energy for the body and raise serotonin and blood sugar levels without spikes and crashes. WebMD.com recommends whole grains as a sound source of carbs in particular, recommending whole-wheat bread, brown rice and cereal as good sources for consistent energy gains. To get the most benefits from these carbohydrates, eat them as early as possible; in a balanced diet, spreading most of your carbs out over the morning and early part of the day allows you to sustain yourself into the afternoon.
Like carbohydrates, fats tend to get a bad rap when it comes to dieting. Like carbs, not all fats are created equal; the monounsaturated fats found in almonds, walnuts and cashews are actually beneficial for heart health. These healthy fat-rich snacks are also high in magnesium, which WebMD.com notes is essential to converting sugar into energy, helping you generate energy and stave off unwanted weight gain all at the same time.
The next time you begin to feel the mid-afternoon drag, don’t reach for another cup of coffee. Try any one of the aforementioned snacks instead and you will find yourself enjoying the same lift without the unwanted crash.
This article is presented by Kundert Volvo in Hasbrouck Heights and Englewood, NJ.