Ninety per cent of North Americans consume caffeine every day. In a lot of cases they get their caffeine through coffee. It is a quick and easy way to get an energy buzz, but it may not be the best way. There are healthier ways to keep you alert and ready for whatever task you want to tackle.
One cup of coffee has about 125 to 150 milligrams of caffeine in it. Both nutritionists and dieticians say caffeine consumption should be limited to anywhere from 200 to 300 milligrams a day. In moderate amounts, coffee doesn’t cause any ill effects; however, in excess it can create a long list of health complications. Below is a list of possible effects:
• Blocking of medications
• Constriction of blood vessels
• Sluggish sperm and inability to conceive
• Damage to teeth
• Altering of blood pressure
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The food industry responded to the outcry over these concerns with energy drinks, but this so called health trend has also been put under the microscope. Many energy drinks have as much as 280 milligrams of caffeine in one serving. They are also packed with sugar. Studies show they lead to hyperactivity, difficulty concentrating, as well as sleep problems.
While there is some scientific evidence that a cup of coffee a day has antioxidant benefits, in the long-run medical researchers believe that developing a new health trend with simple foods will have staying power.
Health Trends for Energy
Fruits and Vegetables are high in vitamins and minerals. Greens are said to be extremely high in nutritional value because they provide added iron and thus energy. Today nutritional studies support the “Green Smoothie” as a healthy way to get a buzz. A “Green Smoothie” consists of a combination of fruits and green vegetables. You can hear the humming of blenders in campus dorms across America as students cramming for exams make batches of smoothies in an effort to boost their energy levels. Students have reported that over-consumption of coffee gives them jitters; leads to sleep problems, which make it difficult for them to focus on their studies.
Consumers young and old are encouraged to include fresh and dried fruits in their diets, along with lots of vegetables, low-fat yogurt and whole grains to maintain a good energy level.
The Chinese have long called it “Nature’s greatest gift”; now more western medical professionals are starting to see the benefits in ginseng. Preliminary findings indicate that it can boost mental and physical vitality. Today it is the most popular herb in the United States. Ginseng is available in powder, capsules and in root form. Ginseng tea has become a popular seller in North American health food markets.
Just like coffee, the consumption of tea in large amounts has been discouraged by doctors, but recent research shows that green tea may help boost energy without invading your body with high levels of caffeine. Green tea generally has about 25 to 30 milligrams of caffeine and an amino acid called theanine. Studies show theanine along with small amounts of caffeine improve alertness and cognitive performance. Several theanine studies have been published in the journal, Nutritional Neuroscience.
Wheatgrass drinks have become a big health trend lately. Physicians admit that wheatgrass contains a lot of nutrients that provide energy. They do caution that it should not be used as a replacement for your daily intake of vegetables. If you have an allergy to wheat or grass you should consult your doctor before trying it. Wheatgrass drinks can have a strong grassy taste that some people don’t like. For those people there is the option of adding it to a smoothie or tea, as well there are wheatgrass tablets or capsules.
Whatever option you go with to get your buzz, make sure it isn’t something that will interfere with any medications or supplements you are currently taking. If in doubt…consult a doctor.