Late last year, a 14-year-old Maryland girl died of a caffeine-induced heart attack after drinking two cans of a popular energy drink. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), this wasn’t an isolated incident. The FDA has record of at least four additional deaths and one nonfatal heart attack linked to this energy drink.
The high levels of caffeine found in these drinks combined with other stimulants have been known to cause heart palpitations, seizures, strokes and sudden death. Is a little energy boost worth the risk of a stroke? I certainly don’t think so. That’s why I steer clear of these “energy boosters,” and opt for safer sources of energy. Here are some of my favorites.
- Coffee – Some research shows that coffee drinkers may have a reduced risk for type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s and dementia. Just try to keep it to one cup per day if you want to avoid any undesirable side effects, such as anxiety, agitation or insomnia.
- Green Tea – This tea has been studied for over a decade for its health benefits. It is loaded with antioxidants and has a little caffeine too. I’ve found that with green tea, energy tends to develop over time instead of in one short burst.
- Wheatgrass Juice – Many health enthusiasts wouldn’t start their day without a shot of wheatgrass juice. It’s like a liquid shot of vitamins, minerals and essential nutrients. You may not love the taste, but it may supercharge your energy and leave you nourished at the same time. If you think it’s really awful, try adding it to juice or watering it down. Avoid this drink if you have wheat or grass allergies.
- Pomegranate Juice – Pomegranates are packed with antioxidants and energizers. Drink it on its own or blend it with other ingredients to make a fruit smoothie. Doesn’t that sound like a great way to start your day?
- Green Smoothies – Green smoothies are all the rage these days, and this is one bandwagon I would recommend jumping on. It’s a great way to introduce more greens into your diet and energize your cells. There are no rules; just grab some green goodness and toss it in blender with some water, lemon or lime juice and a fruit or two (bananas and apples work well). The fruit will mask the flavor of even the strongest greens (think spinach). For an added energy punch, throw in a shot of wheat grass juice.
And, if all else fails, there’s always chocolate. Chocolate contains two compounds, theobromine and theophylline, that are believed to have a stimulating effect on the body and mind.