If you’re looking for safe and effective alternatives to caffeine, forget so-called herbal energisers like guarana, kola nut, yerba mate and ma huang (ephedra). They are nothing more than plant sources of caffeine and other stimulant drugs. They stimulate your central nervous system, resulting in adrenal stress — which in the end, harms you.
Avoid energy drinks too as most have caffeine.
Here are some safe alternatives.
> PLAIN WATER. Our body is about two-thirds water. We need water to sustain our body’s many vital chemical reactions and maintain correct body temperature.
Water also rehydrates you because during a workout for example, water is lost as perspiration (and expired air), and this can lead to dehydration if fluids are not replaced.
Dehydration can cause ageing. It also slows down your metabolism; even mild dehydration will slow down your metabolism by as much as 3%.
Water also helps to flush out free radicals that cause damage to the body’s cells. Free radicals increase dramatically when you’re dehydrated.
Another plus: Drinking water before and during physical activity can enhance your athletic performance.
Here are some facts on water you should know :
> Lack of water is a main trigger of daytime fatigue.
> Preliminary research indicates that 8-10 glasses of water a day could significantly ease back and joint pain for up to 80% of sufferers. Taking just 16 ounces of water can stop an allergic reaction, a sinus headache, and an asthma attack.
> A mere 2% drop in body water can trigger fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math, and difficulty focussing on the computer screen or on a printed page.
> 8-10 glasses of water is recommended. But DON’T OVERDO it. Drinking too much water (2 gallons a day) washes away your body’s electrolytes and this can lead to coma and death.
> FRUITS AND NUTS. These are high in boron, a trace mineral that helps to improve mental alertness. Boron increases electrical activity in the brain and helps combat drowsiness. Boron is found in apples, pears, peaches and grapes. It is also in nuts and leafy vegetables
> PURE VEGETABLE JUICE. Vegetable juices are like a blood transfusion. They are quickly absorbed so the nutrition is in your bloodstream within 15 minutes of consumption — without the time-consuming and energy-depleting process of digestion.
> GARLIC AND CHILLI PEPPERS. Garlic is a natural mood elevator. Research shows it reduces fatigue, anxiety, sensitivity, agitation and irritability. Chilli peppers contain capsaicin that induces in the brain a rush of endorphins (the body’s feel-good hormone) that gives you a temporary high.
> EXERCISE. This is a great way to become energetic. It gives you big boosts of energy, revs you up and makes you feel good. People who exercise regularly do not need artificial stimulants because they are in touch with the stimulation of life itself.
Other energy-boosting Tips
Instead of reaching for another Coke or Pepsi, try these non-caffeinated strategies to maintain good energy levels:
> Get a good night’s sleep. If you are tired during the day, take a short nap.
> Take a brisk 10-minute walk.
> Eat regular, healthful meals. Avoid fatty foods and alcohol — they make you feel “draggy”.
> Try not to skip or delay meals. And avoid eating very large meals — digesting a large meal uses more energy and can make you want a nap.
Excerpted from CAP GUIDE: How toxic is your cup of coffee. Available here: