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Feeling Sleepy? Try a Few of Nature's Energy Boosters

6/16/2011 12:24:12 PM

Tags: Justine Patton, Energy Boosters, Energy Drink, Coffee, Siberian Ginseng, Green Tea, Astragalus, Healthy Choices, Caffeine

J.PattonLet’s face it: We all lead busy lives and every now and then, we need a little pick-me-up. There are many products on today’s market promising to “boost energy” with no crash later on. However, these energy drinks contain massive amounts of sugar and ingredients that I, for one, have never even heard of, which isn’t exactly a comforting thought as you guzzle it down. So, next time you feel a yawn coming on, turn to one of nature’s energy boosters.

Coffee adds more than just a little extra pizzazz to your day.
Photo by antwerpenR/Courtesy

Coffee: The cup of joe often gets a bad rap, because of all the calories some java drinks contain. It’s true that some drinks from places like Starbucks contain at least 500 calories and very little health benefits. But don’t give up those cappuccinos just yet. Many coffee shops, including Starbucks, are now offering “skinny” drinks, with fewer calories but the same energy-boosting ingredients. Also, if you brew it at home, you have an even better chance of avoiding excess calories and simply taking advantage of its benefits.

Benefits, you ask? Yes, benefits. According to the folks at WebMD coffee drinkers are less at risk for type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and dementia. Also, studies have shown that there are fewer cases of certain cancers and heart rhythm problems among coffee enthusiasts as well. A cup of black coffee contains only six calories and packs 200 milligrams of caffeine.

Siberian ginseng can help a wandering mind and droopy eyelids at the same time.
Photo by Tony Rodd/Courtesy

Siberian ginseng: This herb is great for those days when you’re feeling a little under the weather. It is used in China to promote strength, energy and longevity. According to the Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine, it treats fatigue and difficulty concentrating. A Russian physician documented Siberian ginseng as an adaptogen, which means it helps the immune system function, aids the body in adapting to stress, and improves balance as well. It is available as a fresh root, a dried root powder, in tablet form, or as a tea.

Green tea can energize its drinkers, but may also prevent future health problems.
Photo by Dano/Courtesy

Green tea: Green tea may help you avoid taking that afternoon nap, and it helps your body in other ways as well. The drink is full of antioxidants that can help lower cholesterol. In addition, studies have shown that it increases energy levels and promotes fat oxidation. So, not only will it put a little pep in your step, but it could also help aid in weight control. And there’s more: Studies have shown that green tea may actually help inhibit the growth of existing cancer cells. While those studies are in the preliminary stages, it’s safe to say that a steaming cup of green tea will do the body good.

Astragalus is available in many different forms to fit your everyday needs.
Photo by Rahel Sharon/Courtesy

Astragalus: This herb is considered important in Traditional Chinese Medicine, and with good reason. Astragalus helps the body function at its best level possible and is even used to help ward off and treat the common cold and influenza. This herb, like Siberian ginseng, is also known as an adaptogen, so it boosts your immune system and can help you manage stress. It is helpful in treating insomnia and chronic fatigue syndrome as well. Astragalus is available in a tablet, a tea, or in a dried root that can be eaten.

So, next time you’re feeling that “2:30 feeling” coming on, do more for your body than just wake it up—benefit it as well. 

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