I’m asked often about the health benefits and effectiveness of energy drinks.
I can gracefully answer the first part of the question. The nutrition label on a Rockstar or Monster can tells me all I need to know – stay far, far away.
The effectiveness part is a little trickier because once I read how unhealthy these beverages are, I chose not to drink them. Because I have not tried the energy drinks on the market, I can’t speak to whether or not they “work”.
I do have one energy enhancer – black coffee.
I’ll refrain from enumerating every detail of my love affair with my morning beau. As hard as it is, I won’t delve too far into the acidities and aromas; no need to further romanticize a John Coltrane-filled morning accompanied by French press and a keyboard (or a loved one.)
No, I’m not giving you permission to grab a “Venti Caffé Vanilla Frappuccino” from Starbucks and call it healthy (or romantic!) Coffee to me is just ground beans and hot water. This is the drink I love and the one I’m suggesting has real health benefits.
If you can avoid “syrup” in your coffee, by all means do so.
So what are those health benefits?
- Coffee starts out life as a plant. It retains many important nutrients, even after being brewed, including Riboflavin, Pantothenic Acid, Manganese, Potassium, Magnesium and Niacin.
- Coffee has been extensively studied in humans. Regular coffee drinkers are linked to a lower incidence of type II diabetes, which currently affects approximately 300 million people.
- Coffee can help mental health. People who consume coffee have lower rates of depression and, in some cases, reduced risk of suicide.
- The natural caffeine found in coffee increases energy and reduces tiredness.
- Caffeine is a natural substance and one of the only ones demonstrated to aid in fat loss.
- Caffeine can improve physical performance by increasing adrenaline. Moreover, as it breaks down fat, these fats are released as fatty acids into the bloodstream, which the body burns for energy.
- Caffeine encourages the production of dopamine and norepinephrine. These neurotransmitters improve cognitive performance, mood, memory and reaction times.
These are some of the many benefits demonstrated in scientific studies posted by Authority Nutrition, a website devoted to an evidence based approach to dietary lifestyle.
Caffeine can be psycho-addictive and, like anything else, shouldn’t be consumed to excess. Drinking it round the clock can have some tangible negative effects. In my experience, I enjoy a cup in the morning with full appreciation for the sensory experience and the way my body and mind respond.