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We all have times when our energy hits rock bottom and we reach for the nearest quick fix. But are you relying on seven or eight cups of coffee to get you through your day? That’s not a good thing.
The odd cup of coffee here and there isn’t going to affect your health too much, say health experts, and coffee does have its positives, such as antioxidants. Anything between 250 milligrams to 300 milligrams is the standard which equates to around three cups a day.
If you’re consuming anything above this, then it might be time to think outside the square to raise your energy levels.
Here are 6 simple alternatives to caffeine when you start to flag.
- Chew gum
When you’re feeling lethargic, instead of reaching for your coffee cup, pop a piece of chewing gum instead. Studies have shown that just chewing gum for 15 minutes can make you feel more alert. There are two reasons for this: increased heart rate and increased blood flow to the brain. Mint is a well known pick me up as it stimulates nerve fibers. Gum also gets rid of coffee breath, which is always a good thing.
- Get strolling
When you can’t stop yawning, a surefire way to get the energy back on track is to simply take a break and go for a short walk. As well as keeping the zzz’s at bay, low-intensity exercise increases energy levels and reduces fatigue. So walk around the office, chat to co-workers, or head outside to the local park. Just don’t walk past anywhere that sells coffee, or you’ll be tempted to buy a takeaway cup.
- Go for green
While coffee might be your craving, a leafy green salad or smoothie with spinach or kale from your local juice vendor is actually better for beating the afternoon slump. Leafy greens contain B-vitamins which help convert nutrients into much-needed energy. Ok it’s not an instant solution. But by upping your quota of vitamin B on a daily basis, after a while you won’t be hankering for coffee quite as much.
- Drink more water
Dehydration can be a major reason why we boil up the jug, but drinking coffee won’t make us less thirsty. In fact, coffee is considered to be a mild diuretic which causes you to lose fluids rather than retain them. If you feel thirsty, drink a glass or two of water. It will perk you up and give you an energy boost, as well as flushing away toxins. A much better choice!
- Eat more protein
A lack of protein has been linked to a dip in energy levels, especially after lunch. Not enough protein means your sugar levels will spike and then crash causing you to turn to the old coffee habit to get a boost. Simply eating a palm-sized amount of protein with meals, and snacking on a mix of protein rich foods such as seeds or nuts, will naturally prevent tiredness.
- Give your ears a rub
If all else fails, instead of downing a coffee, give yourself a quick ear massage. It may sound like an odd idea, but the ears contain acupressure points that map to every part of your body, and vigorously rubbing them instantly increases blood circulation, and therefore energy levels. Massage the ears from top to bottom, and take three deep breaths as you do it.
Kicking the coffee habit might not happen overnight and, as it’s an addictive substance, you shouldn’t just go cold turkey as you’ll get headaches, so aim to cut it out slowly.