Millions kick-start their day with an early morning cup of coffee to prevent sluggishness and to stay alert. Even at work, we crave for our regular doses of Cappuccino, Espressos and the occasional Rockstar Energy Drink to boost our energy levels and remain stimulated.
But although caffeine does offer some benefits, it has some negative side-effects as well. Regular consumption is associated with increased blood pressure and irregular heartbeats. Further, a mild addictive stimulant present in coffee may even cause withdrawal symptoms. Here's how you can tweak your daily diet to stay alert without coffee.
Meal splitting: A study published in the American Dietetic Association found that eating mini-meals throughout the day can help boost energy levels by supplying the essential vitamins and minerals to your body. Medical experts believe that infrequent meals with large gaps can cause sudden spikes and large crashes in blood glucose which is a crucial factor for energy levels. Hence, it is advisable to split your meals to ease the process of digestion and smooth out your blood glucose level. A British Medical Journal report recommends regular consumption of six to seven small meals per day as this ensures the maintenance of average cholesterol levels.
Avoid frequent consumption of meat: Did you know that you spend much more energy in digesting meat products than vegetarian substitutes? This is primarily because meat has very high protein and comparatively higher fat that is difficult to digest, if the meat isn't cooked and purchased with healthy eating in mind. Moreover, the presence of certain hormones and pesticides in meat can also influence your energy levels. But this does not mean that you curb your meat cravings completely. Deciding the right balance is what matters the most.
Avoid "Mid-Afternoon" sugar cravings: To prevent a mid-afternoon slump and stay energetic without indulging in caffeine, it is vital to avoid any sugar temptations. Afternoon snack time is the period when our body is usually low on blood sugar. Usually, this is the time when our starved body craves for some added energy and we often fulfill this with the help of some high-sugar treats. Try to control this temptation as this causes your energy levels to bottom out.
Try whole grains: Most of us think of energy as a buzz which can be derived instantly using coffee and other caffeinated products. But always remember that such kind of energy derivation is always short-lived and is often followed by a sudden crash that leaves you more drained than ever. This is where whole grains can come to your rescue. These food products are beneficial in that they allow a steady influx of energy fuel that remains throughout the day.
Drink enough water: More than two-thirds of human body weight is composed of water. Moreover, we need water for performing all major functions like regulating body temperature and alleviating constipation. Hence, it makes sense to consume adequate quantities of water to function optimally. A standard 8 glasses per day is recommended by most dieticians and physicians. Besides this, we can get this level even through liquid foods and beverages like milk. However, beverages containing coffee is not recommended as they have diuretic (water-excreting) properties.
Eat fruits on an empty stomach: Having an apple or an orange on an empty stomach can be a great way to chase away the drowsiness and get a quick energy boost. The alkaline properties of these food products are regarded as great energy boosters and therefore, try to consume more of this than their acidic counterparts.
Low-glycemic foods: Foods with low-glycemic index like vegetables, whole grains and some fruits are a must to prevent any kind of morning sluggishness. Instead of devouring caffeine products to keep you awake, start a healthy diet routine by using more of these low-glycemic foods in small amounts before going to sleep.