How many products have you seen at the grocery store that claim to promote energy? There are bars and shakes and other products that make promises that we will have the energy to leap tall buildings in a single bound and outrun speeding locomotives! There are tons of energy supplements on the shelves - everything from energy drinks to magic jewelry, all claiming to renew the much needed vitality we all feel we are lacking in our normal diet. And they are right about one thing - we are lacking the ingredients that restore the stamina we seem to lack.
The needs of an athlete differ from someone like me who just wants to get through a typical day without conking out after lunch.
As I always emphasize, read the label of any product you are thinking of using. Not all energy supplements are created equal. Since I have a heart murmur, I am careful about using any product that contains stimulants such as:
Synephrine (may be listed as bitter orange)
Caffeine (or herbal sources such as kola nut, yerba mate and guarana)
If you see any of these ingredients listed on the label, know that the product will affect your metabolism - it will speed your heart rate. It's a good idea to check with your physician before trying any of these energy boosters. Frankly, I believe a cup of green tea after lunch is sufficient for me to get through the rest of my day. It helps me get over that "sleepy" feeling I get after lunch. But since I'm retired, I do have the luxury of giving in to that feeling and taking a nap once in a while. Not that I would dream of rubbing that in to a working stiff. Me??? Nah!
There are substances that affect energy metabolism:
B vitamins (B6, B12, niacin, folic acid and thiamine)
Creatine, carnitine, and amino acids like tyrosine, phenylalanine, taurine
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)
People who are athletes and push themselves to the limit could possibly benefit from these additional boosts. For the rest of us, however, the emphasis should be on proper nutrition to begin with. If we get these nutrients through the foods we eat, then we most likely will not need the additional dosage of these supplements. Eating right is so important because our bodies need these in order to maintain the energy we so desperately need.
Some energy boosting products on the market today are actually dangerous to our bodies. One popular energy drink has been cited in 5 deaths and in one non-fatal heart attack over the past 3 years as the FDA is investigating. High caffeine levels are being looked at as the possible problem. If you are not an active person (that is, if you don't exercise more than a half hour a day), the addition of calories from these supplements can not only pack on the pounds, but spike blood sugar in diabetics and cause a whole host of problems from there.
Adopting a complete lifestyle change is the best way to gain energy. The first comment I hear from people who have thrown the junk food out and embraced a healthier diet is, "I can't believe how much better I feel - and how much more energy I have now!" It's like hearing a recording being played over and over - so there must be something to it! These people do not know each other - but they know me. When they tell me this it makes me smile and think, "Wow, if I had a nickle for every time I've heard that sentence..." I would be really rich! You know, I'm rich in other ways that can't be measured!
The energy of the mind is the essence of life. - Aristotle
Think about it: Is the human body supposed to get a sudden burst of energy from a can??? Before you try to supplement your energy level with one of these drinks, ask yourself one simple question: "Am I eating the right foods to boost my energy?" If the answer is "no", then that's where you need to begin. Once you start doing away with junk food, processed foods, MSG, trans fats, hydrogenated oils and high-fructose corn syrups and other sugars in disguise, you will be amazed at how much energy you will have and how much better you will feel.
How can you begin a new lifestyle and feel better?
Eating the right foods will boost energy levels. Consuming raw fruits and vegetables with lean protein and limited amounts of complex carbohydrates will give you the vitamins and minerals your body needs to function properly. Ditch the soda or juice and drink water. Hydration is just as important as eating right.
Exercise will give you energy. I know, I didn't believe it either at first. It doesn't seem logical, and no, I don't know why it works that way, but it does. A half hour of exercise every day is all it takes - and you have energy to keep going.
Getting plenty of sleep at night revives you. Talk about logic - this is abundantly clear! If you are lacking energy and you're not sleeping well at night, hmm... well - ya might wanna figure out how to get more sleep at night. Staying on the computer until 2 a.m. is not productive in the long run. Nothing is that important - not even facebook! It's worth it to get your full 8 hours of sleep at night. You need to sleep at night in order to function properly both physically and mentally the next day. We all want to be at our best, don't we?
Grab a box of tissues and listen to this mother's tragic story.