Coffee has been a staple in people’s morning routines for decades. However, energy drinks have recently taken the market by force, providing a stronger caffeine high that can last for hours. And it makes you wonder, are energy drinks really better than coffee?While some prefer the taste of energy drinks over coffee, there are new studies that show that the contents of some energy drinks can do more harm than good.
Coffee Versus Energy Drinks
Energy drinks can have a mass concoction of a ton of different ingredients containing caffeine and other substances. Coffee is a much more natural method to getting your caffeine intake. Organic coffee (and some specialty brands) will have little to no preservatives or additives in their blends, which is a much healthier route to take.Energy drinks have preservatives, flavorings, dyes, and enough sugar to jump start a car if needed. Coffee is plant-based, more natural, and has added health benefits
The Benefits of Coffee
Many people need their morning cup of joe to get their day started. Coffee has benefits other than the morning or after-lunch caffeine boost that we seek. Coffee has been around for hundreds of years and has had numerous studies to prove its benefits. It can improve your mood and provide a source of antioxidants. Energy drinks are newer to the caffeine game and their problems outweigh any benefits.
The Problem With Energy Drinks
While the overuse of any source of caffeine can be dangerous to our health, there are many reports of issues with energy drinks, due to their extremely high caffeine and sugar content.Too much sugar can cause dental problems, and while you may experience a noticeable energy boost from an energy drink, their sugar content is usually so high that the crash that follows is very pronounced.
This may leave you feeling overly tired and unable to focus because of the extreme spikes your body is experiencing. Additionally, energy drinks can mess with your body's ability to fall asleep later on at night.
The Problem With Energy Drinks: Too Much Sugar
Sugar is delicious, but it presents a ton of health issues. Energy drinks are packed with sugar. They are pre-made, ready to go, off the shelves drinks that we merely have to pop open and guzzle.
Coffee can also be loaded up with sugar. However, the difference between coffee and energy drinks is that we control the sugar content that goes into our cups.Adding less sugar or none at all to your morning cup can easily be accommodated. At coffee houses, we can ask for special concoctions or a healthier option with less sugar (sugar free syrups, stevia, etc….)
While it may come down to the preference of caffeine intake, coffee definitely has some great benefits to it.The smell throughout the house as you brew coffee can’t be beat, and it has less sugar and additives in it making it one of the healthiest “energy drinks” still on the market today.
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Do you a particular type of coffee that you love? Or any tips for drinking coffee? Share your advice in the comments section, below!
Sarah is in love with coffee, but she takes care to consider the benefits and precautions needed to indulge in this amazing drink. By discussing her findings on We Dream of Coffee, she hopes to inform more people about the benefits of this power drink.
Brain power is important. As a neuroscientist, I have researched the brain inside and out. The ability to optimize your brain power will effect every aspect of your life.
Did you know that the brain is the only organ in the human body that works 24 hours a day.
That's right, the brain works all day long AND all night long.
That being said, the brain is without a doubt the most neglected organ of general health and fitness, yet it is the central driver of both mental and physical performance.
In this post, I am going to outline simple ways that you can optimize your mental and physical performances simply by optimizing brain health.
Tips for Increasing Brain Power
The best way to optimize brain health is a multi-faceted approach. Naturally improving brain health can be a tricky topic, below are some helpful tips on how you can increase your brain power.
• Eat Fat To Help Increase Brain Health
Mediterranean diets, which promote the consumption of fish and healthy oils - typically high in Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids - help to keep the brain healthy.
A balance between Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids is recommended. Most Western diets offer too much Omega-6 and not enough Omega-3. Hunter-gatherer tribes were projected to have a 2:1 ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 fatty acid consumption, and not a 16:1 ratio, which is more typical of Western diets.
Embrace your inner caveman, and aim to intake more Omega-3 fatty acids. This involves eating more fish in your diet, or alternatively, taking a high quality fish oil supplement.
• Exercise To Increase Brain Health
Exercise enables your body to better adapt to stress. Although exercise is physiologically stressful, it's more of a healthy stress response. Exercise primes and re-wires your brain, immune, and endocrine systems in order to better adapt and respond to environmental stress. In my book Meathead: Unraveling the Athletic Brain, I discuss many positively functional and structural changes in the brain that take place with routine exercise.
As an example, exercise increases the production of neural growth factors. Neural growth factors contribute to repair and maintenance of the central nervous system. The two most common growth factors studied in the realm of exercise physiology are nerve growth factor (NGF) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Exercise ramps up the production of NGF and BDNF, ramping up the speed of communication between nerve cells in the brain and fine-tuning the level of communication.
• Sleep And Brain Health
The body recovers by repairing itself and replenishing fuel sources with sleep. Sleep has always been thought to be "by the brain, for the brain, and of the brain," and this is absolutely true.
Sleep leads to brain readiness. Sleep prepares us for responding quickly and accurately to people, events, and facts. Sleep helps to clear waste products that build up across a stressful day. It also helps us to encode and form new memories, and sleep allows nerve cells to take turns going "offline" for a bit.
I often tell coaches, athletes, and soldiers that we have no excuse not to sleep at least 10 hours a night because Lebron James, Roger Federer, and other huge global celebrities do, and I can guarantee that their days are way more productive than most of ours.
Meditation-based exercises much like yoga or tai chi effectively calm individuals, behaviorally and physiologically. Behaviorally, researchers have found that subjects who engage in meditation-based exercises evolved to become less reactive to negative stimuli generating embarrassment or shame. Physiologically, meditation induces a sleep-like state, allowing us to further reap the benefits of sleep: rejuvenation, replenishment, and restoration.
Natural Supplements For Brain Health:
Recent findings show that supplementing with these essential nutrients can help make the brain more efficient.
Half of the US population is magnesium-deficient. This nutrient is vital because it is the gatekeeper of nerve cell communication. Some nerve cells have magnesium plugs that determine the extent of communication. Because communication ramps up, in general, with any type of running and strength & conditioning training, it is imperative for athletes and regular people alike to keep up with magnesium supplementation. Utzy's U-Mag is a lemonade flavored Magnesium drink mix without sugar, give it a try!
Similar to magnesium, an active lifestyle requires iron replacement or maintenance. If you can just envision all the blood flow ensuing in the brain, just imagine what a little bit more iron in your diet can do. You can also supplement Iron through a high quality Multi-Nutrient.
3. Vitamin D
This nutrient interacts with the endocrine system, regulating more than 200 genes throughout the body; the central dogma of biology. Healthy genes that "fit," make for a healthy and happy brain and body. It is inexpensive and easy to take. Consider Utzy's Natural D3 5,000 product available here.
Dr. Allison Brager has a PhD in physiology. She is author of Meathead: Unraveling the Athletic Brain, which debunks the myth of the "dumb jock" and serves as a manual for optimizing athletic performance through neuroscience. She is a former college athlete and Crossfit Games team athlete, and is still active in track and field: pole vault and hurdles.
As the weather warms and green things begin to grow again, most of us look forward to the start of the farmer’s markets. We love following the natural progression of the seasons, starting with spring asparagus, artichokes, and radishes.
Soon after, peas and lettuce start coming, gradually leading into summer when strawberries, peaches, and tomatoes start to show. One of my favorite things about farmer’s markets is the opportunity to try new things, like purple carrots, scapes, and, a new favorite, husk cherries.
I hope you have had the chance to experience a market, as they grow more popular, there really is no excuse to miss out!
If you are looking for a local market, here are a few places to check out:
The USDA Website
The USDA has a Farmer’s Market Directory. All you need to do is enter your zip code and select the distance you’re willing to travel. A list of locations will pop up.
Local Harvest works to connect people with the farming community around them. They help locate not only farmer’s markets, but CSA’s, co-ops, u-pick farms, and even restaurants that feature locally grown foods.
Sometimes it’s easier to go directly to the source, especially when buying in bulk. Many Organic, local farms are open to the public, and if you call ahead, they may even give you a tour! Our favorite local farm to get Organic, grassfed beef and chickens is Alden Hills Organic Farm.
I hope these resources help you find a local market. Buying from your local farmer supports your city’s economy, strengthens your relationship with your community, and helps you to get the freshest possible produce and meats!