Hydration is vital to set your day up for success and to stop that late morning/afternoon slump.
Think of it this way- like a car engine, which burns gas for fuel, your body also utilizes water for energy. Even during sleep at night, you are burning a large amount of energy in the form of water! Adequate hydration is important to transport nutrients to your brain for fuel. In addition, water is important to eliminate wastes/toxins, it regulates your body’s core temperature, and helps to maintain healthy joints. Furthermore, the correct electrolyte water mixture is known to aid in weight loss and enhance the immune system.
It’s not uncommon during this time of season to witness dehydration due to heat exhaustion, especially among seniors and outdoor workers. According to the National Institute of Health, even mild levels of dehydration can produce disruption in mood and cognitive functioning because your brain is made up of 75% water, which requires an enormous amount of rehydration. Replenishment with one glass of water rich in electrolytes enhances brain performance by 15-20%.
Signs of dehydration include but are not limited to:
Lack of energy
Dry skin and dry mouth
High blood pressure
The fact is that many turn to energy drinks for a quick energy boost. However, the side effects from preservatives and chemicals found in these processed drinks are harmful to your health in the long run. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), linked energy drinks such as Red Bull, 5-Hour Energy, Rockstar and Monster to poor mental health and neurological dysfunction. The enormous amounts of caffeine and sugar in energy drinks are equivalent to toxic drugs and are known to cause reactive hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia, hypertension, headaches and weight gain.
Turn to these 3-healthy drink alternatives instead of energy drinks to MAXIMIZE energy and focus without any side effects:
1. Water: water is your body’s best friend for energy production and brain function! The brain consists of 75% water; therefore, adequate water intake is critical for energy, concentration, memory, and thinking process. Water intake does not have to be boring! For more desirable taste infuse water at room temperature with mint, citrus, cucumber or berries. I personally drink about a gallon of infused water per day, and the cool thing about it is that it never gets boring.
2. Green Smoothies or Juices: green vegetables have a great source of nutrients, especially B-vitamins, essential for converting foods into fuel for energy. Add non-dairy protein shakes (pea protein or vegan protein) to smoothies to fuel your body with an additional source of energy. Prior to choosing a tasty protein powder to add to your drink, be sure the sugar content in it does not exceed 1 gram.
Here’s an example of a healthy green smoothie recipe. Use it to jumpstart your morning with a nutritious breakfast for all day long energy support!
1 cup chopped kale
1/2″ chunk of fresh ginger or ½ teaspoon ginger powder
1 small beet (quartered)
1 lemon (peeled)
¼ cup of organic mixed berries (core and seeds removed)
¼ teaspoonful cinnamon powder
1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 scoop of pea protein or vegan protein
Add to max line: water or non-dairy milk (almond, coconut, hemp) of your choice.
3. Green tea: numerous studies suggest that green tea is one of the most powerful beverages on the planet. Its antioxidant properties, especially catechins-EGCG and flavonoids are known to improve brain function, weight loss and possibly lower the future risk of cancer. In addition, green tea contains less caffeine per cup than coffee, which is less addictive and healthier for your adrenals (energy-producing organs).
Stay hydrated in the heat of summer and do not wait to drink water until you are thirsty- this can be an early sign that you are already dehydrated!
Dr. Lena Fernandez