I’ve been a coffee fanatic for most of my life. But four years ago, after I had a concussion from a car accident, my doctor suggested taking a caffeine break to see if it would help reduce headache symptoms and brain fog.
Although studies are limited, some researchers have found that too much caffeine can irritate your already sensitive brain and slow recovery, especially during the first few weeks after an injury.
As a dietitian for 20 years, this was enough motivation for me to give up caffeine and find alternatives for energy and focus.
Keep in mind, however, that everyone tolerates caffeine differently. For healthy adults, the FDA says that 400 milligrams (about four or five cups) of coffee per day is generally not associated with serious effects. But if you start experiencing signs of overeating — trouble sleeping, a fast heartbeat, irritability — you may want to cut back.
Along with prioritizing sleep, physical activity, and time outside, here are five foods and drinks I keep to stay active — without the caffeine:
1. Turmeric Latte
It looks basic, but it stays hydrated Water helps maintain energy levels by keeping our muscles active.
On the other hand, dehydration can make you feel lethargic and cause subtle changes in thinking and mood, according to studies cited by the CDC.
The amount of plain water adults should drink each day varies depending on activity level, environment, and other factors. But I try to drink eight cups (about 64 ounces, or 1,893 milliliters) each day.
3. Kiwi fruit
Getting enough sleep helps you stay alert during the day, but we all know it can be hard to get a good rest.
Eating kiwi fruit may help. This nutrient-dense berry is rich in serotonin, a hormone associated with sleep regulation. A 2011 trial found that eating two kiwis one hour before bed each night for a month increased total sleep time and sleep efficiency.
I eat kiwi as a bedtime snack. When I sleep well, my caffeine cravings go down the next day – a double win!
4. Lean beef
Iron helps transport oxygen throughout the body. If you are deficient in iron and oxygen is not up to where it should be, you can feel very tired.
Lean beef is one of the best sources of iron. I include it in my diet twice a week to make sure my body gets the iron it needs. I stick to 4-ounce servings of lean cuts like sirloin and eye-round roast.
A 3-ounce serving of 95% ground beef contains 1 milligram of iron, which is 11% of the recommended daily iron intake for women, and 25% for men, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements.
If you don’t eat meat, you can get iron from other foods like spinach, legumes, quinoa, broccoli, and tofu.
Carbohydrates are the main source of energy for the body. Starch is a complex carbohydrate made of chains of small sugars. We get energy when these chains break down during digestion.
Plant-based foods like pasta are great sources of starch, and contain various B vitamins that support energy levels.
However, eating a lot of pasta at once can make some people feel sleepy. To determine the appropriate serving size, it is helpful to remember that one serving of cooked pasta is the size of a baseball.
For dinner, I’ll occasionally pair gluten-free pasta with some extra virgin olive oil, stir-fried vegetables, lean proteins like chicken or shrimp, and a little Parmesan.
Lauren Munker He is an award-winning dietitian and author of a book “Mom’s Pregnancy Cookbook for the First Time: Nutrition Guide, Recipes, and Meal Plans for a Healthy Pregnancy.” You have held leadership positions in Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics He has written for publications, including health day And live strong. follow her Instagram.
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