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How to Drink Caffeine With Strategy to Boost Your Productivity

How to Drink Caffeine With Strategy to Boost Your Productivity

We have a love-hate relationship with caffeine. We all know consuming too much will lead to a crash, and a headache, but we also know it can be a great energy booster in a pinch. Even if you only have a small serving of caffeine, your body will metabolize it out of your system within 8-14 hours, leading you to feel sluggish and sometimes even sick.[1]

    But what if I told you strategically consuming caffeine rather than drinking it habitually could provide an energy reservoir, so to speak, that you could tap into any time you liked?

    Drink caffeine strategically

    Chris Bailey, the author of The Productivity Project, was also sick of the caffeine hangover, but didn’t want to abandon the stuff. So he decided to try something: he consumed caffeine before doing any number of important things. For instance, he would have caffeine before giving a presentation, writing an important article, or just checking off something big on his to-do list. Regardless of what the task was, he made sure it was one that was important and required plenty of focus and brain energy.

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    The aim of the experiment was simple: how can you make the most of that caffeinated high before the crash comes? Utilize the period before the caffeine crash.

      Caffeine prevents your brain from absorbing a chemical called adenosine. This chemical triggers the flags in your brain that let you know you’re tired. While caffeine blocks your brain from absorbing the chemical, it continues to build up until caffeine eventually lets your brain absorb it. So at that point, you’re going to suddenly feel as though you’ve been hit by a train and all you want to do is sleep.

      But if you drink coffee, or any caffeinated beverage strategically, you can make better use of that time when your brain isn’t receiving those signals. In fact, you could even rest intermittently before that crash hits.

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      What you can’t drink

      Before you start stocking up on sugary caffeine drinks or whip out your Starbucks mobile app to grab a caffeinated frappuccino, let’s get some ground rules out of the way. You can’t have sugary or alcoholic caffeinated drinks. These types of beverages come with their own kind of crash, so layering them on is only going to make that hit of adenosine come on harder and faster, ultimately leaving you feeling even worse.

      Instead, opt for green tea or matcha. These naturally caffeinated teas are full of antioxidants which can help slow and regulate the caffeine crash.

      When to caffeinate

      At this point, you might be brewing a cup of coffee already, but be careful not to use caffeine as a band-aid. The goal is to take advantage of the window of productivity, not to continue to consume it until you’ve gotten through your day and need to sleep. Along those same lines, it’s important to avoid caffeine as much as possible if you’re about to work on something creative; it’s been shown to hurt right-brain-related tasks.

      If it works for your daily schedule, consume caffeine between 9:30 and 11:30 a.m. This is when caffeine will have the greatest impact on your energy, because it’s usually the time of day when you naturally start to feel a little sluggish. And always remember, avoid caffeine less than 8 hours before you go to bed so it doesn’t affect your sleep.

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      Pro Tip: Because you know a caffeine crash will typically have you falling asleep about 8-12 hours after you drink it, plan to have a big cup of coffee twelve hours before an overnight flight. You’ll sleep like a baby.

      Who can caffeinate

      Obviously if you want to drink coffee or caffeinated tea, we aren’t trying to stop you. But it is helpful to note that it does affect certain people differently.

      Caffeine has been shown to make introverts perform poorer on tasks that are quantitative and done under time pressure because introverts are more stimulated by their environment; that extra bit of stimulation provided by caffeine can push an introvert over the edge.[2]

      Interestingly enough, it’s been found to have the exact opposite effect for extroverts. If you’re a very outgoing and social person, caffeine before a big task could be perfect for you.

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      For ambiverts, or those who fall somewhere in the middle, strategically consuming caffeine will be your best bet.

      What works best for you?

      Some of the strategy involves experimenting. You may find your 6am cup of java gets you to 10am only, but that’s when you typically have some kind of protein to get you through. Others may discover they should drink coffee later – perhaps 9:30am when their cortisol is naturally lower – and it changes their whole day. Regardless of what you discover works best for you, the goal is to time your crash.

      Personally, I like to go to bed around 10:30p.m. I like to make sure to have my caffeine 12 hours earlier so I can hop into bed and fall asleep. Once you figure out what schedule works best for you, you’ll be amazed at the difference a cup can make.

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      Samantha Aloysius

      Samantha is an everyday health expert with a background in International Public Health and Psychology.

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      Last Updated on July 28, 2020

      14 Low GI Foods for a Healthier Diet

      14 Low GI Foods for a Healthier Diet

      Diet trends may come and go, but a low-GI diet remains one of the few that has been shown to include benefits based on science. Low GI foods provide substantial health benefits over those with a high index, and they are key to maintaining a healthy weight.

      What is GI? Glycemic index (GI) is the rate at which the carbohydrate content of a food is broken down into glucose and absorbed from the gut into the blood. When you eat foods containing carbohydrates, your body breaks them down into glucose, which is then absorbed into your bloodstream.[1]

      The higher the GI of a food, the faster it will be broken down and cause your blood glucose (sugar) to rise. Foods with a high GI rating are digested very quickly and cause your blood sugar to spike. This is why it’s advisable to stick to low GI foods as much as possible, as the carbohydrate content of low GI foods will be digested slowly, allowing a more gradual rise in blood glucose levels.

      Foods with a GI scale rating of 70 or more are considered to be high GI. Foods with a rating of 55 or below are considered low GI foods.

      It’s important to note that the glycemic index of a food doesn’t factor in the quantity that you eat. For example, although watermelon has a high glycemic index, the water and fiber content of a standard serving of water means it won’t have a significant impact on your blood sugar.

      Like watermelon, some high GI foods (such as baked potatoes) are high in nutrients. And some low GI foods (such as corn chips) contain high amounts of trans fats.

      In most cases, however, the GI is an important means of gauging the right foods for a healthy diet.

      Eating mainly low GI foods every day helps to provide your body with a slow, continuous supply of energy. The carbohydrates in low GI foods is digested slowly, so you feel satisfied for longer. This means you’ll be less likely to suffer from fluctuating sugar levels that can lead to cravings and snacking.

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      Let’s continue with some of the best examples of low GI foods.

      1. Quinoa

      GI: 53

      Quinoa has a slightly higher GI than rice or barley, but it contains a much higher proportion of protein. If you don’t get enough protein from the rest of your diet, quinoa could help. It’s technically a seed, so it’s also high in fiber–again, more than most grains. It’s also gluten-free, which makes it excellent for those with Celiac disease or gluten intolerance.

      2. Brown Rice (Steamed)

      GI: 50

      Versatile and satisfying, brown rice is one of the best low GI foods and is a staple for many dishes around the world. It’s whole rice from which only the husk (the outermost layer) is removed, so it’s a great source of fiber. In fact, brown rice has been shown to help lower cholesterol, improve digestive function, promote fullness, and may even help prevent the formation of blood clots. Just remember to always choose brown over white!

      3. Corn on the Cob

      GI: 48

      Although it tastes sweet, corn on the cob is a good source of slow-burning energy (and one of the tastiest low GI foods). It’s also a good plant source of Vitamin B12, folic acid, and iron, all of which are required for the healthy production of red blood cells in the body. It’s healthiest when eaten without butter and salt!

      4. Bananas

      GI: 47

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      Bananas are a superfood in many ways. They’re rich in potassium and manganese and contain a good amount of vitamin C. Their low GI rating means they’re great for replenishing your fuel stores after a workout.

      They are easy to add to smoothies, cereal, or kept on your desk for a quick snack. The less ripe they are, the lower the sugar content is! As one of the best low GI foods, it’s a great addition to any daily diet.

      5. Bran Cereal

      GI: 43

      Bran is famous for being one of the highest cereal sources of fiber. It’s also rich in a huge range of nutrients: calcium, folic acid, iron, magnesium, and a host of B vitamins. Although bran may not be to everyone’s tastes, it can easily be added to other cereals to boost the fiber content and lower the overall GI rating.

      6. Natural Muesli

      GI: 40

      Muesli–when made with unsweetened rolled oats, nuts, dried fruit, and other sugar-free ingredients–is one of the healthiest ways to start the day. It’s also very easy to make at home with a variety of other low GI foods. Add yogurt and fresh fruit for a nourishing, energy-packed breakfast.

      7. Apples

      GI: 40

      Apple skin is a great source of pectin, an important prebiotic that helps to feed the good bacteria in your gut. Apples are also high in polyphenols, which function as antioxidants, and contain a good amount of vitamin C. They are best eaten raw with the skin on! Apples are one of a number of fruits[2] that have a low glycemic index. Be careful which fruits you choose, as many have a large amount of natural sugars[3].

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      8. Apricots

      GI: 30

      Apricots provide both fiber and potassium, which make them an ideal snack for both athletes and anyone trying to keep sugar cravings at bay. They’re also a source of antioxidants and a range of minerals.

      Apricots can be added to salads, cereals, or eaten as part of a healthy mix with nuts at any time of the day.

      9. Kidney Beans

      GI: 29

      Kidney beans and other legumes provide a substantial serving of plant-based protein, so they can be used in lots of vegetarian dishes if you’re looking to adopt a plant-based diet[4]. They’re also packed with fiber and a variety of minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and other beneficial plant compounds. They are great in soups, stews, or with (whole grain) tacos.

      10. Barley

      GI: 22

      Barley is a cereal grain that can be eaten in lots of ways. It’s an excellent source of B vitamins, including niacin, thiamin, and pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), fiber, molybdenum, manganese, and selenium. It also contains beta-glucans, a type of fiber that can support gut health and has been shown to reduce appetite and food intake.

      Please note that barley does contain gluten, which makes it unsuitable for anyone who is Celiac[5] or who follows a gluten-free diet. In this case, gluten-free alternatives might include quinoa, buckwheat, or millet.

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      11. Raw Nuts

      GI: 20

      Most nuts have a low GI of between 0 and 20, with cashews slightly higher at around 22. Nuts, as one of the best low GI foods, are a crucial part of the Mediterranean diet[6] and are really the perfect snack: they’re a source of plant-based protein, high in fiber, and contain healthy fats. Add them to smoothies and salads to boost the nutritional content. Try to avoid roasted and salted nuts, as these are made with large amounts of added salt and (usually) trans fats.

      12. Carrots

      GI: 16

      Raw carrots are not only a delicious low GI vegetable, but they really do help your vision! They contain vitamin A (beta carotene) and a host of antioxidants. They’re also low-calorie and high in fiber, and they contain good amounts of vitamin K1, potassium, and antioxidants. Carrots are great for those monitoring their weight as they’ve been linked to lower cholesterol levels.

      13. Greek Yogurt

      GI: 12

      Unsweetened Greek yogurt is not only low GI, but it’s an excellent source of calcium and probiotics, as well. Probiotics help to keep your gut microbiome in balance and support your overall digestive health and immune function. Greek yogurt makes a healthy breakfast, snack, dessert, or a replacement for dip. The most common probiotic strains found in yogurt are Streptococcus thermophilus[7] (found naturally in yogurt) and Lactobacillus acidophilus[8] (which is often added by the manufacturer). You can also look into probiotic supplements for improving your gut health.

      14. Hummus

      GI: 6

      When made the traditional way from chickpeas and tahini, hummus is a fantastic, low-GI dish. It’s a staple in many Middle Eastern countries and can be eaten with almost any savory meal. Full of fiber to maintain satiety and feed your good gut bacteria, hummus is great paired with freshly-chopped vegetables, such as carrots and celery.

      Bottom Line

      If you’re looking to eat healthier or simply cut down on snacking throughout the day, eating low GI foods is a great way to get started. Choose any of the above foods for a healthy addition to your daily diet and start feeling better for longer.

      More Tips on Eating Healthy

      Featured photo credit: Alexander Mils via unsplash.com

      Reference

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