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What You Never Thought About When Drinking Energy Drinks

What You Never Thought About When Drinking Energy Drinks

Do you often feel tired, groggy, or have trouble focusing? Do you struggle to make it through the day? If so, you’re not alone. A growing number of people are turning to energy drinks as a pick-me-up. Though energy drinks have gained a tremendous amount of popularity over the years, have you ever taken the time to read what goes into them? If not, you may be surprised to learn what you’re really putting into your body.Due to their high levels of caffeine and other metabolic-boosting ingredients, energy drinks have been found to have numerous side effects. They can raise your blood pressure, boost your heart rate, cause sleeplessness, and have even been linked to disturbing your heart’s natural rhythm.  Though a lot of people chug energy drinks like water, this is not what they are intended for. Energy drinks have not been found to cause any serious side-effects when used in moderation; however, when they become a staple in your everyday routine, they can open the door to a host of negative effects.

What Energy Drinks Really Are

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    Starting with Red Bull’s tepid introduction to the U.S. in the late 1990s, energy drinks have gained a tremendous amount of steam—largely because most energy drinks were originally marketed as dietary supplements. As such, they were virtually free from FDA regulations.  Because those energy drinks weren’t forced to include the caffeine content and other ingredients on their cans, people naturally assumed that these drinks were perfectly safe.  Unfortunately, this wasn’t particularly true, as a growing number of deaths have since been attributed to heart-related issues caused by energy drinks. Check this website for further information on caffeine levels and the various problems energy drinks have had on the public.

    Beware of Sugar-Free Drinks

    Most energy drinks contain a laundry list of ingredients you have never heard of. Although most energy drinks include herbs and natural ingredients like ginseng or gingko balboa, they also contain a lot of artificial ones too. Many promote themselves as having no sugar. What they neglect to inform you of, however, is the artificial ingredient used in sugar’s place.  Sugarless energy drinks usually use either aspartame or sucralose as an artificial sweetener.  Both are relatively new sweeteners, and both raise a growing number of health and safety concerns. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has recently downgraded sucralose’s use from “safe” to “caution”, stating it should be avoided and “may pose a risk and needs to be better tested.”  Here’s a great chart that easily outlines the sweetener type in popular diet drinks.  Although sugar may not be healthy, at least it’s natural, and as such, it’s much safer than its artificial counterparts.

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      Energy drinks like to tout words like “all natural” or pride themselves on having natural sources of caffeine.  While this may sound good on paper, the truth is very different.  Energy drinks that say they are all natural usually get their caffeine from guarana, a seed from a South American plant which is almost identical to the coffee bean. Now get this: guarana seeds contain more than twice the amount of caffeine as coffee beans do. So although your drink does not contain coffee, it’s usually just as strong—if not stronger—than the average cup of Joe.  The level of advisable caffeine content varies per individual, so you should only consume energy drinks occasionally if you have noticed any kind of sensitivity to caffeine.

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      The Negative Effects of Energy Drinks and How to Avoid Them

      Energy drinks should be consumed in moderation, and never used in place of physical activity.  They naturally raise your heart rate, and coupled with strenuous physical activity, they can greatly damage your health.  It’s important to always read the labels that list the ingredients on energy drinks. If there’s an ingredient you can’t pronounce, think about drinking something else instead.  Remember that natural ingredients are always better than their artificial counterparts, and that sucralose and aspartame are not adequate substitutes. Also keep in mind that coffee, one of the most widely-consumed drinks in the world, naturally only contains one ingredient.

      From mild side effects to potentially lethal consequences, energy drinks should not be taken lightly. They may get the job done, but it’s a toss-up whether or not they’re really worth it.  If you’re among the millions of Americans who consume energy drinks on a daily basis, remember to drink in moderation.

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      Last Updated on March 25, 2020

      How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

      How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

      When it comes to living long, genes aren’t everything. Research has revealed a number of simple lifestyle changes you can make that could help to extend your life, and some of them may surprise you.

      So, how to live longer? Here are 21 ways to help you live a long life

      1. Exercise

      It’s no secret that physical activity is good for you. Exercise helps you maintain a healthy body weight and lowers your blood pressure, both of which contribute to heart health and a reduced risk of heart disease–the top worldwide cause of death.

      2. Drink in Moderation

      I know you’re probably picturing a glass of red wine right now, but recent research suggests that indulging in one to three glasses of any type of alcohol every day may help to increase longevity.[1] Studies have found that heavy drinkers as well as abstainers seem to have a higher risk of early mortality than moderate drinkers.

      3. Reduce Stress in Your Life

      Stress causes your body to release a hormone called cortisol. At high levels, this hormone can increase blood pressure and cause storage of abdominal fat, both of which can lead to an increased risk of heart disease.

      4. Watch Less Television

      A 2008 study found that people who watch six hours of television per day will likely die an average of 4.8 years earlier than those who don’t.[2] It also found that, after the age of 25, every hour of television watched decreases life expectancy by 22 minutes.

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      Television promotes inactivity and disengagement from the world, both of which can shorten your lifespan.

      5. Eat Less Red Meat

      Red meat consumption is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and cancer.[3] Swapping out your steaks for healthy proteins, like fish, may help to increase longevity.

      If you can’t stand the idea of a steak-free life, reducing your consumption to less than two to three servings a week can still incur health benefits.

      6. Don’t Smoke

      This isn’t exactly a revelation. As you probably well know, smoking significantly increases your risk of cancer.

      7. Socialize

      Studies suggest that having social relationships promotes longevity.[4] Although scientists are unsure of the reasons behind this, they speculate that socializing leads to increased self esteem as well as peer pressure to maintain health.

      8. Eat Foods Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

      Omega-3 fatty acids decrease the risk of heart disease[5] and perhaps even Alzheimer’s disease.[6] Salmon and walnuts are two of the best sources of Omega-3s.

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      9. Be Optimistic

      Studies suggest that optimists are at a lower risk for heart disease and, generally, live longer than pessimists.[7] Researchers speculate that optimists have a healthier approach to life in general–exercising more, socializing, and actively seeking out medical advice. Thus, their risk of early mortality is lower.

      10. Own a Pet

      Having a furry-friend leads to decreased stress, increased immunity, and a lessened risk of heart disease.[8] Depending on the type of pet, they can also motivate you to be more active.

      11. Drink Coffee

      Studies have found a link between coffee consumption and longer life.[9] Although the reasons for this aren’t entirely clear, coffee’s high levels of antioxidants may play a role. Remember, though, drowning your cup of joe in sugar and whipped cream could counter whatever health benefits it may hold.

      12. Eat Less

      Japan has the longest average lifespan in the world, and the longest lived of the Japanese–the natives of the Ryukyu Islands–stop eating when they’re 80% full. Limiting your calorie intake means lower overall stress on the body.

      13. Meditate

      Meditation leads to stress reduction and lowered blood pressure.[10] Research suggests that it could also increase the activity of an enzyme associated with longevity.[11]

      Taking as little as 15 minutes a day to find your zen can have significant health benefits, and may even extend your life.

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      How to meditate? Here’re 8 Meditation Techniques for Complete Beginners

      14. Maintain a Healthy Weight

      Being overweight puts stress on your cardiovascular system, increasing your risk of heart disease.[12] It may also increase the risk of cancer.[13] Maintaining a healthy weight is important for heart health and living a long and healthy life.

      15. Laugh Often

      Laughter reduces the levels of stress hormones, like cortisol, in your body. High levels of these hormones can weaken your immune system.

      16. Don’t Spend Too Much Time in the Sun

      Too much time in the sun can lead to an increased risk of skin cancer. However, sun exposure is an excellent way to increase levels of vitamin D, so soaking up a few rays–perhaps for around 15 minutes a day–can be healthy. The key is moderation.

      17. Cook Your Own Food

      When you eat at restaurants, you surrender control over your diet. Even salads tend to have a large number of additives, from sugar to saturated fats. Eating at home will enable you to monitor your food intake and ensure a healthy diet.

      Take a look at these 14 Healthy Easy Recipes for People on the Go and start to cook your own food.

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      18. Eat Mushrooms

      Mushrooms are a central ingredient in Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s GOMBS disease fighting diet. They boost the immune system and may even reduce the risk of cancer.[14]

      19. Floss

      Flossing helps to stave off gum disease, which is linked to an increased risk of cancer.[15]

      20. Eat Foods Rich in Antioxidants

      Antioxidants fight against the harmful effects of free-radicals, toxins which can cause cell damage and an increased risk of disease when they accumulate in the body. Berries, green tea and broccoli are three excellent sources of antioxidants.

      Find out more antiosidants-rich foods here: 13 Delicious Antioxidant Foods That Are Great for Your Health

      21. Have Sex

      Getting down and dirty two to three times a week can have significant health benefits. Sex burns calories, decreases stress, improves sleep, and may even protect against heart disease.[16] It’s an easy and effective way to get exercise–so love long and prosper!

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      Featured photo credit: Sweethearts/Patrick via flickr.com

      Reference

      [1] Wiley Online Library: Late‐Life Alcohol Consumption and 20‐Year Mortality
      [2] BMJ Journals: Television viewing time and reduced life expectancy: a life table analysis
      [3] Arch Intern Med.: Red Meat Consumption and Mortality
      [4] PLOS Medicine: Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review
      [5] JAMA: Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acid Intake and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in Women
      [6] NCBI: Effects of Omega‐3 Fatty Acids on Cognitive Function with Aging, Dementia, and Neurological Diseases: Summary
      [7] Mayo Clinic Proc: Prediction of all-cause mortality by the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory Optimism-Pessimism Scale scores: study of a college sample during a 40-year follow-up period.
      [8] Med Hypotheses.: Pet ownership protects against the risks and consequences of coronary heart disease.
      [9] The New England Journal of Medicine: Association of Coffee Drinking with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality
      [10] American Journal of Hypertension: Blood Pressure Response to Transcendental Meditation: A Meta-analysis
      [11] Science Direct: Intensive meditation training, immune cell telomerase activity, and psychological mediators
      [12] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
      [13] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
      [14] African Journal of Biotechnology: Anti-cancer effect of polysaccharides isolated from higher basidiomycetes mushrooms
      [15] Science Direct: Periodontal disease, tooth loss, and cancer risk in male health professionals: a prospective cohort study
      [16] AHA Journals: Sexual Activity and Cardiovascular Disease

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