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The purpose of an energy drink is to enhance performance or provide a physiological boost. Although people may consider energy drinks to be unhealthful, some products contain natural and healthful ingredients.
Often, energy drinks contain high amounts of caffeine, artificial ingredients, and sugar. However, the drink market now includes energy drinks with more natural ingredients, which manufacturers claim to produce similar energy boosting effects.
This article will look at natural energy drinks in more detail and provide a list of options to try.
Normally, energy drinks can contain high amounts of added sugar and caffeine.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advise that a healthy adult can usually consume 400 milligrams (mg) of caffeine per day without experiencing any negative or dangerous side effects. However, some people may be more sensitive to the effects of caffeine than others.
People who consume natural energy drinks may get a boost from the vitamins, fruits, plants, and naturally occurring caffeine within the product.
There are a few reasons that a person may want to consume a natural energy drink. These include:
- feeling more alert in the morning
- enhancing their physical performance
- improving their concentration
- consuming additional supplements
- recovering after exercise
In terms of concentration, the caffeine in energy drinks may increase alertness, improve memory, and elevate mood.
Regarding physical performance, evidence as to the effectiveness of energy drinks is contradictory.
For example, one study concluded that energy drinks improved 5-kilometer running performance. However, a 2016 study suggests that this is not the case. The researchers concluded that there was no difference in physical performance in those who consumed energy drinks compared with those who did not.
There is a lack of research specifically exploring natural energy drinks. However, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health suggest some potential risks associated with energy drinks.
For example, the large amounts of caffeine usually present in energy drinks can cause problems with the heart.
Caffeine may also cause anxiety, digestive problems, sleep problems, and dehydration.
In addition, an older review suggests that the day after consuming an energy drink, people are more likely to feel excessive daytime tiredness. Another study suggests that energy drink consumption may put a person at risk of dental erosion.
Each natural energy drink manufacturer will have specific instructions relating to how or when to consume their product.
A person may want to consume it before or after exercise, on days when they feel particularly tired, or before a task that requires a lot of concentration.
Many natural energy drinks are available to buy. Below, we list five products that people may wish to try.
Please note that no one at Medical News Today, including the writer, has tested these products. All information is research-based.
MatchaBar Hustle Energy (Lemon Lime)
There is some evidence to suggest that matcha powder can improve attention and some aspects of memory.
V8 +Energy (Pomegranate and Blueberry)
This product contains 80 mg of caffeine that naturally occurs within the black and green tea extract.
It also contains a number of vitamins, including the following:
- Vitamin C: This vitamin has a variety of antioxidant effects and plays a vital role in immune function.
- Vitamin B6: According to the National Institutes of Health, vitamin B6 helps with metabolism and brain function.
- Vitamin B3: This vitamin helps convert food into energy that a person needs.
Guayaki Yerba Mate (Lemon Elation)
Guayaki Yerba Mate is a noncarbonated blend of brewed yerba mate and organic fruit juice. Each can contains 150 mg of caffeine.
Yerba mate is a species of plant that naturally contains caffeine. Due to the caffeine content in this beverage, it is likely that a person will feel a boost in their energy levels after consuming it.
The manufacturers of this product state that it contains fair trade ingredients.
Runa Energy Drink (Berry Boost)
This can contains 10 calories and 150 mg of caffeine.
According to the manufacturers, this product only contains seven ingredients, the most notable of which is organic guayusa.
Guayusa is a species of tree. A review of guayusa noted that this tree can have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Proper Wild Clean All Day Energy Shot (Ginger)
This product is a small beverage that contains 180 mg of caffeine.
As well as ginger, which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, it also contains white grape juice. A 2019 study concluded that white grape juice can reduce body mass index (BMI) in older women.
To boost mental and physical performance, a person may wish to consider the following alternatives to energy drinks:
- Get more sleep: Sleep deprivation can impair a person’s ability to carry out tasks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that adults get at least 7 hours of sleep.
- Eat a healthful diet: One study found that people who ate more whole grains, legumes, and vegetables had more energy than those who ate more refined grains and added sugars.
- Limit alcohol intake: Drinking high amounts of alcohol can cause sleep disturbances, which may have a negative effect on energy levels.
- Avoid smoking: One study suggests that sleep disturbances are more prevalent in people who smoke than in those who do not smoke.
- Stay hydrated: Even mild dehydration can affect cognitive performance. Therefore, a person wanting to concentrate on a task should drink water regularly throughout the day.
Natural energy drinks can provide a similar boost in energy to standard energy drinks. However, the former tends to contain less sugar and more naturally occurring sources of caffeine.
Although energy drinks may help increase alertness and concentration, a person should also consider natural alternatives, such as staying hydrated and eating a nutrient-rich diet.