Check out these natural alternatives to energy drinks.
Due, in part, to uncertainty in the scientific community surrounding artificial food dyes and other artificial coloring, it may be more beneficial to make homemade energy drinks to fuel a workout instead of purchasing energy or sports drinks. While the small amount of direct clinical evidence of adverse side effects from store-bought drinks has not yet been accepted by the United States Food and Drug Administration, anecdotal evidence shows that artificial colors in sports and energy drinks can have serious side effects. Hyperactivity, headaches or migraines, increased heart rate, rashes and illnesses have been reported after consuming both artificially colored food and drinks.
Natural energy drinks can fuel workouts, aid in recovery and can easily be made at home. Nutrition-packed homemade energy drinks like the ones listed below use fruits, seeds and other ingredients to naturally boost the body’s ability to exercise and recover after a fitness routine.
Coconut Spirulina Energy Drink
This all-natural, isotonic energy drink is full of electrolytes, glucose, protein, amino acids, magnesium and B vitamins, making it the prefect sports drink for hydration and endurance. Because its ingredient list is so short, it’s easy to prepare and free of any artificial or potentially harmful components.
- Pour the coconut water into a glass or sports bottle.
- Add spirulina to the coconut water.
- Stir or shake well to completely incorporate the spirulina. Makes one serving.
Spirulina can be a bit hard for some consumers to ingest in drink form due to its distinctive taste. If this is the case, the same health benefits can be had by taking one 500 mg spirulina tablet with a full glass of coconut water.
Orange Flax Smoothie
The orange flax smoothie may be a great choice for those who frequently experience cramping issues and need to regulate blood sugar before and during workouts. This homemade energy drink is full of potassium, magnesium, folate and B vitamins, helping muscles to use protein more efficiently and providing several hours of steady energy. Athletes should drink this beverage slowly for maximum absorption of this specific set of combined ingredients.
- 1/2 cup filtered water
- 5 peeled navel oranges
- 3 Tbs. cold-pressed flax oil
- Combine all ingredients in blender.
- Blend until smooth.
- Pour the smoothie into a glass or smoothie bottle and enjoy. Makes one serving.
Refreshing Apple Cider Vinegar Drink
Athletes who struggle with recovery may benefit most from a refreshing apple cider vinegar drink. The recipe below is full of phosphorous, magnesium, and vitamins B-1, B-2, and B-6. Combining these nutrients helps the body better utilize its sugar and carbohydrate energy stores, and it aids in shortening recovery time too as muscles efficiently replenish their energy stores. The potassium in this homemade energy drink helps prevent muscle cramping during and after workouts, aiding in recovery as well.
Diabetics should substitute sweet ingredients with 2 tsp. yacon syrup and 2 tsp. coconut sugar. This use of non-caloric sweeteners will help prevent an insulin spike that could negatively affect a workout.
- Combine all ingredients in a glass or sports bottle.
- Stir or shake well until the mixture reaches a desired consistency. Makes one serving.
Banana Wheat Grass Smoothie
Wheatgrass in a banana smoothie provides abundant protein as well as magnesium to improve the body’s protein metabolic process. This potassium and B complex in the banana wheatgrass smoothie help prepare the body for a workout and reduce discomfort of athletic performance. The nutrients are used by the body to increase muscle efficiency and strength.
- Combine all ingredients in blender.
- Blend ingredients until smooth.
- Pour the mixture into a glass or smoothie bottle and enjoy. Makes one serving.
Forgo the excessive amounts of sugar and artificial food coloring–as well as side effects like headaches, insomnia, the jitters and high blood pressure–found in store-bought energy drinks. Next time you’re in need of some energy or fuel for your workout, opt for the all-natural ingredients in these simple homemade sports drinks instead.