When we need energy, our first reflection is to make a coffee. It is a fact that coffee quickly gives us the energy and vitality we need at the moment. But is this energy positive, and also, does high coffee consumption have a negative impact on our health?
Let's see how caffeine gives us energy. Caffeine blocks our nervous system’s sensors that measure adenosine levels. Adenosine provides the backbone for the energy transfer within our body. When adenosine levels drop, the sensors send a signal to the body that it needs rest. However, when the sensors are blocked by caffeine, our nervous system is fooled and does not properly measure the low adenosine levels, so it does not send the signal to the body for rest.
Furthermore, because the body perceives the action of caffeine as a shock, it produces adrenaline which in turn increases blood circulation to muscle tissues, increases heart rate, etc.
Caffeine gives us negative energy because it has no nutritional value and, also, it does not provide us with energy, it just fools our body that it does not need rest. There is a lot of scientific research which proves that high daily coffee consumption (over 400 mg of caffeine, about 4-5 cups of coffee a day) has one or more of the following negative effects on our health: anxiety, insomnia, digestive issues, muscle breakdown, addiction, high blood pressure, rapid heart rate, fatigue, frequent urination and urgency.
But how can we give our body positive energy when it is needed? Positive energy can come from three sources: (a) sufficient blood volume and circulation to oxygenate the muscles and the brain, (b) the "magic" molecule that carries the energy that all our body functions and organs need, ATP and (c) sources of energy (e.g. glucose).
The best ways to give our body positive energy are:
• Herbal caffeine-free energy beverages. There are several herbal beverages without caffeine that directly increase blood ATP levels (ginseng, etc.) and others with different but longer lasting action. One of them is the nettle which increases the total blood circulation so that the peripheral tissues are better oxygenated and thus increase the energy level. Nettle combines high concentration of vitamin C and iron. Vitamin C maximizes the absorption of iron from the digestive tract, while iron is an essential component of haemoglobin.
• Water. The cells need a lot of water to produce ATP.
• Bananas, carrots. Both contain high amounts of vitamin B6 which contributes to the production of haemoglobin and the maintenance of sufficient levels of glucose (a key source of energy) in the blood.
• Natural juices rich in vitamin C. Vitamin C, when taken in an easily absorbable form, contributes to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue.
• Nuts. Some nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios, etc.) contain high amounts of magnesium, an element essential for energy production.