Opinion by Kaylin Kennedy
Most people out there will tell you, “I just don’t have enough energy to get through the day,” instead of looking for the answer in other places, which is usually caused from a lack of sleep or poor diet, American’s want the quick fix. That’s where energy shots and drinks come in. What people fail to realize is that this quick fix isn’t always the answer. Whole foods, such as nuts or fruits can provide the body with not only an energy boost as well as vital nutrients, but they also lack the side effects that come from energy drinks, and these habits of healthy eating can be passed down to posterity.
Some healthy habits can be as simple grabbing a banana to munch on your way to school or work. Bananas are usually available year round in most supermarkets, they’re cheap, and can last up to several weeks. Bananas contain large amounts of potassium. An article on Busywomensfitness.com says, “Sufficient potassium in your diet helps soothe feelings of anxiety, irritability and stress.” Another thing you can do during the day when you need a little extra boost is munch on some almonds. Almonds are not only tasty and sweet, but they contain serotonin. Serotonin according to Medialnet.com, “Changes in the serotonin levels in the brain can alter the mood,” it is also known as the “happy hormone.”
One day I saw a woman in a checkout line with several kids wiggling around, so it was clear to me that she was a busy mother. She was purchasing several energy shots and jokingly admitted that she planned to consume four of the energy shots within that day. Now from what I understand people metabolize caffeine, ginseng and sugar, (which are normally found in energy drinks), differently from person to person. According to WebMd, “Large doses [of caffeine] may be UNSAFE and can cause irregular heartbeats and even death.” Also in an article on Edrink.net, “If a person drinks too much ginseng, a common ingredient of energy drinks, they can experience painful cramps, headache and diarrhea. If the person happens to be diabetic, a beneficial herb like ginseng can suddenly have dangerous consequences.” Too much caffeine can also cause heart palpitations; this is where your heart beats at an irregular rate. And I can say from personal experience, this hurts. Your heart bangs painfully against your chest, and it feels like it’s going to pop out at any second.
If not just for your own personal health, according to an article on RWJF.org, “Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine finds that children as young as 2 form dietary preferences based on their parents’ food choices.” This means that although you may not notice, children are watching what you do and especially what you eat. This isn’t just for parents, but big brothers and sisters as well. If a child sees their parent reach for a banana for energy, that child is most likely to develop healthy eating habits.
Remember there are always alternatives. You may not like almonds and you may be allergic to bananas, but there are other things out there. And it’s also good to try new things. This world is filled with so many different flavors, and experiences, not all of them are going to be placed right under your nose, so go looking for them. You might just be surprised at what you find.
Originally published: Wednesday, October 5, 2011