When you have a demanding career and a busy personal life, it’s easy to feel worn out and tired. Some of you may reach for an extra cup of Joe. But recent data shows that an increasing amount of Americans opt for a fast pick-me-up in the form of a carbonated, enhanced energy drink—a fizzy stimulate that alters more than your energy level.
A new study conducted by a team of cardiac radiologists shows that energy drinks “significantly increase” heart contraction rates. The study was conducted to determine why energy drinks are sending people to the emergency room at alarming rates.
According to a report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the number of U.S. energy drink-related ER visits doubled from 2007 to 2011.
In a written release, one of the study’s authors, Dr. Jonas Dorner from the University of Bonn, Germany, says the medical community hasn’t known “exactly what effect these energy drinks have on the function of the heart,” making the study a piece of groundbreaking research.
Study participants consumed one energy drink, which contained taurine and caffeine. In order to measure the energy drink’s affect on the heart, the researchers compared cardiac magnetic resonance images (MRI) before and after drinking the energizing beverage.
“Results show that compared with the images taken before the participants consumed the energy drinks, the post-beverage MRIs showed that they had increased peak strain and peak systolic strain rates in the heart’s left ventricle,” explains Marie Ellis of Medical News Today.
Although Dorner says more studies are needed to “understand this mechanism” and to determine long-term effects, it might be helpful to enjoy a more natural energy booster instead of a potentially dangerous carbonated beverage.
Head to Whole Foods Addison or your favorite local grocer to stock up on one—or all—of the following natural energy boosters.
- Green Tea
This refreshing tea packs a small amount of caffeine that can increase your energy without altering your sleep schedule. Plus, studies have shown that the active compound in green tea, EGCG, can help you lose weight.
These popular fruits are chock-full of vitamins and minerals, so it’s not surprising that munching on an apple can help boost your energy. According to Men’s Health, apples are a great source of “lasting energy” because they contain fiber and natural sugar.
- Rhodiola Rosea
Studies have shown that this Siberian-Chinese plant helps to “adapt to both physical and mental stress, while improving energy, endurance and stamina.” You can get Rhodiola in liquid extract form or in caps. If you decide to go with a solid form, Dr. Oz recommends you “start with 100 mg every day to keep your energy up.”