Do you ever feel overwhelmed or like your brain is on the verge of shutting down?
That’s what happens when you’re mentally fatigued – it’s like a wet blanket has been thrown over your brain and it’s near impossible to get anything done when you’re mentally fatigued.
When you’re mentally fatigued – what drink to you typically reach for to give you a boost of energy?
What you choose to DRINK when you’re mentally pooped makes a huge difference in how you’ll fare throughout the day. Just remember, if your brain isn’t working well, nothing else will either!
Check out which drinks to avoid and which ones are best when your brain needs a pickmeup.
WAYS TO BEAT MENTAL FATIGUE WITH BEVERAGES
If You Reach For… Coffee
Coffee is probably one of the world’s most popular study aids and pick-me-ups. (Not that it’s a good thing.) It is estimated that over half the population of America drinks coffee (National Coffee Association).
Some would say it is so popular due to the caffeine addiction many of us have. However, there is no question for coffee drinkers that it does have an effect on your mental functioning; both good and bad.
Too little and you don’t really feel anything. Too much coffee and your brain seems to get rewired and doesn't work well at all.
But that perfect cup of coffee sure seems to kick start your brain. So, what is in coffee that makes it such a great mental booster?
The primary ingredient in coffee that stimulates your brain is caffeine.
Studies show that caffeine (in limited amounts) improves your short term memory and speeds up the reaction time in your brain’s frontal cortex area.
It’s important to remember that the negative side effects of coffee FAR OUTWEIGH the positive.
For instance, it can:
- Increase acidity inside the body
- Irritate your bowels
- Prevent healing in your gut
- Promote heartburn
- Prevent mineral absorption
There are much better choices than coffee, which we’ll talk about in a moment…
If You Reach For… Water
Your brain is incredibly sensitive to changes and is probably most sensitive to the natural water balance or hydration levels within your body. Without these proper levels it simply cannot function properly.
Researchers have found that dehydration can impair short and long term memory functions within your brain.
One study from the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that with just a 2% change in hydration levels in your body, you can experience decreases in physical, visuomotor, psychomotor, and cognitive performance.
It is easy to see why pure water can be one of the most beneficial drinks for improving your mental functioning.
Simply put, your brain needs water.
If You Reach For… Soda Drinks
For too many of us, the lure of cold, sweet sodas is the first go-to drink for pepping up your mental afternoons. Take your pick of the brand, many of us enjoy a soft drink and experience a perk in mental functioning.
And, what about all those other chemical ingredients?
Sugar, in small amounts, is necessary for our bodies to function. The problem arises from high quantities of sugar intake and the use of High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS).
Not only has this been associated with diabetes, obesity and fatty liver disease, research seems to point out that HFCS will actually hinder your brain functioning.
Other than the small boost from the caffeine, not much else can be said positive about soda drinks.
Drinking soda has been shown to:
- Dramatically increase fat buildup around your liver and skeletal muscles
- A 10 year study of ~500 adults found that those who drank at least 2 soda drinks per day have a 500% bigger waistline!
- Two of the coloring agents used in many drinks, 2-methylimidazole and 4-methylimidazole, have been linked to cancer risk
- Phosphoric acid found in many soda drinks has been shown to reduce life spans significantly
- Cause environmental hazards. Artificial sweeteners are not broken down in our bodies, nor are they caught in water treatment plants and thus transfer directly to our water supplies
- Cause major hormonal imbalances. All sorts of cans are lined with PBA’s to keep the drinks from reacting with the aluminum. Do a simple search for PBA’s effects on hormones and you will not drink from another can
- Massive plastic pollution. Search for “great pacific garbage patch” and see for yourself.
Pretty dramatic evidence that drinking soda does nothing but hurt your health.
If You Reach For... Energy Drinks
Visit any campus or work environment around the globe and you will find an abundant supply of energy drinks. People consumed almost $12.5 billion dollars worth of energy drinks in America alone in 2012.
And yet, the health effects of these types of drinks are dismal.
They have been known to cause side effects including seizures, diabetes, cardiac abnormalities and mood and behavioral disorders.
Many of these drinks do not list the amount of caffeine that they contain and they are not regulated.
According to Daniel Marks, an assistant professor at the Center for the Study of Weight Regulation at Oregon Health & Science University, “some energy drink beverages can boost heart rate and blood pressure and cause dehydration and restlessness.”
Another issue with energy drinks is that the ingredients vary widely between brands and many of these ingredients are chemicals that have unknown long-term health effects.
The only reason we include energy drinks on this list is to bring more awareness to the harmful effects that these drinks cause.
The bottom line is this: Energy drinks have ZERO benefits to your health.
If You Reach For… Tea
Obviously we are biased, but for good reason. Next to water, tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world. And it just so happens it is also one of the healthiest drinks you can put into your body.
There are 3 main active components in tea that really help you, both mentally and physically:
What are they? Why are they good for mental health?
Flavonoids are powerful little antioxidants that have a host of health benefits.
A Cambridge study shows flavonoids, may exert beneficial effects in the central nervous system by protecting neurons against stress induced injury, promoting synaptic plasticity, memory and cognitive function.
Theanine (L-theanine) is an amino acid that is naturally found in tea.
This amino acid is able to cross the blood-brain barrier and has been shown to potentially enhance relaxation, reduce stress (mental and physical), enhance mood and improve cognition.
This means that it is the PERFECT daily companion during work or studying.
These are the primary constituents in tea for improving brain function, but the truly amazing thing about tea is that it has so many other health benefits as well.
This means that it can be consumed safely by the majority of people with none of the risks associated with too much coffee, soda, or energy drinks.
What other methods do you use to perk up a sluggish brain? Let me know in the comments below!
Yours in Health & Happiness,
P.S. Okuma's Oolong tea is far superior to any other tea on the market. Just take a look at how it compares to other grocery store teas.
Make sure you know what you're putting into your body! Remember, you can spend money on high quality food and beverages now or you can spend money on medical bills later. The choice is yours.