We love a good caffeine buzz, but we've been spooked by recent reports from the FDA that link 5-Hour Energy and Monster Energy drinks with a number of deaths and serious health threats (including heart attacks and, in one instance, spontaneous abortion). So what should you drink instead to battle the wave of exhaustion? Below are five natural beverages that give you the kick in the pants you need without any of the life-threatening complications.
14 Hour, Juice Press, ($9.99 for 17 oz., available in New York City)
Forget five hours. The 14 Hour from NYC's Juice Press promises more than half a day's worth of energy and "nuclear blood flow," which we assume is a good thing. The secret? Pressed apple juice gives you vitamins without taxing your digestive system while maca, a libido-boosting root vegetable, provides an all-natural shot of energy.
Mamma Chia ($3.49 for 10 oz., available nationally)
Chia seeds aren't just for growing green animals anymore. Now everyone from hippies to Wall Street bankers are munching on them for a little taste of the energy boost that supposedly powered the famous long-distance running Tarahumara tribe of Mexico. But because these tiny seeds can absorb as much as 12 times their weight in water you need to consume them with plenty of liquid so they can work their energy-giving magic without drying you out. Mix up your own batch at home or grab a Mamma Chia, which combines organic chia seeds with agave nectar and a variety of juices like coconut-mango and grapefruit-ginger.
Mint Chip Moon Milk, Moon Juice ($8 for 12 oz., available in Los Angeles)
Drinking a bottle of milk isn't usually our idea of a pick-me-up, but this Venice Beach juice bar might change our minds. It adds popular energy boosters maca and cacao nibs to milk pressed from organic almonds, plus ormus greens, mint extract, and coconut nectar. One bottle delivers a healthy serving of protein, vitamins, and a little more spring in your step. It's so good we might start putting this in our cereal.
Starbucks Refreshers ($1.99 for 12 oz., available nationally)
The ubiquitous mega-chain that made the Frappuccino a household name made its energy drink debut this summer with the Refresher, promising the buzz of coffee without tasting like fizzy medicine (we're looking at you, Red Bull). The key ingredient is green coffee extract, taken from unroasted coffee beans and touted by some as a weight-loss supplement. Starbucks then adds vitamins B and C to flavors like berry-hibiscus, raspberry-pomegranate, and lime.
FRS Healthy Energy Shot ($1.99 for 2 oz., available nationally)
If you really want to kick your 5-Hour Energy addiction this might be the answer. It contains way less caffeine and sugar than most bottled drinks, relying instead on quercetin, a natural, plant-derived flavonoid found in fruits, vegetables, and grains. Fans say it gives them sustained energy without the heart-pounding and calories.
—Keith Wagstaff is a writer and editor based in Brooklyn. Follow him @kwagstaff.
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