The energy beverage market is growing rapidly. Many people consume these beverages in order to increase their energy levels throughout the day. There are over $9 billion dollars in sales of energy drinks just in the United States market and it continues to grow. Statistics show that over 30% of teenagers consume energy drinks on a regular basis.The Concern: There is much concern and debate over the safety of energy drinks. The caffeine levels are very high and can range up to 300 mg per bottle. In comparison to a cup of coffee which has approximately 80 mg of caffeine, one can see how an energy drink can really spike caffeine consumption to potentially unsafe levels. Too much caffeine intake can cause irritability, nervousness, heart palpitations and raise blood pressure. Oftentimes, the caffeine levels are not indicated on the labels of these drinks and people are not aware of just how much they are consuming. People who suffer from heart disease or high blood pressure should not consume energy drinks at all. Also high levels of sugar and mega doses of vitamins can also be unhealthy.Premixed with Alcohol: An alarming fact is that energy drinks are now being premixed with alcohol and available to purchase. This can be dangerous as mixing a stimulant with a depressant such as alcohol can lead to serious health risks such as heart failure. Again, there appears to be such little information available to the public regarding this fact. Many people will consume these beverages at nightclubs and bars not realizing the potentially dangerous interaction of this mixture. The stimulant factor will allow someone to drink more alcohol as the normal intoxication effect is delayed for a longer period of time. This can lead to other potential problems such as unawareness of intoxication, drunk driving, bodily injuries and impaired judgment.Risk of Addiction: There is the risk of becoming addicted to energy drinks if you consume them frequently. In addition to the caffeine addiction the extremely high levels of sugar can become addictive. This combination will give you an instant energy “high” but is then followed by a feeling of energy depletion. The energy increase is unnatural and short lasting. This can of course lead to addiction as one wants to feel the energy rush and avoid the energy slumps that occur soon after. Research has also shown that high usage of energy drinks is linked to increased use of unhealthy substances such as cigarettes, alcohol and prescription drug abuse. If one consumes a lot of energy drinks there is a risk of caffeine intoxication. It’s even possible to experience side effects like rapid heartbeat and numbness and tingling in the hands and feet from the mega doses of vitamin supplements that some of these drinks contain.Alternatives to Energy Drinks: There are much healthier ways to increase your energy levels naturally rather than turning to artificial stimulants. The objective is to incorporate healthy habits that will make you feel truly alive and filled with energy.Avoid Dehydration: Being dehydrated will lower your energy levels. Drink plenty of fresh clean water to hydrate your body and naturally raise energy.Healthy Diet: Eating a healthy well balanced diet will certainly help with providing your body with energy. Protein is important for energy production. Healthy proteins should be eaten throughout the day to ensure adequate energy. Carbohydrates can make you feel sluggish if you eat too much breads, rice and pastas. Try to stick to carbohydrates in the form of vegetables to accompany your protein intake. For example, an energy boosting lunch or dinner could be grilled salmon with asparagus or roasted chicken or turkey with sautéed vegetables. Carbohydrates are very important to keeping blood sugar levels stable so make sure to have good carbohydrates in your diet.Do not skip breakfast as this meal will provide the fuel you need to keep your energy level throughout the day. Also try to eat smaller mini meals instead of three large meals. Smaller, nutritionally dense meals pack more energy power than large meals which can overload your digestive system and make you feel fatigued. Eat fiber based fruits such as bananas and apples as well as snacks such as raisins. These fibrous foods help your body to have more energy and are easy snacks for people on the go. Also don’t forget your omega-3 laden foods such as salmon, tuna and olive oil. The omega nutrients help you to stay alert.Exercise: Exercise is important to energy production. Even though working out will feel like you are expending energy it is actually an energy exchange for longer term consistent energy increases. People who exercise regularly will often notice that their energy decreases when they stop exercise for any period of time. A consistent exercise program that includes walking, light aerobics, treadmill or swimming can boost health and energy levels. All it takes is 20 to 30 minutes per day of exercise to increase your energy naturally. Exercise has the additional benefits of controlling your weight and supporting your immune system.Reduce Stress: Stress is an energy drainer. Of course we will all experience stress but finding constructive ways to reduce it is a good way to increase your energy levels. Holding on to negative emotions will certainly deplete your energy reserves. It is not just negative emotions that can rob you of energy but positive, life changing events can lower energy as well. Getting married or retiring are exciting but even these heightened positive emotions can have the same effect on energy. Bear these facts in mind when experiencing even the greatest joys of life and make sure to incorporate healthy lifestyle habits such as a balanced diet and exercise to counteract the energy draining effects.Energy Improves Quality of Life: Having adequate energy levels really makes life more enjoyable. Being able to accomplish your daily activities without complete exhaustion improves the quality of your life. Remember it is very important to always consult with your medical doctor before undertaking any changes in your diet or lifestyle, particularly if you are currently taking prescription medications or have been diagnosed with any disease. Low energy levels could be symptomatic of an underlying medical condition.