Take The Ginseng, Hold The Energy Drink
Posted by Kate W on Tuesday, July 17th, 2012
I’m a caffeine junkie. Giving up caffeine would have easily been the worst part of my pregnancy if it hadn’t been for my debilitating hyperemesis. Even so, it came in a very close second. I take my caffeine in two forms: through coffee, or through soda. I’ve managed to kick my sugary soda habit, but I just can’t seem to wean myself off my Diet Mountain Dew. All other diet sodas actively repulse me, but something about the citrus masks that artificial sweetener taste in my precious Diet Mountain Dew. After all, why would I want to drink something gross? Who am I, my husband?
Yes, my husband and I have decidedly different palates when it comes to beverages. If I indulge in a cocktail, it’s likely to be a vodka and cranberry juice. Hey, cranberries are full of antioxidants, so it’s totally good for me! My husband, on the other hand, loves a gin and tonic. I suppose that has its health benefits if you’re trying to ward off malaria through quinine ingestion, but honestly, I’d rather take the malaria. The only reason I’ll even sip a gin and tonic is to humor my husband, as he loves the involuntarily pained looks my face contorts into after the merest sip. But what’s even worse than a gin and tonic? An energy drink.
I don’t fault my husband for indulging in an energy drink every afternoon. Lupus drains his energy, and he’s usually flagging by 2pm. But he insists that I should also drink them on days when I’m dragging due to the lack of sleep that comes from waking up twice a night to feed a baby, and it’s just not going to happen. I famously turned down morphine-laden cough syrup during a bronchitis attach that stretched on for eight weeks because I didn’t like the taste. I’d rather be exhausted than subject myself to the aftertaste.
But then it occurred to me I don’t have to drink the beverage to get the energy. One of the key ingredients in most energy drinks is ginseng, which comes in a handy supplement form. According to a 2010 study, cancer patients who took ginseng supplements for eight consecutive weeks showed increased vitality. Other studies show that ginseng can combat mental fatigue as well, which is extraordinarily helpful when you work at home and parent an active infant. Additionally, ginseng can improve blood sugar levels and thus aid in the control of Type 2 diabetes and boost immunity as well as aid in weight loss. Next time I need a pick-me-up, I’ll be trying ginseng in a handy supplement form with no cringe-inducing aftertaste. I’m just trying to decide if it would be overkill to wash it down with a cup of coffee.
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