Jhoomer Sinha answers the pertinent question, why we remain tired even after four cups of coffee
Touted and widely adopted as the universal beverage to ward off sleep and keep you alert, awake and ready to take on the day, a daily cup of coffee has practically become a ritual for most of us. It’s also not uncommon to reach for a few extra cups or a shot of espresso when you feel that all-too-familiar energy slump in the middle of the day.
However, when you’re down four cups of coffee and still find yourself struggling to muster the energy and focus needed for the simplest tasks, it’s important to realise that your body isn’t craving caffeine. What it needs instead is nutrition!
Despite its ubiquitous presence across energising beverages, scientifically speaking, caffeine (the principal stimulant in coffee) isn’t exactly the ultimate energy elixir it is made out to be. It works by binding to the receptors of adenosine, (a neurotransmitter that builds up in your body as you exert yourself and relaxes your brain making you feel tired), and thus blocks these receptors and stops them from being activated. This prevents you from feeling how tired you actually are temporarily but it also makes you feel even more exhausted once the effects of the caffeine wear off instead of giving your body the nutrients it needs to generate more energy and banish fatigue for good.
While coffee in moderation can certainly do wonders for your alertness, it offers little to no nutritional value by itself. In fact, coffee actually blocks the absorption of vital energising micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) in your body and inhibits their ability to initiate natural metabolic and energy generation processes in your body.
Our bodies need a regular and balanced combination of macro and micronutrients to generate a steady stream of energy. Some of the most important ones needed in this context are vitamins D, B12 and B9 (folic acid). They act as catalysts in the energy generation process and help convert the macronutrients (like carbohydrates, fats and proteins) from the food you eat into energy.
Think of macronutrients as the fuel you need to sustain a fire and micronutrients as the match that you need to light it in the first place. Any deficiency in either of these will lead to the fire being extinguished or to a literal crash in your energy levels.
It is common to observe a slump in daily energy levels as you cross the 30-year old mark but this is far from normal and is not due to age but is instead due to a lack of nutrients in our bodies.
80 per cent of Indians are deficient in vitamin D, one of the most vital components needed for us to feel energetic. While our bodies are actually capable of naturally producing this nutrient when exposed to sunlight, the need to supplement our diets with an additional intake of vitamin D in order to compensate for this deficiency cannot be overstated. A lot of Indians also exhibit deficiencies in vitamins B9 and B12. This is largely due to the fact that we tend to observe diets that are predominantly vegetarian and the best natural source of these vitamins is actually animal protein.
Adding health supplements that are rich in vitamins D, B12 and folic acid to your diet is a great way to prevent such deficiencies, bridge nutrition gaps that occur in your diet and directly increase your energy levels.
(The author is the founder and CEO of Hea Boosters.)