Opinion: One energizing option that’s better for you than caffeine

I’ll admit it- I’m a caffeine addict. It’s coffee that gets me, I love the stuff.

Unfortunately, like a lot of college students, I tend to overdo it. Like today. I was on the move from 8 a.m. onward and when 4 p.m. hit, I still had a photo shoot and two meetings to go to. I knew it was time to call in the big guns.


When I got to the front of the line and the cashier asked me what I wanted, I simply said, “Caffeine. In a big cup.”

I don’t even know what he gave me, but an hour later I was convinced I could fly. Life was great until a few hours afterward when I crashed and couldn’t get off the sofa. Yeah, I was tired, but I had a bigger reason: my back hurt too much.

Because here’s the thing. You might not know this, but caffeine isn’t very good for you. A little bit, sure. But the amount that most college students intake? Terrible.

Especially, believe it or not, for your back.

When I was in Italy, I thought it would be fun to go cliff jumping. And it was. But 40-foot cliffs, the ocean and your spine? Not the best combination. I got home in August and immediately started seeing a chiropractor. I’ll probably still be seeing one in December.

But that’s neither here nor there. The important thing is the first thing my chiropractor said to me: “Lay off the caffeine.”

College students love their caffeine. It’s what gets us through the day (and night). But little do we know, we’re doing more harm than good.

Caffeine stimulates a part of your body called the adrenal glands. They’re little things near your kidneys. Even one cup of coffee and those little guys are going nuts.

Over time, with repeated hits of caffeine, your adrenal glands begin to weaken. So does the area around them, aka your back. For most people, this takes a long time to happen. For someone with a spine injury, like me, it can happen over the course of a day.

For college students with a caffeine habit akin to most coke fiends, it can take shorter than you think. Fortunately, there’s an easy solution.

Fruit. Yes, fruit.

Because what do we want from caffeine? The energy boost (thank you, adrenal glands). We need that energy boost to power through our next class, our next meeting, our next all-nighter.

What we don’t need is the damage to our back. You might not feel it now, but trust me, you will.

Believe it or not, though, you can get the exact same energy boost from fruit. An apple, a banana or even a kiwi-fruit will power you through your next class the same way a coffee will and it’s a heck of a lot better for you.

So next time you hear the siren call of the caffeine monster, do your adrenal glands a favor and grab a piece of fruit. You won’t regret it.