There's no denying how rough finals week is. We walk around in haze of coffee fueled madness, trying to study for massive cumulative exams on topics we haven't thought about since August and finish writing pages and pages of research papers without crashing and burning. 

However, it comes as no surprise that drinking insane amounts of coffee and caffeine packed energy drinks can take a toll on your health. Aside from causing irritability, stomach problems and increase heartbeat, caffeine can also cause more severe issues. You can actually overdose from ingesting excessive amounts of caffeine.

This finals season, give your poor body a break and try out some of these caffeine alternatives.

1. Nuts

Torey Walsh
Nuts like walnuts, almonds and and pecans are chock full of nutrients that will keep you awake in the midst of your panicked studying. The combo of protein, carbs and calories in most nuts makes them perfect for increasing energy levels.

2. Wheatgrass

tea, matcha, green tea
Liza Keller

Wheatgrass is a kind of grass that is packed with nutrients that will give you that burst of energy you crave. A shot of wheatgrass juice contains chlorophyll, protein and tons of vitamins which all contribute to its energy producing capabilities. Bring a tall glass of wheatgrass juice to the library with you and you're sure to stay awake and focused.

3. Lemon Water

lemon, water, lemonade
Caroline Liu

Staying hydrated is key to staying energized. Cut out your morning coffee and replace it with a cool glass of lemon water. Drinking a daily glass of lemon water can boost energy, reduce anxiety and reduce depression. There's no reason not to add this citrus-y drink to your finals routine, it's the perfect caffeine alternative.

4. Leafy Greens

spinach, vegetable, salad, basil, lettuce, relish, herb
Kristine Mahan

Dark leafy greens like spinach and kale have tons of chlorophyll and are high in nutrients but they have very few calories which makes them a home run. If you're not a salad fan, try getting your green fix with a green smoothie. I recommend this one or this guide. Just don't slurp your smoothie too loudly in the library.

5. Citrus

lemon, juice, citrus, citron, lime, lemonade, lemon peel
Emma Glubiak
According to the National Sleep Foundation, citrus is a naturally energizing scent, which makes it the perfect caffeine alternative. Smelling a grapefruit, an orange or a lemon can actually increase your body's production of serotonin- the hormone that makes you feel happy. If exam stress has got you down, grab a lemon and give it a sniff or cut into a grapefruit ASAP.

6. Eggs

egg, avocado, fried egg, bread, sandwich, toast, bacon
Emma Glubiak

Eggs are jam packed with protein and essential amino acids which makes them ideal caffeine alternatives. Don't grab coffee in the morning and call that your breakfast. Even though it might take a bit longer, making some eggs will mean you'll feel fuller and more energized for a longer period of time. Here are 18 ways to cook eggs so you'll never get bored of this energizing ingredient. 

7. Beans

Mr Beans

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Beans beans beans, the magical fruit, they'll give you tons of energy. They've got plenty of protein and fiber for long-lasting energy and stabilized blood sugar levels.  Make yourself this black bean burger for lunch to reap all the benefits of these nutrient caffeine alternatives.

8. Carob Powder

banana, chocolate, coconut, peanut
Emma Glubiak

Carob powder is a key ingredient in many natural energy bars and açai bowls. It's similar to cocoa powder, but it is naturally sweet and packed with fiber which ensures an energy boost when you need it. Try making these energy balls so you have something to munch on when that caffeine craving hits.

9. Salmon

Photo by Casey Lee | Unsplash

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Hello, omega 3's. Salmon is full of protein and Omega-3 fatty acid, both of which make this fish a slam dunk for anyone looking for a source of energy. Salmon is also a great source of vitamin B6, niacin and riboflavin all of which can help keep you fresh and energized. Try out this baked salmon with lemon over a bed a spinach for the most energizing meal ever.

10. Dark Chocolate

herb, condiment, relish
Christin Urso

Bring on the Trader Joe's dark chocolate treats. Researchers from Kingston University said earlier this year that "epicatechin, a plant chemical particularly abundant in dark chocolate, gives the body a boost by widening the blood vessels." They basically found that people who ate dark chocolate were able to exercise for longer periods of time than people who didn't eat dark chocolate. That's reason enough to keep some candy at your desk.

11. Bran Cereal

sweet, potato, vegetable
Aakanksha Joshi

Like many of the foods on this list, bran is high in protein and fiber, which is a combo that keeps the body full and energized for a long period of time. Dress up your bran cereal with some dark chocolate or some nut butter for an added energy boost.

12. Quinoa

cereal, millet, wheat, quinoa, condiment, corn, sesame seed
Christin Urso

Quinoa is a very healthy protein source. One cup of quinoa is packed with 2 grams of fiber and 4.5 grams of protein which is pretty decent for a food that is eaten like a grain. Since quinoa is a complete protein, the energy you get from eating it will be released slowly and last you for your whole cram session. Here are 8 creative ways to get your quinoa fix.

13. Chicken

chicken, pork, barbecue, meat
Christin Urso
If you want to get your protein from meat, your best bet is lean meat like chicken. Lean meats are high in protein, iron and B vitamins that can help keep your sleepiness at bay.  If you are bored with grilled chicken, check out these 15 creative recipes for this protein packed caffeine alternative.

14. Beets

beet, vegetable, beet root, sweet
Katie Zizmor

Beets are similar to dark chocolate in that they open up blood vessels to increase oxygen flow which makes exercise easier. Beets are also good sources of fiber, antioxidants and nitrates which could give your brain that boost it needs to finish your paper. Beets may not be as delicious as chocolate but these recipes sure give chocolate a run for its money.

The end of the semester is a stressful time both mentally and physically. Give your body a break from the harmful effects of caffeine by trying out some of these tasty alternatives.