Drinking coffee is more than just a daily routine, it has become a cultural norm in many societies. Despite the health benefits of drinking coffee in moderation, too much caffeine has negative side effects. Coffee can cause insomnia, high blood pressure and has side effects such as jitters. Luckily, there are various alternatives that can spice up your morning routine and give you a healthier energy boost.
Not only is chicory full of prebiotic fiber inulin, it is also known to improve digestion and your blood sugar control. Chicory is a ground root and when it is roasted, it contains no volatile oils or aromatics that can be found in roasted coffee beans. Chicory may also support weight loss and it is easy to add to your diet. To prepare a chicory coffee, you simply grind it or buy it as a powder and add hot water just as you would with regular coffee.
Chicory dates back longer than most herbs. Ancient Egyptians believed that it had therapeutic properties and could be used to purify the blood and treat liver problems. Today, it is especially popular in New Orleans, however people are exploring drinking this caffeine-free option all over the world. It can be sweetened with sugar or honey and lightened with milk or cream just like coffee. Finally, chicory is also an affordable alternative costing as little as $7.99 per pound in the USA.
A smoothie isn’t something that one thinks of when they crave a boost of energy. However, depending on the ingredients, it can provide your body with exactly what it needs to get the day started. Vitamins such as B-12, and C, and iron can do much more for your body than a plain old cup of coffee. Plus, it is a meal as well as a beverage and can be part of a healthy, balanced diet.
Recommended natural ingredients that are best for energy include, but are not limited to peaches, apricots, nectarines, plums, cherries, oranges, lemons, limes, bananas, cherimoya, dates, guava, lychee, passion fruit, papaya, persimmons and pineapples. The amazing thing about smoothies is that you can add other powders including protein or other healthy ingredients. Also, it’s impossible to get sick of smoothies because you can change up the flavors every day.
While matcha does contain caffeine, it has a lot less of it than coffee or even black tea. Matcha is a type of green tea made by taking young tea leaves and grinding them into a bright green powder. It is concentrated so it is stronger than regular green tea. While it can be a little bitter on its own, it can be sweetened just like coffee. Matcha is great because it is high in antioxidants, may help protect the liver, boosts brain function and is said to help with weight loss. In addition to this, it may help prevent cancer and promote heart health.
One of the best things about matcha is that it is super easy to prepare. Just drop the powder in hot water and stir it until it is mixed in. Another perk to matcha is that it contains L-Theanine. This natural calming agent balances out the caffeine, so drinking it gives you a calm, focused and happy kind of energy. Matcha also has 10 times the antioxidants of a cup of regular green tea.
Caffeine isn’t the only source of energy, and golden milk has none of it to speak of. Also known as turmeric milk, golden milk is a common Indian drink that has many health benefits. It incorporates spices such as ginger, cinnamon, turmeric and black pepper. It is common to add cardamom, vanilla and honey, although there really is no limit to what you can add. Not only is golden milk healthy, it is also Instagram-worthy with its beautiful yellow color.
Golden milk has many health benefits. It contains anti-inflammatory properties which can help prevent or manage conditions including heart disease, cancer, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease and metabolic syndrome. Other benefits include preventing cell damage, improving one’s mood, supporting brain function, improving memory, lowering blood sugar levels and boosting the immune system. When preparing golden milk, many chose to include dairy milk or non-dairy milk alternatives.
While it is not an exciting or exotic new concept, drinking water has so many health benefits. Especially when it is done regularly, starting with first thing in the morning. Adding lemon isn’t just for flavor either, it does wonders for your body! Not only is lemon water calorie free and caffeine free, it is also super easy to prepare. Adding the juice of just half a lemon (1 tablespoon or 15 ml) to 1 cup (237 ml) of cold water provides 10% of your RDI for vitamin C.
Another benefit of drinking lemon water in the morning is that it helps your immune system and protects your skin from sun damage. There are so many expensive products out there that supplement collagen. However, water is a natural and essential way to create it naturally. Collages is a protein that provides the basic structure for your skin and nails. Even if you don’t trade in your cup of coffee for lemon water, consider drinking one first thing and let the natural magic happen.
The most obvious coffee alternative is tea. While some teas do contain caffeine, others do not. Rooibos tea is a great example of a caffeine-free tea that originates in South Africa. Unlike many other teas and coffee, rooibos is low in tannin antioxidants. While these are beneficial, they can also interfere with the absorption of iron which can cause many health issues. Although it is low in tannin, rooibos tea has many other antioxidants. Despite limited studies, it is believed that rooibos may help protect against heart disease and potentially reduce the risk of cancer.
Chai tea is another popular morning beverage and while it has less caffeine than coffee, it still contains it. Other than the ability to wake you up in the morning, chai tea can also help improve digestion, alleviate nausea, and help with pains and aches. It is also great for overall cell help which can help prevent chronic diseases and improve both hearth health and immunity.
Finally, containing as much caffeine as a regular cup of coffee, there’s yerba mate tea. This herbal tea is made from dried leaves of the South American holly tree and it has a particular flavor. Yerba mate tea is believed to have even more antioxidants than green tea. Other healthy properties include several minerals and vitamins, including riboflavin, thiamine, phosphorus, iron, calcium and vitamins C and E. yerba mate tea
Not just for hipsters, this fizzy drink is great for health as well as energy. Combusa is produced by fermented tea, sugar, fungi and bacteria. It can help boost energy and protect the body from cancer. Drinking kombucha is said to be a good way to detox your body, lose weight and have a better immune system. During the fermentation process of kombucha, there is a release of iron, caffeine and B-vitamins. All these give you a much-needed boost in the morning.
Mushrooms are one of those superfoods that is still not too mainstream. Lately, many companies have started incorporating mushrooms into beverages to create a healthy powder. Companies such as MUD/WTR create packets of instant “coffee” that contain less caffeine than the normal cup of coffee and it has other health benefits too. Depending on the mushrooms used, there are various benefits including riboflavin, which is great for heart health and red blood cells.
Bottom line – moderation
Coffee is not a horrible beverage that you should avoid at all costs. Caffeine and coffee can and should be enjoyed in moderation. There are many health benefits to drinking a cup of coffee and incorporating caffeine into your diet. However, too much of a good thing can be bad. Caffeine is associated with various health issues and many people are searching for alternatives. Whether you choose to drink one of these beverages instead of coffee, or include them into a diet in addition to it, they all have their own health benefits. Mixing up your routine can be a great way to be healthier and discover something new that works for you.
Title photo: Candice Picard on Unsplash
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