3 Healthy, Energizing Alternatives to Coffee
Are you looking to cut back on your coffee habit?
If you are having trouble sleeping, feeling low on energy or putting on weight around the middle then you might be overdosing on caffeine.
Where not here to tell you that you shouldn’t drink coffee. Coffee in moderation is completely fine. The problem is if you are caffeine overdosing. This means you feel the negative side effects of caffeine. These side effects can be felt if you are sensitive to caffeine or you have more than the daily recommended 400 mg of caffeine (two espressos).
What are the signs of too much caffeine?
Everyone reacts differently to caffeine; your genes, for example, are just one factor that play a big role in how quickly you metabolize caffeine. This means that some people can have a high tolerance and others feel the effects even from a small amount of caffeine.
Here are some of the typical side effects of too much caffeine:
- Disrupted sleep: Caffeine stays in your nervous system for 4–6 hours, so even if you feel fatigued when you go to bed, the caffeine can still disrupt your sleep. (5)
- Low energy: Caffeine stimulates the body’s adrenal system, which boosts energy for a short time but then crashes it to leave you fatigued.
- Weight gain: Caffeine in coffee can increase the level of your stress hormone cortisol, which can cause weight gain. (2, 3)
- Mineral deficiency: Caffeine affects iron absorption in your stomach. It also reduces your kidneys’ ability to store calcium, zinc, magnesium and other important minerals. (4)
Here are 3 healthy alternatives to coffee:
Cutting back on your caffeine consumption is surprisingly simple. A great way to start is just to make some small simple swaps when you are reaching for that second or third cup to healthier alternatives.
Here are 3 healthy and energizing alternatives:
Matcha tea is an amazing substitute for coffee.
Matcha is the healthiest form of green tea. It is made by turning the whole tea leaf into a fine powder which dissolves in water to form a vibrant, non-bitter and delicious green tea.
Matcha is an incredible energy source. In fact, the caffeine in matcha is delivered slowly into your system (over a 6-hour period) so you receive a long and sustained energy boost.
Coffee, on the other hand, is quite abrasive to your system. When you drink coffee, all the caffeine is released quickly (causing “coffee jitters”) and then leaves quickly causing a coffee “slump” a few hours later.
What’s more, unlike coffee, matcha doesn’t spike your blood sugar or increase insulin or cortisol (stress hormone) release. Matcha also has the highest levels of L-theanine, a rare amino acid that promotes a state of relaxed alertness. How cool is that!
Learn more here: Matcha health benefits
Did you know that fatigue is actually a primary symptom of dehydration?
Thirst is one of the last symptoms you will feel when you are dehydrated.
Without enough hydration, your body simply becomes weaker and tired. A study on athletes found that dehydration was directly linked to their capacity for exercise (10).
The recommended daily water consumption is two litres. So next time you are feeling tired, drink a big glass of water and see if this helps!
Healthy Tip: Pack a drink bottle when you go out so you have no excuse not to drink water. You can also add flavour to your water by mixing in some sliced fruit and fresh herbs. Watermelon, cucumber, and ginger make for tasty and refreshing mixes!
- Protein based smoothie
Protein is one of the best fuels for your body’s energy. Research shows that protein is brain food- it helps increase alertness and concentration, as it stimulates the brain chemical orexin into production mode (12).
For a sustainable level of energy, why not introduce a protein-based smoothie into your diet?
Common protein-packed smoothie choices include Greek yoghurt, silken tofu, nut butter, and raw cashews. For a thicker consistency, you may also add hemp hearts, chia seeds, ground flax seeds, and whole oats.
Quick Recipe: Blend the following ingredients until smooth: 3/4 cup almond milk, 2 tablespoons almond butter, 1/4 cup raw cashews (soaked overnight in water), 1 banana (frozen chunks), 2 tablespoons whole oats, and a pinch of cinnamon.
You don’t have to give up coffee, but you should moderate your consumption. There are plenty of healthy alternatives to coffee that will keep you energized all day. The healthiest choice is matcha powder if you are looking for an antioxidant powerhouse. You should also look to increase your water and protein consumption to keep your body fuelled.