Where would we be without coffee? It doesn’t seem to matter how many hours of sleep we get; we don’t feel completely awake and refreshed until we’ve dragged ourselves out of bed and had our first coffee of the day. For many of us, it’s part of our morning ritual, consumed slowly as we either read the newspaper or watch morning television. As a stimulant, it helps us to shake off the cobwebs and give us the energy that we need to start our day.
For some people, however, coffee comes with some drawbacks. Coffee can make us anxious and jittery. It can lead to ‘crashes’ as the caffeine wears off the later in the day. If we drink too much of it, coffee can even become addictive. Various studies have shown that caffeine triggers the same areas of our brain that get triggered when we play and win from online slots. Perhaps that’s why there are so many online slots themed around the idea of coffee, from “Coffee Dreaming” to “Coffee Magic.” A good cup of coffee might be able to lift you up, but it can also put you on edge until you’re able to drink your next cup. Just as people who win at online slots don’t necessarily win for long, your coffee doesn’t necessarily keep you sharp and alert all day, or even all morning.
Nobody wants to spend their day feeling anxious or on edge, and none of us want to become slaves to caffeine.
If you’re worried that it might be happening to you, try one of these alternatives to coffee for your morning boost instead.
Golden Milk has been a morning drink in India, where it’s known as “haldi ka doodh,” for several centuries. More recently, it’s emerged as a global health craze, much to the delight of the Indian press! All kinds of health benefits have been ascribed to golden milk, including better memory, greater bone density, and reduced inflammation in people with arthritis. Although some of the science behind those claims needs further research, there’s no doubt that a nice, warm milk-based drink that includes cinnamon, turmeric, and ginger is likely to be doing more good for you than harm. You can make it a little sweeter by adding honey and vanilla to suit your palate if you wish.
Yerba Mate Tea
Every region of the world has its own take on the basic idea of ‘tea,’ and this one comes from South America. As the name implies, it’s made using the leaves of the Yerba Mate, and the indigenous people of the region have been using it to boost their energy levels since time immemorial. The caffeine content of one cup of Yerba Mate tea is roughly equivalent to one cup of coffee, so you shouldn’t find yourself going through caffeine withdrawal if this is the replacement route you decide to take. You’ll notice a slight chocolate taste thanks to the theobromine content, which is a pleasant bonus, and proponents of the tea swear that it lowers the risk of heart disease because of its antioxidants, too. This can be a little hard to get hold of in some places, but in terms of caffeine and taste, it’s the best ‘match’ for coffee you’ll find.
Matcha tea is probably the best-known of all the coffee replacements, and if you can get past the fact that it’s a disturbing shade of green, it’s a great morning drink. The caffeine content of the drink is balanced out by the high L-theanine content, which is proven to be a relaxant without any drowsiness as a side effect. Together, that gives you a caffeine high with the relaxant there to take the edge off the anxiety side of things. You could also consider Matcha tea as a complete liquid breakfast. Because the entire leaf of the plant is ground up to create the tea, you get a dose of fiber when you drink it. If you’re not big on the idea of eating first thing in the morning, this might be enough to ‘put you on’ until you’re a little hungrier later in the day.
Other Teas – Black, Green, White, Rooibos
These teas are slightly lower in caffeine, rich in the amino acid L-theanine, and have powerful antioxidants that can stimulate your brain. The health benefits of teas span the gamut from digestive health and immune boosting properties to weight loss and steady energy.
Water with Lemon
Simple and satisfying, warm water with fresh lemon juice is super-hydrating and is also a great primer for the digestive system.
A smoothie packed with nutrients will help sustain energy and give your brain a boost throughout the morning – and even through the day. Try loading it with fruits, veggies, nut butters, and/or protein powder for a full profile of nutrition. It will help relieve stress, avoid adrenal fatigue, and keep your hunger satisfied for hours.
Coffee is such a popular drink that it can be a little scary to think about cutting the cord – especially when so many people automatically offer you one when you walk into their office or home! You don’t have to be a slave to the old routine any longer if coffee is a cause for concern. Grab yourself one of these healthy alternatives, and get the same morning boost without the anxiety that follows later.
Gawron-Gzella A, Chanaj-Kaczmarek J, Cielecka-Piontek J. Yerba Mate-A Long but Current History. Nutrients. 2021 Oct 21;13(11):3706. doi: 10.3390/nu13113706. PMID: 34835962; PMCID: PMC8622869.
Idowu-Adebayo F, Fogliano V, Linnemann A. Turmeric-Fortified Cow and Soya Milk: Golden Milk as a Street Food to Support Consumer Health. Foods. 2022 Feb 16;11(4):558. doi: 10.3390/foods11040558. PMID: 35206034; PMCID: PMC8871262.
by Maria Orlando Pietromonaco