I’ve never been a coffee drinker but many people – my clients included – have a love-hate relationship with the beverage. There’s no doubt it’s addictive and not just because of the caffeine. Many coffee-drinkers report that they’re just as tied to the experience of drinking coffee as they are the energy it gives them. Regardless of where you land on that spectrum, if you’re looking for some healthy coffee alternatives, I’ve got you covered.
But just how bad is coffee for you? The research is conflicted with experts divided on the pros and cons of caffeine and the growing culture around coffee from trendy coffee shops to the latest coffee-inspired foods and beverages doesn’t help. My take: If you’re relying on coffee – or any type of caffeine – to get you through the day, you may need to cut back.
Here’s why: Caffeine provides a false source of energy – one that your body hasn’t made. If you’re feeling low on energy and you fix it with a dose of caffeine, you’re running on manufactured energy. I advise all clients who are reliant on caffeine to look at what lifestyle habits they can tweak whether it’s sleep, diet or exrcise to feel energized naturally. Caffeine may seem like a simple, harmless fix but over time, using it in this way can tax your adrenal glands. I recommend no more than one cup of coffee per day.
If you’re looking to cut back on coffee or caffeine, these are a few healthy coffee alternatives you can try.
One // Herbal or Green Tea: If you’re someone who likes the feeling you get from coffee – the comfort of sipping a warm drink – try subbing coffee for herbal tea or green tea if you want a little hit of caffeine.
Two // Matcha: While I can’t tolerate caffeine, Matcha is a favorite because although it does contain caffeine (think of it like a super-powered green tea) it has none of the jitters that caffeine provides and tons of other health benefits like anti-oxidants and amino acids. I feel calm and focused.
Three // Yerba Matte: If you’re looking for something with the strength of coffee but the health benefits of tea and the pick-me-up of chocolate, check out Yerba Matte, a beverage made from a tree indigenous to the rainforests of South America. It does contain caffeine, but also boasts theophylline and theobromine giving it all the qualities of coffee, tea and chocolate in one drink. It’s less acidic than coffee and also much more nutritionally dense with 24 vitamins and minerals, 15 amino acids and lots of antioxidants. Use this to replace your one cup per day.
Four // Herbal Coffee: If you love the taste of coffee but want to kick your caffeine habit, an herbal coffee substitute may be for you. Brewed with grains, seeds, fruit and nuts, one cup offers the flavor of coffee with the health benefits of herbal tea, is less acidic and easier on the digestive tract. You can brew it like coffee or steep it like tea.
I love: Teeccino Coffee Variety Pack
Five // Chaga Mushroom Tea and Coffee: Chaga mushrooms are a powerful superfood used for hundreds of years and most known for their high levels of free radical-fighting antioxidants, but that’s not all. They’re anti-viral, reduce inflammation, boost immunity and improve physical endurance. Since when can you get all of that in one cup of coffee?
Regardless of where you fall on the coffee-loving/addiction spectrum, there’s an option for anyone looking for healthy coffee alternatives. Which are you most eager to try?