Make the Switch: Here Are 5 Healthy and Energizing Alternatives to Coffee

By on February 15, 2018

By Erin Young—

Hooked on the buzz from your daily cup of coffee but don’t like the caffeine crash? We have 5 energizing alternatives that can keep you energized in a healthier way. But first, let’s discuss why you might like to moderate your coffee habit.

How Much Coffee is Too Much?

The daily recommended average is 3-4 cups (400mg of caffeine), and exceeding this number can lead to certain adverse effects on your health (1). If you’re doing just that and drinking more than you think you should, here are some things to look out for:

  • Weight Gain: As relaxing as a good cup of coffee may seem, the caffeine in it actually boosts the level of the stress hormone cortisol (2), which has been proven to lead to weight gain (3). 
  • Energy Loss: Caffeine as a stimulant to your adrenal system provides an effective short-time energy boost, but results in a slump of fatigue afterwards.
  • Mineral Deficiency: Caffeine hinders sufficient iron intake, and reduces your storage of calcium, zinc, magnesium and other essential minerals (4).
  • Poor Sleep: A cup of coffee late in the evening is rarely a good idea. Caffeine’s energy boost stays for 4-6 hours and can get in the way of proper sleep (5).

So what else can you drink? For starters, here are 5 healthy and energizing alternatives to help keep your coffee fix in check:

1. Matcha Green Tea Powder

 Matcha green tea in powder form comes from the whole green tea leaf being stone ground, and is being favoured by more people as a coffee substitute.

A two gram serving of matcha only has the equivalent of a fifth of coffee’s caffeine, but due to its amino acid content, is absorbed by your body much slower (6-8 hours). This means it’s perfect to start the day, and you won’t feel the same annoying jitters to begin with (6).

Matcha also happens to be packed with health benefits. This immunity-boosting drink promotes weight-loss (7), and contains cancer-fighting antioxidants (8). It also has the highest natural concentration of the amino acid L-theanine, which helps in promoting concentration and better memory (9).

To drink matcha, simply dissolve two teaspoons of the powder in a cup of hot water, stir, and enjoy!

To receive the full range of health benefits, make sure you buy high-quality matcha green tea powder from Japan.

2. Water

If you have been dealing with surprising bouts of fatigue, you might just be dehydrated. While unknown to many, fatigue is actually a primary symptom of dehydration.

The common mistake of most people is to drink water only when thirsty. But as a matter of fact, thirst is one of the last symptoms you will actually feel when you are dehydrated.

Without enough hydration, your body simply becomes weaker. A study on athletes found that dehydration was directly linked to their capacity for exercise (10).

The recommended daily water consumption is two litres.

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!

3. Green Smoothie or Green Vegetable Juices

 You might be surprised what wonders green vegetables can do for your body. Spinach, for instance, is a prime source for iron which helps keep anaemia away. Ladies, you are more prone to this.

A glass of green juice a day can also help improve cardiovascular health. A study revealed that drinking 300ml of green juice a day in a span of 6 weeks lowered LDL-Cholesterol by 9% (11). Impressive!

While green juices are an acquired taste, try to limit sweet ingredients to keep the sugar low.

Quick Recipe: Try juicing a handful each of kale, spinach, cucumber, celery, two slices of fresh ginger, and two pieces of green apple.

For an added energy boost, throw in a superfood supplement such as spirulina, barley greens, or matcha green tea powder.

4. Yerba mate

Those who have traveled to South America might recall how crazy locals are for this herbal beverage. A product of the leaves of the Yerba mate plant, “mate” (pronounced mah-teh as commonly called) is a drink not too different from green tea in the way it is sourced, prepared, and even how it tastes.

To drink mate, you steep the leaves in hot water and serve in a hollow wooden bowl. You sip it with a metal straw.

Mate contains about three quarters of coffee’s caffeine content, but like matcha green tea also packs all kinds of health benefits from amino acids.

Why do South Americans love it? Mainly because of the buzz it produces – a natural high!

5. Protein based smoothie

 Protein is premium fuel for your body’s energy. Research shows that protein increases 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 choices include Greek yogurt, 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.

“Does this mean I should stop drinking coffee?”

  • Not necessarily. Finding alternatives doesn’t mean you should completely stop enjoying coffee. Just remember to drink in moderation!
  • Consuming healthier drinks will positively affect to your diet, introducing your body to health benefits you may have been missing out on all these years.
  • For a balance of energy increase and natural health benefits, matcha green tea is your best bet among the above mentioned alternatives.
  • When it comes to maintaining a high and sustainable energy level, it’s important to stay hydrated with water and have a substantial intake of protein.


Erin Young is a health food writer and a tea expert. She owns two tea companies; Evergreen Matcha in the USA and Zen Green Tea Matcha in Australia. She partners with sustainable tea farms in Kyoto, Japan to source her premium matcha green tea powder. Want a free Matcha Recipe book with over 30 healthy recipes delivered to your inbox? Click here.  

 

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Make the Switch: Here Are 5 Healthy and Energizing Alternatives to Coffee