You say you need your morning coffee to get up and go. But do you, really? Many consider the added costs of coffee too much — like increased agitation, nervousness, digestive issues, fatigue, and headaches.
For some, coffee is too bitter. For others, the taste of a regular cup of joe got too boring. Here are a few healthier and tasty alternatives to sip whether you’re a coffee lover or just drink it to beat the afternoon slump.
- Chicory Coffee
You can grind, roast and brew chicory root like coffee and avoid the jitters due to chicory’s caffeine-free status. Chicory root provides a high source of inulin, a starchy, soluble fiber that aids in digestion and adds good bacteria back into the gut, such as bifidobacteria and lactobacilli. The coffee helps the gallbladder make more bile, which helps with fat digestion.
Chicory root comes packaged like regular coffee, so all you have to do is add a few tablespoons in the filter and brew it based on your preference. Be careful not to over-consume chicory root if you already have digestive issues, since inulin can also cause gas and bloating in some people. More research is needed on chicory root’s interaction in those who are breastfeeding or pregnant, so exercise caution with consumption as well in these cases.
- Matcha Tea
The camellia sinensis plant produces leaves that people grind and dry into a powder to make matcha, a non-brewable green tea. You get more antioxidants since you consume the entire leaf, and this may reduce your high blood pressure risk. It may also lower the risk for type 2 diabetes and reduce body fat and weight.
People describe matcha as having an earthy flavor. Inside a ceramic bowl, sift two tablespoons of matcha powder using a strainer with fine mesh. Add hot water and stir until the powder dissolves, and whisk until frothy. Use a traditional “chase,” a bamboo tea whisk, for optimal results. To make a matcha tea latte, substitute steamed milk or non-dairy milk in place of the water.
- Golden Milk
Do you love the sensory experience of coffee — especially a chai latte with espresso or a mocha? Golden milk is the perfect, rich substitute, and it’s caffeine-free.
Turmeric, black pepper, cinnamon and ginger combine in the warm beverage of golden milk to invigorate the senses. Many also add vanilla, honey or cardamom. Turmeric contains natural anti-inflammatory properties because of the chemical curcumin, and black pepper helps the body absorb this chemical. The fats in whole milk also aid in the absorption of curcumin.
To make golden milk, combine a cup of milk or non-dairy milk with half a teaspoon of ground turmeric, a fourth teaspoon of cinnamon and an eighth teaspoon of ground ginger with one pinch of black pepper. Add extras such as honey to adjust the flavor to your preference. Stir frequently over medium heat, but avoid burning the beverage.
Be careful with using excessive amounts of turmeric because of its staining properties, much the same way people avoid coffee due to the fact that it can stain your teeth. Coffee also causes you to lose water and become dehydrated, so water-based citrus beverages also make good replacements for coffee.
- Lemon Water
Get your no-calorie, caffeine-free and vitamin C boost for the day with lemon water. It’s tart enough to wake you up and tasty enough to keep you invested in finishing your glass. Plus, hello hydration!
Vitamin C guards your skin against the sun’s rays, creates collagen and protects your immune system with its antioxidant properties. Prepare it by squeezing half the juice of a lemon into a cold cup of water, and include mint, basil, watermelon or other ingredients to customize your lemon water.
- Yerba Mate
Definitely need the caffeine? Try a cup of yerba mate, a natural source of caffeine derived from the dried leaves of the llex paraguriensis, a South American holly tree. One cup of yerba mate contains a similar amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee, and you also gain antioxidants, phosphorus, iron, calcium, riboflavin, thiamine and the vitamins C and E.
If you like bitter, you’ll get along well with a cup of Yerba Mate, but some prefer the word “smoky” for the flavor. Steep the leaves through a tea ball or using yerba mate tea bags. Consume yerba mate in moderation and keep it to well under a liter a day to gain the health benefits. Or, start with chai tea and work your way up from golden milk and lemon water.
Many alternatives to coffee exist and they can usually give you the same boost, with or without caffeine.
Featured image via Unsplash.