SOMETIMES we may want an alternative to coffee, whether because we want to add some variety in our morning routine, or to reduce our addiction to the caffeine rush.
When taken in moderation, caffeine has numerous positive effects. Aside from helping you stay alert, it has also been shown to improve your mood, provide temporary relief from headaches, and has even been shown to reduce the risk of developing major medical issues such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and stroke.
However, like most things, when taken in large amounts, caffeine has various effects on the body which are potentially harmful to your health. For instance, research has found that consuming more than three cups a day on a regular basis may trigger atrial fibrillation, an irregular heartbeat that can lead to other cardiovascular issues.
There is also a question of whether too much caffeine might negatively affect bone density, increasing your risk of osteoporosis. One study found this to be the case for menopausal women with high caffeine intakes.
Caffeine can also negatively impact your health by disturbing your sleep if it is consumed within six hours of bedtime. When you are sleep deprived, it makes it harder to function efficiently during the day. Sleep is also when your body heals, making it important for overall health and immunity.
Whatever your motivation, here are five great alternatives to coffee that will help make your day just as productive thanks to the range of energy-boosting nutrients and flavours you can find in these great drinks.
Your body constantly needs hydration to feel its best, especially when you first wake up, so an ordinary glass of cold water with a portion of lemon juice can wake you up in the morning with a jolt of citrusy freshness just as well as a cup of hot coffee can, and it’ll leave you feeling cleaner and brighter, minus the caffeine buzz. Citrus fruits are high in vitamin C, an antioxidant that promotes a healthy immune system, and lemon has even been shown to aid digestion. Drink your citrus water plain or, mix your lemon juice with sparkling water for a fizzy taste.
Thanks to our tropical weather, this is a popular drink when you want to cool down during hot days. But it is also gaining popularity as a coffee alternative as it also helps provide a mood-improving buzz when taken first thing in the morning. Found in the centre of young green coconuts, coconut water is also super hydrating – it’s almost all water (and only a bit coconut). It’s refreshing and delicately sweet, and it’s full of natural electrolytes like potassium, along with other essential vitamins and minerals like magnesium and calcium.
Known locally as “air nabeez”, infused date water is a popular drink during the fasting month, thanks to its energy boosting reputation. More and more people are beginning to include it in their daily routine as well, as it also helps regulate blood glucose levels. It is made by soaking a handful of dates overnight in water, and is best consumed within three days. Date water will be infused with the same fibre, vitamins and minerals contained in dates, and is naturally sweet as well. For an added boost of protein, you can also soak the dates in milk.
Tea, with its lower and less addictive caffeine content, is a smart alternative to coffee. Green tea, in particular, is one of the healthiest drinks out there; it’s full of catechins, antioxidants that help prevent cell damage and even many chronic diseases. The natural caffeine, antioxidants, and water contained in green tea can help you liven up, feel great, and even burn calories a bit faster. Drink it iced on a hot day to stay cool, or drink it hot to warm you up in an air-conditioned room.
Ginger is best known for its digestion benefits, and is a favourite home remedy for those looking to get rid of “angin”, or to minimise stomach upset after a heavy meal. But ginger tea has other benefits – along with relieving nausea and improving digestion, it relieves congestion, helps blood flow, and alleviates stress. The next time you wake up with a stuffy nose and a cough on the day of that big presentation, just do some mild stretches, and brew a hot mug of ginger tea.