Reduce Your Coffee Intake Naturally
It’s bad news for coffee lovers in America, earlier this year a Los Angeles judge ruled that coffee sellers in California must include a cancer warning on their products due to a carcinogen in the popular drink. The carcinogen in question is called acrylamide - a white, colourless chemical formed as a byproduct of the roasting process.
Scary stuff, right? But it’s not as panic-inducing as it first seems. While acrylamide is a carcinogen, a 2016 study by the International Agency for Research on Cancer under the World Health Organisation found limited conclusive evidence of a carcinogenic effect from drinking coffee.
That all said, if your regular cup of joe has lost some of its appeal, check out some of the best caffeine alternatives below, so you’ve got something to pull you out of bed every morning.
1. Green Tea
Probably the most popular substitute for coffee, green tea holds about 35mg of caffeine per cup. It’s less than a latte, but it will still give you that much-needed energy boost in the morning and it’s a whole lot healthier. Green tea’s health benefits include lowering your risk of some types of cancer and diseases including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, killing bacteria to improve dental health and boosting your metabolic rate.
If you’re not used to the taste, try adding half a teaspoon of honey to sweeten.
All the rage right now, Matcha is made up of powdered green tea leaves and offers a super healthy caffeine jolt. It’s slightly more difficult to make than your regular green tea, but because you ingest the high-quality powder, rather than the herb infusion, the health benefits are much higher. It’s high in antioxidants, can boost brain function, prevent cancer, and protect your heart.
It’s worth pointing out that matcha can be bitter, so a lot of places that sell it add a ton of sugar to make it taste delicious. If you’re looking for something healthy, make your own and add a teaspoon of Manuka honey for an even more powerful health kick.
3. Black Tea
If green tea isn’t your thing, good old-fashioned black tea contains more caffeine than its green counterpart without causing the jittery effects that you get from your regular cup of joe. Black tea is also said to help reduce your risk of developing cancer and coronary artery disease.
Essentially just a spruced up version of black tea, Chai has the tasty additions of spices including cinnamon, ginger and cardamom while offering that much-needed wake-me-up. Probably the tastiest way to get over coffee.
Still in the tea family, Kombucha is a probiotic fermented drink that does wonders for your health. Fizzy, cold and often sweet, it’s probably the caffeine alternative most dissimilar to coffee. But being essentially sweetened black tea, it will give you a caffeine-induced mental refresh at any time in the day. Plus its deliciously tangy flavour will make a Kombucha-addict out of you, which is no bad thing considering the beverage packs a mighty health punch.
I know we all either rolled out eyes or retched when wheatgrass shots started filling up in cafes and health stores, but considering all the goodness a shot of wheatgrass offers, it really doesn’t deserve such a bad reputation. It might not taste the best, but it’s a natural energiser packed with essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients and since you only need to stomach a shot of it to get all great benefits, who cares that it’s not winning any tasty awards.
If you haven’t already heard of Teeccino, it’s basically a tasty coffee substitute made of carob, dates, and almonds. The ingredient list is caffeine-free, but it does have that delicious dark, roasted flavour very similar to coffee. So if it’s the taste rather than the caffeine you’re after, this is the one you want. Teecino has also been touted for having multiple health benefits and tends to be good for people with digestive issues.
If you’re looking to get away from caffeine completely, this might trick your brain into thinking you’re drinking coffee, without any of the caffeine side effects.
8. Yerba Maté
A South American special, yerba maté is a caffeine-heavy drink that makes it a great alternative to coffee. It’s made much like tea – by steeping the leaves and twigs of the yerba maté plant in hot water. An eight-ounce cup can contain about 30 milligrams of caffeine.
While it gives a similar buzz to coffee, it’s also packed with amino acids, antioxidants and minerals, so if you’re looking for a big dose of caffeine with added health benefits, this is the one to try.
9. Hot Chocolate
There’s nothing more indulgent than chocolate in the morning. Specifically, hot cacao, which is basically the healthier version of hot cocoa and it contains caffeine. Cacao is processed at low temperatures meaning that all the natural antioxidants, enzymes and nutrients remain intact. It’s actually one of the highest-containing antioxidant foods in the world and also a rich source of magnesium.
To make hot cacao you will first need to buy a high-quality cacao powder. Add a teaspoon of the powder to enough hot water to make a paste and then add warm milk (any dairy-free alternative can be used here, such as almond or coconut). You can also add spice powder (ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, vanilla, or anything you fancy) alongside the cacao powder before mixing with hot water.