Are you looking for some alternatives to coffee? According to the National Coffee Association, nearly 90 percent of Americans drink coffee daily, and the U.S. spends about $40 billion dollars each year on coffee. Non-coffee sources, which include tea, energy drinks and oral supplements, make up a rising percentage of total caffeine consumption.
Whether you are a moderate, informed caffeine user or a self-proclaimed "caffeine freak," we could all benefit from a mindful approach to this daily ritual. Here are some wonderful alternatives to coffee.
1. Plain Water, Especially with Lemon
Increasing your energy levels can be as simple as drinking a glass of water frequently. Dehydration causes the body to become fatigued and so by staying hydrated, you get rid of the need to use stimulants such as caffeine to boost your energy levels. You'll find that water is one of the best alternatives to coffee. Hydration goes a long way toward ensuring the optimum functioning of the body and as such, the energy from the food you consume will be utilized properly all through the day.
Creamy coffee drinks offer an instant jolt of energy, but you may find yourself feeling sluggish as the caffeine wears off later in the afternoon. Sometimes, it’s the simple things that will stimulate your senses. “I find that the best waker-upper is water with lemon zest and lemon juice,” says Lisa Rinna, television host and author of Rinnavation: Getting Your Best Life Ever. She suggests adding the juice of half a lemon and a teaspoon of freshly grated zest to your H2O.
2. Coconut Water
Coconut water is one of the healthier drinks on the market, growing in popularity the fastest. Coconut water is a clear, milky liquid that comes from green, young coconuts. Coconut water is naturally sweet, contains bioactive enzymes and is chock full of rehydrating electrolytes, which makes it a good replacement for sugary sports drinks.
3. Sparkling Water
While it's not the most exciting beverage in the world, sparkling water can be a refreshing alternative to both coffee and water. Especially when flavored with natural, sugar-free, fruit extracts, sparkling water is delicious and hydrating. There is a lot of competition in the marketplace, from Perrier to San Pellegrino.
4. Peppermint Tea
Perk up with peppermint tea! As well as freshening your breath and calming your stomach after a meal, the cooling sensation of this minty drink is an instant revitalizer. “[Peppermint stimulates] the same nerve that’s activated when you revive someone with smelling salts,” says Alan Hirsch, director of the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation.
5. Green Tea
Green tea naturally has less caffeine than coffee. Drinking a cup of green tea adds just 26 milligrams of caffeine to your daily intake, compared to more than 100 milligrams per cup of black coffee. Green tea has additional health benefits, such as lowering your cholesterol levels, possibly helping reduce cancer risk and helping control your blood sugar levels.
6. Black Tea
If you don't like the taste of green tea, or if you need to wean yourself from coffee's high caffeine content gradually, black tea may be a good option. An 8-ounce cup of black tea contains between 20 and 100 milligrams of caffeine. Read the labels on the black tea bag packages to choose the lowest amount of caffeine you need. Drinking black tea can also help reduce your risk of developing cancer and coronary artery disease.
7. Apple Cider
Apple cider's sweet tanginess offers its own unique pick-me-up in lieu of caffeine, and its soothing warmth is just as satisfying as that of coffee on a cold fall or winter morning. In addition to its natural sweetness, because apples are the key ingredient, apple cider offers health benefits not available in coffee.
8. Hot Cocoa
Cocoa beans are a natural source of caffeine. Replace your daily cup of coffee with a mug of hot chocolate and you'll reduce the caffeine in your drink to just 10 milligrams. Look for a cocoa mix made with minimal or no sugar added, and skip the marshmallows for a sweet, lightly caffeinated hot drink that is loaded with healthy antioxidants.
If that steaming cup of coffee first thing in the morning gets your day off on a pleasurable foot, and you are not experiencing an acidic stomach and heart palpitations, go ahead and indulge—just be mindful of what you're indulging in!
Finding a replacement for coffee that you like is much more effective than trying to stop cold turkey. These are my favorite healthy coffee alternatives and I believe switching to one of them or something similar is an important part of coffee replacement.