Are There Healthier Alternatives To Coffee?

I feel I should start this post with a confession…I don’t drink coffee. I just can’t get away with the bitterness. I know that I am in the minority though. Even here in the UK where tea is practically a religion, coffee has been making major ground as the hot drink of choice. As wonderful and frankly necessary as many find it though, it’s becoming increasingly common to hear people say they are either cutting down or cutting out coffee. Perhaps you’re one of them, seeking to reduce your post-coffee jitters, the afternoon energy slump, or improve the quality of your sleep. If you are and the idea is scary then check out this list of alternatives to ease the transition.

Chicory Coffee

If you love your morning cup and can’t stand the idea of giving it up, then one option is ground chicory root. Of all the options listed here, it’s the only coffee alternative that gives the taste and mouthfeel of coffee. Top tip – to make it richer and for even more health benefits try adding a little coconut oil.

Chicory contains no caffeine so if you’re reducing your coffee intake to reduce jitters or improve your sleep chicory has potential. As an extra bonus chicory contains lots of the fibre inulin which aids digestion.

Yerba Mate

You may not have heard of this one unless you’ve spent time in South America where it’s as common as tea or coffee is here. Yerba Mate is made from leaves, which come from a type of holly. It does contain caffeine and so will give you an energy boost and improved concentration, but its fans say there is far less of a caffeine-high and energy slump effect.

Yerba Mate also contains an impressive number of nutrients and antioxidants including vitamin C; E, calcium, and iron.

Matcha

Matcha has been drunk as a form of green tea for centuries in Japan and China. It boasts an impressive array of health benefits and is becoming steadily more popular here in the west. It’s packed with antioxidants that have been proven to help prevent cell damage and improve heart health.

It contains caffeine if you’re looking for an energy boost. Unlike coffee, though it contains L-theanine which allows you to enjoy improved concentration and an energy hit but reduces the slump coffee can produce.

A word of caution though! Matcha can be hard on the stomach so start with a small amount and do not drink it on an empty stomach. If you ignore these rules, I can tell you from experience all the benefits may quickly disappear as your head is hanging over the toilet.

Black Tea

Or just “tea” if you’re a Brit. Black tea has numerous kinds from the deeply smoky Lapsang Souchong to the light and fresh Darjeeling. Serve with milk, lemon or straight up. While not containing as many antioxidants as matcha, black tea still packs a punch. There is some evidence it prevents cell damage, boosts heart health, lowers bad cholesterol, and improves gut health. It’s also easier on the stomach than matcha.

Kombucha

This is a fermented black tea and can be drunk hot or cold. The fermentation process creates acetic acid which has some antibacterial properties. As with all teas it also contains lots of antioxidants bringing the health benefits lists above. It’s semi-sweet and may be an acquired taste for some

A note on lemon water

Lots of influencers swear by it but I have yet to find any studies that prove it has any benefits beyond hydration and a small amount of vitamin C. If you’re a fan though feel free to continue drinking it.

This was just a small selection of alternatives to coffee if you want to cut down. There are others and indeed coffee itself has health benefits of its own. The key is to experiment and see what feels best to you.

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