You wake up to the alarm, drag yourself out of bed, brew up some coffee, and bounce from Zombie mode to Superman when that pot of coffee is polished off. While coffee does reap some pretty impressive benefits (including boosting cognition, staving off depression, reducing dementia risk, just to name a few…), there are other ways to win that morning hero cape – no cream or sugar required.
But what are some of the healthiest energy drinks to put more pep in your step? And no, we are not looking at you, Red Bull, but rather caffeine alternatives that supply a natural dose of energy without unwanted sugars and other additives.
So sip sip hooray to these alternatives to coffee!
10 Alternatives to Coffee
From fostering cell growth and survivability to delivering life-sustaining oxygen to all parts of the body, water is ironically the healthiest energy drink to exist while gifting the human body existence.
So replace that morning mug of coffee with a tall glass of water to boost health and ignite energy levels, as even slight dehydration cause fatigue and moodiness. Add some lemon, lime, orange, and other invigorating flavors to really put some pep into your morning step!
2. Orange Juice
Speaking of oranges… That notorious glass of OJ with your morning stack of flapjacks and scrambled eggs may not be coincidence!
According to research conducted at the University of Reading, a glass of orange juice in the morning can boost brain energy over the course of the day. More specifically, cognition and alertness have shown to be significantly boosted up to six hours after consuming a 240 milliliters (or an 8-ounce fluid cup) serving of orange juice.
3. Coconut Water
Coconut water is naturally low in calorie and high in rehydrating electrolytes, including sodium and potassium. (Even containing more potassium than four bananas claims WebMD!)
The balance of electrolytes helps fight off fatigue and combat against muscle weakness and cramps, which also makes it a highly sought out post-workout recovery drink.
4. Pomegranate Juice
Use coffee or caffeine as a pre-workout drink? Pomegranate juice is one of the most effective caffeine alternatives, with research showing it may actually improve exercise performance by improving blood circulation and flow.
And as an added bonus, pomegranate juice may promote greater muscle recovery, which poses the opportunity to maintain a comfortable exercise regimen!
Swap out that mug of coffee for a warm and soothing cup of ginseng tea. There is evidence showing Panax ginseng bares antifatigue effects with positive outcomes on cognitive performance and mood.
Furthermore, WebMD reports ginseng has shown to relieve the fatigue experienced by 90 percent of people with cancer!
Rhodiola rosea is a noted adaptogen, a non-toxic plant often marketed to defend against stressors of all kinds. Rhodiola is used to battle fatigue, improve physical performance, and prevent from chronic diseases, including cancer and heart disease.
Like many herbs, rhodiola comes in various forms, though it is most often taken as a supplement via capsules, tablets, dried powders, and liquid extracts.
7. B Vitamins
Cohesively known as B complex, the 12 B vitamins are essential for supporting a healthy metabolism and providing all day energy.
Obtain the B vitamins through a wide variety of sources, including whole grain breads and cereals, yeast, quinoa, barley, pork, poultry, organ meats, tuna, anchovies, milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, beans, lentils, chickpeas, edamame, tempeh, leafy greens, potatoes, shiitake mushrooms, bananas, oranges, coffee, and well, a well-balanced diet!
Mint acts as a natural, refreshing alternative to coffee, as research suggests the smell and flavor of it can enhance memory and boost alertness and attentiveness.
Kick the benefits of mint up a notch by mixing up this cucumber mint smoothie recipe that is energizing, hydrating, nourishing, and cooling!
(Or simply brush your teeth…)
Kombucha is essentially a sweet tea fermented with yeast and bacteria cultures. Though the caffeine content is generally reduced during the fermentation process, the B vitamins it contains are crucial in energy production, as they help turn the foods we eat into usable energy within the body.
Starting off the day with one of the healthiest energy drinks not only revs energy production, but helps improve gut health, boosts the immune system, amongst several other kombucha benefits.
10. Chai Tea
Thanks to its mixture of aromatic herbs and spices, a chai tea caffeinated or not boosts and facilitates energy production within the body.
Kick-start your morning or prevent an afternoon energy slump with this chai tea recipe:
Ingredients for One:
½ cup whole-fat cow’s milk
1 cup water
1 whole clove
1 green cardamom pod (crushed)
1 peppercorn (crushed)
1 thin slice of fresh ginger
1 cinnamon stick
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- Add all ingredients to a medium saucepan and heat on stove until boiling.
- Lower the heat and simmer for approximately five minutes, or until the mixture is fragrant.
- Pour into a cup through a fine mesh sieve. Discard the leaves and spices.
Tips and Tricks:
- For a dairy-free option, use an almond, cashew, or other plant-based milk.
- Steep with black tea if desiring a little caffeinated punch. Simply add tea bag after step number #2: Simmer for chai mixture for another minute, turn off the heat, then steep for an additional 2 minutes.
- Chai tea comes in numerous varieties, including being spiced with nutmeg, star anise, fennel seeds, saffron, chili, cayenne pepper, coriander, cumin, and licorice root, etc. so feel free to tweak ingredients per preference.
- Based on tradition, chai is meant to be considerably sweetened with granulated sugar. Manipulate sugar amount and swap with an alternative sweetener as desired.
- Double, triple, quadruple (you get the idea…) the ingredient amount to make additional servings.