I’ll be the first to admit that coffee smells amazing, and that I’m guilty of indulging in some espresso-flavored gelato every now and then. But, between its bitter taste and its nauseating side effects, I’m definitely not a fan of the drink itself. Thankfully, there are so many healthier, energizing alternatives to coffee on grocery store shelves. So, for my fellow non-coffee drinkers, I put together this list of four natural options.
Green tea: Green tea is a super easy 0-calorie alternative to coffee when you’re craving that instant, early morning boost. Much like coffee, you can enjoy green tea hot or iced; plain or in different flavors. While green tea has significantly less caffeine per 8 oz cup than does coffee (25-45 mg versus coffee’s 100-200 mg), it kicks your metabolism up a notch, giving you natural energy that won’t make you jittery. Additionally, green tea contains the amino acid L-theanine, which is known to improve brain function when consumed with caffeine. It also helps the body burn fat, and it reduces the risk of certain cancers, Alzthimer’s, Parkinson’s, dental infections, type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease and stroke.
Kombucha: I’ve been hooked on kombucha ever since I tried it for the first time in 2014! For those of you who are not familiar with the drink, kombucha is a fermented black or green tea that contains live probiotics. Because it is made from tea, kombucha does contain some caffeine. But, the live cultures help move food and harmful toxins through your gut, according to WebMD, and to boost your immune system; both of which will perk you up if you are feeling sluggish. Kombucha also works as a low-cal, low-sugar alternative to ginger ale when your stomach hurts, plus, its bubbly-ness and subtle sweetness make it the perfect cocktail mixer. My favorite kombucha is Health-Ade’s original.
Detox water: Sometimes when we think we’re tired, we are actually dehydrated. So, when that 3 p.m. slump hits, opt for a huge class of cold, DIY infused water instead of a sugary snack! If our bodies go without water for a long period of time, we tend to feel sleepy, irritable and confused; hydrating replenishes our systems, kicking our bodies and minds into gear. Adding lemon heightens water’s benefits by renewing the liver (which works its hardest overnight while we sleep), boosting the immune system, flushing the digestive system and fighting acne. It also aids in weight loss, or the maintaining of a healthy weight.
Not only do natural ingredients like lemon, fresh mint leaves and ginger taste great, they keep our bodies on-track. Add any of your favorite fruits, vegetables or herbs to a glass or bottle of water to make your own unique detox!
B-complex vitamins: B vitamins help the body to produce energy from fats and carbohydrates and to form red blood cells, according to verywell.com. They also protect the immune system, aid in the break-down of simple carbs, fight free radicals, boost HDL cholesterol (aka the “good cholesterol”), reduce acne and signs of aging (such as red spots and dark spots), help to produce serotonin and melatonin (which improve mood and sleeping patterns), protect against heart disease, promote healthy hair, skin and nails, reduce depression and memory loss and create the protein that carries oxygen and carbon dioxide back and forth throughout the body (hemoglobin).
Although we get a lot of B vitamins through our diets (from leafy greens to red meat), taking B-complex supplements (or a multivitamin that contains B vitamins) daily provides us with some of the nutrients we may be missing, so we can be more awake and alert during the day.