Most people start their day with a cup of coffee. Experts recommend a maximum of 3-4 cups of coffee a day which contains 400 mg of caffeine. For the average adult, drinking coffee is completely healthy when done in moderation.
However, once you exceed the specified levels of coffee it may have adverse health effects. People who have a caffeine sensitivity may even experience symptoms resembling a caffeine overdose.
The Bad Side of Coffee
While most people drink coffee for it’s “positive” impact on their life, it can still have unintended health effects.
- Lower Energy Levels: Coffee contains caffeine. The caffeine content stimulates your body’s adrenal system which boosts energy levels. However this energy boost is temporary and results in a crash that leaves you significantly fatigued.
- Weight Gain: Caffeine in coffee can increase cortisol levels. Higher cortisol levels can result in weight gain.
- Sleep disruption: Caffeine can stay in your nervous system for up to 6 hours. If you’ve had a coffee filled day and feel exhausted, the caffeine can still be present when you go to sleep. This can cause insomnia and other sleep related issues.
- Mineral Deficiency: Caffeine can affect how the body absorbs iron in the stomach. It also negatively impacts how the kidney’s store calcium, magnesium, zinc, as well as other minerals the body needs.
Coffee is consumed by millions of people every day. So if you’re experiencing the above issues from coffee (including caffeine for studying and longer hours) it might be time to consider making the switch to a coffee substitute or alternative.
Healthy Coffee Substitutes
1. Matcha Green Tea
Matcha is a powder that’s created by grinding the entire green tea leaf into a fine powder. Consuming Matcha green tea is as simple as dissolving the powder in water.
Unlike coffee, the caffeine from Matcha Tea powder is slowly released over 6-8 hours. This results in less crash, caffeine jitters, and disrupted sleep.
Matcha also contains the amino acid L-theanine which has been shown to enhance concentration and increase dopamine levels.
One of the main indicators of dehydration is fatigue. If you’re finding it hard to focus or you feel tired, your body may be dehydrated.
Funny enough, most people think they need to drink coffee, when they actually need to hydrate. Where-as consuming more coffee only further dehydrates you.
Try to keep a bottle or glass of water with you at all times. It’s recommended that adults drink a half a gallon of water a day.
3. Decaf Coffee
Most people who drink coffee enjoy the taste. If you’re trying to avoid a caffeine crash from coffee, you might consider a decaffeinated coffee instead.
While buying decaf coffee is easy, finding a great tasting decaf coffee can be tough. Many of the decaffeination processes damage the flavor compounds. The beans are also partially brown rather than green, making it hard for roasters to control heat.
It’s best to buy fresh beans and grind them as you need them. Cafe Don Pablo is a great decaf brand is wonderful and I highly recommend.
4. Yerba Mate
This herbal tea is made from the leaves of the Yerba mate plant. The leaves are then dried and steeped in hot water.
Yerba mate tastes similar to green tea, and offers a similar energy boost like coffee. However you’ll experience fewer jitters and less sleep related issues.
5. Turmeric Latte (Golden Milk)
This tea can be made with either pure turmeric powder or ground, dried turmeric. It is a caffeine-free coffee alternative that offers anti-inflammatory benefits.
Turmeric contains curcumin which can help the body fight free radicals that result in oxidative cell damage. The curcumin also gives the tea it’s characteristic yellow or golden color.
Turmeric has the ability to support immune function, digestion, liver function, and may provide protection from some types of cancer.
Coffee has become a big part of our culture. However, it’s important to remember that coffee isn’t unhealthy when consumed in moderation.
There are a number of healthy alternatives that offer their own set of benefits and this list can easily be expanded to other herbal teas and electrolyte filled drinks.
As always, stay hydrated and drink water often. If you find yourself fatigued from caffeine, consider making a switch and substitute your coffee with one of the options listed above.