You’ve got your report to finish but it’s getting late and you are struggling to stay awake. The kids have kept you up all night and now it’s time to go work and you can’t keep your eyes open… what do you do?
Most of us reach for our cup of coffee to get the caffeine hit to keep us going for longer. Caffeine has been shown to increase focus and help you to stay awake.
But caffeine has also been shown to have negative side effects such as insomnia, restlessness, muscle tremors, nervousness and an upset stomach. Caffeine can also increase heart rate and raise blood pressure, which for some people can be dangerous if it occurs over long periods of time. Caffeine can take 4 to 6 hours to get out of your system, so it may affect your sleep and your mood.
What if there were natural, caffeine-free alternatives to help to stay awake, improve focus and efficiency?
Let’s look at 9 alternatives:
1. Unsweetened Cocoa powder with low fat milk
Cocoa contains many heart healthy antioxidants which are also found in berries. It is high in polyphenols which help to improve brain function and blood flow to the brain. Polyphenols are naturally occurring micro-nutrients in plants. Cocoa powder energizes the brain naturally by being a mild and natural stimulant. You can add some to your morning smoothie for an energy boost on the run.
This is a fermented tea drink which helps to detoxify the body. It’s this ridding of toxins that gives you energy. Another idea about why kombucha gives you energy is due to the iron that is released in the fermentation process that gives you that extra boost!
3. Green juice
Try a combination of kale, spinach, cucumber, ginger, apple, celery and lemon to get your day off to a great start. The chlorophyll in the plants that gives them that green color helps to oxygenate and cleanse your blood, and naturally increase your energy levels.
4. Coconut water
Coconut water is full of electrolytes and is hydrating and very refreshing. It is notably high in potassium, more than you get in a banana, and it is low in sugar. These qualities make it a super energy booster. You can drink it straight or add it to your morning smoothie.
5. Moringa powder smoothie
Add some of this superfood powder to your morning drink or smoothie for an extra kick. Moringa is a rich source of over 90 vitamins and minerals that give your body what it needs to work at its optimum and keep you energized and focused for the day. It is high in amino acids and a good source of iron, both of which help to increase energy and oxygen in your blood stream.
6. Wheatgrass juice
Wheatgrass has high concentrated doses of the important antioxidant vitamins A, C and E. It also contains calcium, magnesium and amino acids, as well as iron. These natural vitamins and minerals give your body a great surge of vitality. Additionally, wheatgrass has been shown to help with some health conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, obesity and ulcerative colitis.
7. Ginseng tea
Ginseng tea has a similar bitter taste to coffee, so it may appeal to the coffee lovers battling to give it up. Among the many health benefits ginseng is believed to provide, it helps the brain to focus, like caffeine does, but without the jittery side effects. Ginseng, particularly the Panax variety, is used by many people to enhance mental health and cognitive performance.
8. Pomegranate juice
The amazing red color of pomegranates and their juice shows off their antioxidant content. Together with other vitamins and nutrients also present in this fruit, they have positive effects on physical and mental energy. Pomegranate juice may help improve circulation and reduce blood pressure.
9. Acai Berry
Acai contains a host of B vitamins, amino acids, potassium and fatty acids. It can help to boost your metabolism, which will naturally lift your body’s energy levels, and can as well help you to lose weight. The amino acids help with promoting muscle performance and energy production.
All these alternatives to coffee should be approached with an open mind. As we are so used to our hot caffeine buzz, adapting to getting our buzz from a smoothie or brightly colored drink may take some getting used to. But the benefits of trying to find the one that works best for you are worth it to reduce your caffeine intake and improve your overall health.