It’s safe to say we’re a nation of coffee drinkers. Whether you’re a fan of a fancy flat white or you stick to a humble jar of the instant stuff, we’re estimated to get through two billion cups around the world, each and every day.
If you’re one of the people that’s keen to take a break from coffee in 2021, but can’t seem to sacrifice the energy hit, saying goodbye to your daily fix can be a tricky business.
Instead of going cold turkey, you might want to try one of these natural coffee alternatives that provide a similar pick-me-up.
Matcha is a Japanese tea powder that’s made from grinding up dried tea leaves. Known of its distinctive green colour, it can be a helpful substitute for hardcore coffee drinkers, especially if you tend to feel afternoon energy crashes after slurping on espressos all morning.
“Although matcha contains caffeine, it also contains the amino acid L-theanine, which slows its release in the body,” explains nutritionist Jenna Hope (@jennahopenutrition). “As a result, you’ll experience a gradual rise and fall in energy when you drink it, rather than the sharp spike, followed by an unpleasant low.”
Hope says that matcha also has another big benefit; it’s rich in antioxidants, which help to fight free radicals in the body – unstable atoms that can damage cells, causing both illness and aging.
This funky tasting tea has been a major wellness trend in recent years, thanks to its supposed health benefits – advocates say that the fermented drink can aid digestion and improve immune function.
Kombucha can also act as a helpful alternative to sugary drinks or coffee, because it’s generally low in sugar and, like many types of tea, contains lower amounts of caffeine – popular drinks brand Remedy Kombucha (remedydrinks.com) contains around 10mg per 100ml, for instance.
The sweet tea also has a slight fizz to it, which some find helps to wake them up first thing, better than a still glass of H2O.
These nutritionally-dense foods are secretly the healthiest way to get an energy hit first thing on a Monday morning.
The banana’s secret weapons are sucrose, fructose and glucose – three natural sugars that give you a substantial source of fuel. They’re also a grab-and-go source of potassium and vitamin B6, all of which can help to keep your energy levels stable.
If you want something soothing to sip on while starting the day, whizz them up in a shake for a morning treat.
4. Green tea
Functional medicine health coach Suzy Glaskie (peppermintwellness.co.uk) warns that coffee can wreck our sleep as well as exhaust our adrenal glands. “I prefer a cup of green tea, which provides a more gentle caffeine lift,” she says.
Similarly to matcha, it has slightly less caffeine than a cup of Joe, but enough to give you a boost without any of the coffee jitters. “Studies have found that adding a squeeze of lemon may make the active ingredients even more potent,” says Glaskie.
Green tea is also rich in polyphenols, natural compounds that are thought to have potent health benefits, including reducing inflammation and helping to treat digestive issues.