For many, coffee is an essential part of their day. But there are ways of getting the energy-boosting benefits of coffee from other sources, without its pesky side effects.
Have you ever felt like you really needed a coffee to cope with a particularly busy day, or to give you an energy boost to kickstart your morning? Well you are most certainly not alone. According to the British Coffee Association, coffee is the most popular drink worldwide, and in the UK alone we drink “approximately 95 million cups of coffee per day.”
However, while it is often tempting to reach for a cup when we’re at a low ebb, there are unfortunate side effects that many long-term coffee drinkers have to contend with. We recently delved a little deeper into just how much coffee is too much coffee, and it’s worth checking out.
So, if you feel like you might be a little too reliant on the nation’s favourite caffeinated beverage, there’s no need to worry too much. We’ve asked nutrition experts for their insights into coffee’s adverse effects, and alternative ways to experience the benefits.
Why might people want to consider cutting down on coffee?
While coffee does make us feel more awake, this alertness is caused by the caffeine in it triggering your body’s fight or flight mode and releasing adrenaline, according to holistic nutritionist and health coach Cheryl Telfer. “Constantly drinking caffeine can lead to adrenal fatigue,” she continues, which in turn can cause “chronic migraines, raised blood pressure, hormone imbalances, anxiety, stress and disrupted sleep.”
Certified Health Education Specialist and registered yoga teacher Brielle Merchant goes on to say that drinking too much coffee can also cause you to become over-reliant on the caffeine in it to keep you going throughout the day.
How might alternatives to coffee be better for you?
Thankfully, there are ways to avoid these side effects from your daily energy fix, by looking to healthier, caffeine-free alternatives to coffee. As Brielle tells us, these are far less likely to “build up the reliance on caffeine that some people experience when drinking coffee regularly,” and they can also “provide nutritional benefits beyond boosting your energy.”
As Cheryl explains, “some of the benefits of drinking coffee come from the polyphenols in it,” which “are an antioxidant with potential health benefits that include treating digestion issues and preventing diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.” However, there are plenty of other energising food and drink options that also contain polyphenols.
What are some alternatives to coffee that will give you an energy boost?
Cheryl tells us that “fresh vegetable and fruit juices, for example, are really nourishing for the body and energise you quicker.” This has to do with the fact that “they don’t contain fibre,” which means that the energy-rich “vitamins, minerals and fructose within these fruits and vegetables will enter the bloodstream quicker.”
“Adaptogenic herbs” such as ginseng and Rhodiola rosea are another good option, because they “help increase energy and enhance your mental functions and physical stamina.”
Brielle also recommends “apples, bananas, carb-rich foods like oatmeal, protein-rich food like beans, and nuts such as walnuts” as healthier alternatives to coffee. Having a “diverse diet” full of whole foods such as these “will aid in helping overall energy throughout the day,” says Cheryl.
Are there any other benefits to getting your energy fix from alternative sources?
One of the greatest benefits of switching out the coffee for healthier, decaffeinated alternatives is that it will help you avoid that dreaded adrenal fatigue. Cheryl explains that this in turn “will help with avoiding addictive behaviours that can come with physically and emotionally relying on one food for an energy boost.” This is important because physically, this sort of dependence “is taxing on the body, causing hormonal imbalances,” and “emotionally it is important not to let any food feel like it has a hold on you.”
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