Once upon a time, I was a darn coffee lover! If you are also among the many people who cannot function without a cup of coffee in the morning, you will be well aware of how difficult is your day without the stimulation of caffeine. For millions of people around the world, coffee is a necessity to wake up and start their day. And for some, coffee is also an addiction. However, coffee lovers often impose serious health risks, similar to smoking or even drinking alcohol; which is easily disregarded. Perhaps this is because drinking coffee indeed has its share of health benefits. While I am not wholly opposed to enjoying a cup of coffee, I believe there are several healthier alternatives to coffee. In this article, I am going to discuss why people drink coffee, the benefits and risks of drinking too much coffee, and some healthy alternatives to coffee as well as tips to help you quit coffee entirely.
Let’s talk numbers. Studies say that 80 to 90% of adults, as well as children, consume coffee regularly.
Here are the world’s largest consumers of coffee!
Why People Drink Coffee?
If you ask most coffee drinkers why they drink coffee, they will tell you they need it to start their day or to simply get through it.
What we really want to know is why coffee is necessary?
It is no secret that the main ingredient in coffee is caffeine. Caffeine is what makes coffee so delectable. Caffeine is what gives us that boost of energy and enables us to jumpstart our body and mind in the morning.
For some, a cup of coffee is just a part of their morning routine. Drinking coffee has become social normality almost as universal as going out for a few beers with the guys.
A lot of people wake up every morning and hit their local coffee shop before even getting to their job.
Perhaps they meet with co-workers before going to work or ease the morning struggle by having a chat with a stranger in line. A lot of people work third shift or early mornings, and the extra boost of caffeine in coffee can help them stay awake and focused.
Not only has drinking coffee become a social norm, but coffee also has several natural health benefits that keep drinking coffee as usual as taking daily vitamins.
Health Benefits Of Drinking Coffee
Some of the natural benefits of drinking coffee moderately include:
- Decreased risk of developing type 2 diabetes
- Reduces depression
- Lowered risk of developing heart disease
- Reduced risk of melanoma
- Decreased risk of Parkinson’s disease
- Reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease
As you can see, there are several advantages to drinking coffee that includes prevention and protection against a wide variety of health issues. Coffee also has a high level of antioxidants with each serving.
The Risk of Drinking Coffee
While there is a fair amount of benefits to drinking coffee, there are some negative aspects as well. Keep in mind that caffeine is addictive, which is the main reason why people crave that first sip of coffee at the start of the day.
Coffee is Expensive
Fueling a caffeine addiction can also become an expensive endeavor. It is not unusual for a person to spend nearly $100 per week on coffee alone. Not to mention, there are several health risks involved with drinking too much coffee.
On an empty stomach, drinking several cups of coffee may leave you feeling anxious, shaky, and even nauseous. These are just some of the mild side-effects of drinking coffee.
Health experts report not only short-term health risks but also the long-term disadvantages of drinking coffee.
Long term health risks
Aside from being addictive, long term health risks of too much caffeine include:
- Irregular heartbeat or palpitations
- Low blood pressure
- Changes in your mental health most commonly due to caffeine withdrawals
- Caffeine is linked to stunting growth in children and teens
- Too much coffee can interrupt your sleep schedule
- You will build an increased tolerance to coffee decreasing the energy-boosting effects
- Drinking coffee causes staining of the teeth and tooth decay
- Leads to poor appetite, diarrhoea, nausea, and vomiting
Short term effects of coffee
Several short-term effects of drinking coffee include:
- You will have to pee a lot
- Raised blood pressure
- Increased heart rate
- Headaches as a result of withdrawals
Keep in mind that not everyone experiences these side-effects, and the amount of coffee you drink will ultimately be the result of how severe the side-effects are.
Healthy Alternatives to Coffee
Are you still wondering what to drink instead of coffee to wake up? If you can slowly give up the distinct robust taste of coffee, there is a wide variety of teas and alternatives that can give you the boost you need.
A few of the tea varieties and their benefits include are:
1. Green tea
Green tea is a very good healthy alternative to coffee. A cup of green tea comes with several health benefits like reduced risk of cancers, metabolism boost, reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes, etc.
2. Matcha tea
Matcha tea is the best antioxidant you can consume, next to green or white tea. No jittery feeling at all. Matcha comes in several forms including powder, that contains caffeine as well as amino acids.
Including matcha powder in your diet can leave you feeling relaxed yet energized for the day.
3. Yerba Mate tea
Another alternative to coffee to wake up fresh in the morning is yerba mate tea.
It is rich in caffeine as well as theobromine. Drinking this tea, you may feel energized and stimulated without the shaky and jittery side-effects of coffee. Just like many tea varieties, this is also high in antioxidants.
4. Kombucha tea
Here’s another cup full of healthy dose!
This type of tea treats memory loss, promotes healthy bowel movements, lowers the risk of developing cancers, aids in regulating high blood pressure.
5. Fruits & Vegetable Smoothies
One of my personal favorite coffee alternatives is smoothies. Smoothies are not only flavorful and good for your health, but the possibilities are endless.
Combining fruit and vegetables into a smoothie gives us the power to combine an assortment of antioxidants, protein, fiber, carbohydrates, and other supplements.
They also give us extra serving of fruits and vegetables that are necessary to maintain a healthy diet.
Smoothies are quite possibly the best alternative to coffee, in my opinion.
6. Apple Cider
If you crave the beverage for the warm sensation of drinking coffee, then hot apple cider maybe your best option.
While apple cider provides a vast difference in taste, its sugar-rich sweetness will offer the wake-up call your brain and taste buds.
Apple cider is non-caffeinated and does not have any addictive qualities.
Drinking apple cider has proven to be especially beneficial to diabetics. While regularly drinking apple cider patients with diabetics reported better blood sugar control. Doses of apple cider vinegar also share the same benefits of apple cider.
7. Raw Cacao Powder
Perhaps the healthiest of alternatives to coffee is raw cacao powder. Cacao powder can be brewed with milk for a hot or cold morning boost. One of the best alternatives to coffee to wake up in the morning and feel fresh.
Cacao is rich in mood-boosting hormones like serotonin, tryptophan, tyrosine, and phenylethylamine. Together, these ingredients are proven to lift moods and promote overall mental health.
Also, there is more calcium in cacao than there is in cow’s milk. Organic cacao has the highest amount of magnesium out of any plant, which promotes a healthy heart and mind. It also provides the highest amount of iron out of any plant-based ingredient. Cacao is simply known as an Amazonian superfood.
There are plenty of healthy alternatives out there that will help you quit coffee. A struggle may be finding which alternative works best for you considering your lifestyle.
Do you have time to make a smoothie every morning? Will the carbohydrates in apple cider cause my blood sugar to go up? A challenge that you may encounter when quitting coffee is the change to your routine.
You can also use this weekly planner to help you quit coffee, and reward yourself for the efforts.
Let’s go over a few tips to help you stomp the coffee addiction and move on to a healthier lifestyle.
Tips and Tricks To Quit Coffee
1. Reduce The Number of Cups You Drink Everyday
Similar to nicotine withdrawal or drug withdrawal symptoms, caffeine withdrawal can produce some ignorant side-effects. The most common way to reduce the side-effects of withdrawal and convert to a different supplement is reducing your coffee intake.
For example, if you usually drink four cups of coffee per day, try only drinking three cups of coffee for the next two weeks and progressively decreasing the amount of coffee you drink per day.
2. Replace With Healthy Alternatives To Coffee
You could also try drinking one or two cups of coffee and replacing the other two with a smoothie or a cup of warm apple cider or tea.
Extra sleep can be helpful when trying to battle some of the side-effects of caffeine withdrawal, but I recommend sticking to a normal routine and simply replacing coffee with an alternative. Too much sleep can pose negative side-effects on its own.
3. Wake Up Early And Exercise
Waking up early and exercising is a great way of boosting energy. You will start the day with the feeling of achievement as well as a boost in your overall attitude.
Drinking smoothies and tea after exercise will keep you hydrated while replenishing electrolytes. While this may require the most challenging lifestyle change, using exercise as a coffee alternative is a very healthy option that your body and mind will thank you for.
4. Consult With Your Doctor
Consulting with your physician is a great way to find out what options are available and how to go about starting your coffee quitting routine.
A doctor will be able to tell you in-depth, which option promotes the most health benefits to you and how reducing your coffee intake will be a favorable decision for you.
It is your doctor who will be able to describe withdrawal symptoms and can answer any questions you may have regarding your personal health.
It is always recommended that you speak with your doctor before trying any new health routines. Diabetics should especially consult with their doctors before starting a new routine. This goes for any new health routine you try to cultivate.
As a coffee lover, I understand how difficult it can be to quit coffee. However, I can tell you that I have switched to a routine, including a mix of cacao and milk in the morning followed by a smoothie after lunch.
I used to drink at least four cups of coffee in the morning before eating anything, and the coffee would leave me feeling shaky as if I cannot standstill. I will never forget nausea. Since I have switched to smoothies and cacao powder, I have not felt jittery at all. Rather than nauseous, I feel relaxed and focused.
The hardest part for me was getting over the taste of the coffee. I am a coffee lover, after all. I was accustomed to how my mood and body would change after drinking coffee.
It took me several months of drinking less and less coffee before quitting altogether, but the change of routine has proven beneficial.
Instead of brewing coffee, I am heating 12 ounces of milk and mixing it with three or four tablespoons of raw organic cacao powder. This one drink gives me the early morning boost that four cups of coffee could not achieve. Once I noticed the results, I knew my choice to quit coffee was worth it.
Yes, I went through withdrawals.
I always wanted to go drink another cup of coffee, and I was able to notice small mood swings over things that normally would not have bothered me.
However, these side-effects were minimal and seemed to disappear according to how far along in my new routine I was.
Quitting coffee is not easy for everyone, it definitely wasn’t for me!
But you will realize that your life is better without coffee. The alternatives to coffee offer plenty of health benefits that outweigh those of coffee. Many of these coffee alternatives taste better and still provide social interactions at the smoothie stand. All you have to do is stay motivated and stick to it!
Are to trying to quit coffee? Did you find this article useful? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
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