With a Starbucks on every corner and trendy coffee shop pictures dominating your Instagram feed, it’s easy to get sucked into the caffeine craze. Satisfying the temptation to get your morning started with a boost from a nice, dependable cup (or two, or three) of coffee is all too convenient. Tired people all around the world rely on coffee to keep them going throughout the day, and while no one can deny it saves lives every Monday morning, there are real downsides to depending on your daily dose of liquid energy.
For starters, coffee can raise cholesterol, blood pressure and heart rate. It can also lead to weight gain, disrupt sleeping patterns, elevate anxiety, and act as an addictive stimulant. Let’s not forget about the damage it does to freshly-whitened teeth, and depending on where you choose to get your fix, your bank account. If you think it’s time to break the cycle and forgo the negative effects of coffee, here are four healthy alternatives that will keep you energized all day without crashing.
Matcha, a green tea powder from Japan, is a growing health trend, and after looking at the benefits, it’s easy to see why. Just one glass has the nutritional value of 10 glasses of green tea. While coffee gives you a short-lived burst of energy, matcha can increase productivity by improving your mood and ability to concentrate. It boosts your metabolism and burns calories while simultaneously relaxing your mind and body. It also lowers blood sugar and cholesterol and is packed with antioxidants to keep you energized and healthy.
This energy booster prevents sugar and caffeine crashes and doubles as a super healthy snack. Chia seeds are high in protein and fiber and keep you feeling refreshed by regulating glands, combatting adrenal fatigue and decreasing inflammation. They also increase weight loss, keep you full longer, and keep you hydrated all day. Hungry? Chia seeds. Thirsty? Chia Seeds. Tired? Chia seeds. Basically, they are the definition of a superfood and can solve pretty much all your problems.
Hitting the gym when you’re already exhausted seems like the last thing you would want to do, but if you can gather the motivation and force yourself to do even the smallest physical activity when you’re dragging, you’ll thank yourself for it afterward. Exercise increases endorphin levels, sharpens your focus and gives you the endurance you need to keep yourself moving throughout the day. It will also make it easier to fall asleep at night, while coffee can keep you up even 12 hours after drinking it. Skip the coffee and get your heart pumping with a short run or even just a walk in the morning.
Another caffeine replacement that can directly impact your productivity is peppermint essential oil. Opting for an essential oil instead of a cup of coffee to get your day started may seem strange, but on top of boosting your energy levels, peppermint oil stimulates your mind and improves focus by increasing the amount of oxygen intake to your brain. You can use it in the shower, add a drop to your water, dab it on the back of your neck or your wrists, or just breathe it in to wake up at any point during your daily routine. Perks: staying energized and smelling amazing.