Saturday, April 13, 2024
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Swap your coffee with these drinks

If coffee plays a crucial role in your morning routine, you’re likely aware of the productivity and health perks it offers and for many people, coffee is the preferred morning beverage.

However, sometimes your reliance on coffee and its caffeine kick becomes apparent when you’re frantically searching for that last drop of cold brew. For some, this dependency signals the need to find an alternative. Despite being one of the most popular drinks globally, quitting coffee, regardless of the motive, can pose challenges without a suitable replacement.

Is there a substitute that matches the taste and benefits of your beloved morning lattes?

Perhaps not precisely, but numerous coffee alternatives can provide the energy and health benefits needed to kickstart your day.

The question remains: Do they deliver?

Here are some coffee alternatives to try —

Green tea

Green tea is a widely embraced alternative to coffee due to its significantly lower caffeine content, approximately 70% less. Renowned for its abundance of polyphenols, it not only presents potential benefits for weight management and lowering your risk of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes but also boasts a delicate flavour profile that has earned it favour in many kitchens. Moreover, green tea stands out for its ease of digestion on an empty stomach, making it particularly appealing for digestive relief compared to milk based beverages. Beyond its caffeine content, green tea is a treasure trove of antioxidants, aiding in reducing inflammation in your body, enhancing your brain function and promoting overall well being. Furthermore, it contains L-theanine, an amino acid renowned for inducing relaxation and mitigating stress. While its taste may differ from coffee, green tea’s subtly bitter and earthy notes can be tailored to your tastes with the addition of sweeteners and the amount of time you brew the teabag or loose leaves.

Matcha

Matcha, a finely powdered green tea, is crafted by steaming, drying and milling the leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant. Characterised by a refreshing, earthy taste profile, matcha offers ample antioxidants and approximately 70 milligrams of caffeine per serving, imparting a morning pick-me-up minus the typical coffee-induced jitters.

Unlike standard green tea preparation methods, matcha entails consuming the entire leaf, resulting in a concentrated antioxidant source, notably rich in epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Research indicates that regular green tea intake, comparable in catechin levels to matcha, may mitigate your risk of hypertension and confer advantages such as weight management and reduced susceptibility to type 2 diabetes. Moreover, matcha features theanine, fostering relaxation and heightened alertness, serving as a noteworthy coffee substitute.

Golden milk or Haldi doodh

Golden milk, a beloved caffeine-free alternative to coffee, emerges as a comforting and warmly spiced beverage imbued with the flavours of ginger, cinnamon and black pepper along with the hero ingredient of turmeric. Not only do these spices contribute to its vibrant golden colour, but they also offer potential anti-inflammatory benefits, primarily attributed to curcumin found in turmeric. The combination of turmeric with black pepper facilitates curcumin absorption, while the inclusion of fats, like whole milk, enhances its bioavailability. Rising to prominence within the clean-eating movement, golden milk is revered for its healthful attributes, with turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties taking centre stage. This adaptable drink allows for personalization with additional spices such as cardamom and sweeteners like honey or vanilla or dairy free milk alternatives, tailored to your individual preferences. Moreover, being devoid of caffeine, golden milk is calming and nourishing beverage choice.

Black tea

Black tea, while containing more caffeine than green tea yet less than coffee, provides a stimulating effect with fewer side effects than coffee. With a taste profile reminiscent of coffee but a lower caffeine content, it’s an ideal option if you’re looking to cut back on caffeine. Versatile in its consumption, black tea can be enjoyed hot or iced, with or without milk and it even pairs well with various foods. Brewing black tea at the optimal temperature of around 212 degrees Fahrenheit ensures the release of its full flavour and aroma without bitterness. When in need of a caffeine boost, opt for a cup of black tea for a delicious and revitalising alternative.

Chai or masala chai

Chai is not only for the melancholy during a typical monsoon Monday. A flavourful blend of black tea and aromatic spices, chai, offers a delightful alternative to coffee. While it contains less caffeine than coffee, studies suggest that black tea, the base of chai, may still enhance your mental alertness. Both black and green teas boast antioxidant properties, with moderate consumption potentially linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, though further research is needed. Chai’s robust flavour and comforting aroma make it a top tier addition to any morning routine. With its blend of spices like cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and clove, now turned into masala chai provides a gentle caffeine kick to start your day. Enjoy a cup of chai or masala chai on its own or with milk and honey.

Smoothies

To break away from coffee or similar beverages, opt for a smoothie. This satisfying drink can be packed with fruits, vegetables, protein and your preferred choice of base like almond milk, water or coconut water. You can even add a boost of caffeine by incorporating matcha powder, yerba mate, or another brewed tea.

Lemon water

Swap your morning coffee for refreshing lemon water; calorie- and caffeine-free, it’s rich in vitamin C and antioxidants, aiding hydration and offering you a zesty alternative with potential health benefits like aiding digestion and boosting your metabolism.

Yerba mate

Yerba mate, a naturally caffeinated herbal tea derived from the dried leaves of the South American holly tree, offers a comparable caffeine content to coffee, along with an abundance of antioxidants, minerals and vitamins. It has a distinct bitter and smoky taste and it should be enjoyed the traditional way- chilled in a yerba mate gourd with a metal straw. However, moderation is key due to potential links between high consumption and increased cancer risk. Despite this, yerba mate remains a popular coffee substitute and energy drink alternative.

Dandelion coffee

Dandelion coffee, crafted from roasted dandelion roots, offers a delicious and nutritious alternative to traditional coffee, boasting a slightly bitter taste and rich flavour. Packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, it serves as a healthy option, aiding digestion and promoting overall well-being.

Chicory root coffee

Chicory root, a caffeine-free alternative to coffee, offers a similar taste profile to coffee while being rich in the beneficial fibre inulin, promoting digestion and gut health. It can be easily brewed like regular coffee and may also support heart health, although it should be avoided during pregnancy and breastfeeding. A cup of chicory root coffee is as good as a steaming cup of joe.

Apple cider vinegar drink

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is crafted through the fermentation of crushed apples, yielding acetic acid, which positively impacts your insulin sensitivity and blood sugar levels. It’s essential to dilute ACV before consuming it. Combining ACV with honey creates a tangy-sweet drink known for its health-boosting properties, offering immune support, improved digestion, allergy relief, enhanced heart health and weight management benefits, all while being low in calories and sugar. The blend’s slightly sour taste from ACV is balanced by honey’s natural sweetness, making it a palatable and nutritious alternative to coffee.

Kombucha

Kombucha, a fermented black tea rich in probiotics, acetic acid and antioxidants, offers potential health benefits, particularly for your gut health.

Herbal teas

Herbal teas serve as excellent coffee alternatives, offering various flavours and potential health benefits without the caffeine. Options like chamomile, peppermint and ginger teas provide a soothing and refreshing experience, while rooibos and dandelion root teas offer rich, earthy flavours. Additionally, herbal teas like hibiscus and lemon balm can provide antioxidant properties and support overall well-being, making them a delightful choice for those seeking a flavorful and caffeine-free alternative to coffee.

In a nutshell…

While coffee boasts various health benefits, it might not be suitable for everyone. Fortunately, numerous alternatives exist, offering unique advantages like antioxidants, probiotics, and acetic acid.

If you’re experiencing coffee-related issues such as jitteriness or digestive discomfort, experts suggest trying alternatives to satisfy your coffee cravings. Explore these options for a healthier alternative to coffee and discover the perfect beverage to kickstart your day sustainably.

Vinita Alvares Fernandes
Vinita Alvares Fernandes is an Economics graduate, a writer and a Trinity College certified public speaker and communicator

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