Can’t start the day without a cup of coffee? You definitely aren’t alone. According to a report by the National Coffee Association, about 63% of American adults take coffee every day.
But here is the thing; while caffeine does reap some great benefits, there are also some side effects associated with taking too much of it. Some people may experience jitters, headaches, digestive issues, and inevitable energy crash.
Therefore, it makes a lot of sense to cut down on your caffeine intake. But what do you do when you need that energy boost and don’t want the post-caffeine crash?
This is exactly where caffeine alternatives step in. Yeah, you heard that right! There are so many healthy morning beverage alternatives to coffee that can help boost your energy levels.
In this article, we take a look at the 13 best natural caffeine replacement options that are worth trying out. But before doing so, let’s first find out why it’s important to cut down on your consumption of this beverage.
Why are Caffeine Substitutes Better than Coffee?
Caffeine is a mild stimulant that has been shown to boost energy levels. When taken in small doses and as a part of a healthy diet, it can make you feel more alert and awake. Most people typically start to feel the effects of this stimulant within 5-30 minutes of drinking it.
However, the effects may vary depending on many individual factors including caffeine tolerance, body mass, and metabolism.
Sure, a good cup of coffee is likely to be harmless. However, taking large doses may result in caffeine toxicity and overdose side effects. It can also lead to increased breathing rate and heart rate.
What’s more? Like most drugs, it’s possible to become dependent on caffeine. When this happens, you might experience the symptoms of caffeine withdrawal if you miss out on your usual coffee. These symptoms include tiredness, headaches, muscle pain, and irritability and may last up to a week.
For this reason, if you are a regular coffee drinker, you might want to try out these healthy caffeine substitutes.
List of Best Alternatives to Caffeine for Energy
Like we’ve already mentioned, there are so many caffeine substitutes available to choose from. The best part? Most of these alternatives provide the same buzz that coffee gives.
Dehydration can leave you feeling fatigued, less alert, and moody (ref). This is because it impacts the flow of oxygen to the brain. And as a result, your heart is forced to work harder to pump oxygen to all the body organs.
Therefore, it’s important that you drink enough water if you want to keep your body hydrated. However, you don’t necessarily have to follow the “8 glasses a day” rule.
Experts say that drinking water first thing in the morning is an easy way to boost your energy levels (ref). Therefore, it would be a great idea to replace that morning cup of coffee with a big glass of water.
Besides, you can always add some lemon, orange, berries, and other fruit extracts to give it a natural flavor.
Chicory Root “Coffee”
Chicory is a flowering plant that belongs to the dandelion family. It is considered to be a popular caffeine-free substitute for coffee. The plant has a look and flavor that closely resembles coffee when roasted.
And thanks to its lack of caffeine, this herb makes it a great substitute for coffee. Basically, chicory root can be enjoyed on its own or mixed with your choice of milk and sweetener.
What’s more? The roots of this herb are loaded with high levels of fiber called inulin which may help boost digestion.
For centuries, ginseng has been used in traditional Chinese medicine to help restore energy, increase concentration, and improve memory.
And if you pay close attention to the ingredients of popular energy drinks, you’re most likely to spot ginseng.
Generally, this herbal supplement contains ginsenosides as its active ingredient. The ingredient is considered to be responsible for most of the health benefits associated with ginseng. These include lowering blood sugar, reducing stress, promoting relaxation, managing sexual dysfunction in men, and boosting energy.
However, while it’s referred to as a tea, ginseng tea does not actually contain tea leaves. It’s simply an herbal tea infusion that is made out of ginseng’s plant’s root.
To prepare the tea, you can peel the raw ginseng root and then steep it in hot water. You may also choose to take it as a capsule. However, it should be taken with caution because it can act as a stimulant although it doesn’t have caffeine.
Green tea boasts caffeine as well as antioxidant-rich plant compounds. However, while it does contain caffeine, it is very minimal compared to that in coffee. This means that it may give you a different kind of buzz that is much milder than coffee.
Besides, it contains L-theanine, an amino acid that has been shown to have a calming effect. This helps in balancing out the stimulating effects of caffeine.
And in a 2015 mini-review published on ReaseachGate, the researchers found that green tea has a great impact on energy.
This, therefore, makes it a viable caffeine alternative for those trying to cut down their caffeine intake. For best results, some people recommend taking around 3 to 5 cups of this tea per day.
Cordyceps can be described as a fungus that lives on certain caterpillars. The fungi have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for many centuries to treat low sex drive, fatigue, and kidney disease.
But here is the thing; cordyceps is thought to increase the body’s production of the molecule Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP). The molecule is responsible for ensuring improved energy and enhanced performance.
You can choose to take it by adding the powder to smoothies or even oats.
Coconut water is popularly used for rehydration after physical activity. Not only is it tasty but also very refreshing. As such, it has become a trendy beverage in recent years.
What’s more, it’s packed with important nutrients and minerals. It is also believed to contain natural electrolytes like sodium, potassium, and manganese.
This makes it a powerful natural sports drink for an instant boost of energy. While it looks and tastes so different from coffee, it makes a viable alternative to coffee. Some people even swear by the fact that it leaves them very energized.
This is a traditional South American drink that is has been gaining popularity worldwide. The drink is said to have the health benefits of tea and the strength of coffee.
The twigs and leaves of the yerba mate plant are dried and used to make an herbal tea. Basically, they are dried over a fire and then steeped in hot water to make the tea.
While it contains less caffeine than coffee, it certainly has more than a cup of tea. Generally, each cup of yerba mate tea is believed to contain about 85 mg of caffeine.
As such, similar to other caffeinated beverages, it may help boost your energy levels and make you feel less fatigued. But because of its mild caffeine levels, it is known for not having the heavy “crash” associated with coffee.
Best of all, the tea can be prepared and even consumed in different ways. You can choose to take it cold, hot, or with honey. Also, you can prepare it in a French press, a tea infuser, or a traditional coffee machine.
Rhodiola is an herb that is native to the mountainous regions of Europe and even Asia. Its roots are considered adaptogens which means it may help the body adapt to stress.
Additionally, the herb has been shown to help fight both physical and mental fatigue. In a 2017 study, subjects with chronic fatigue symptoms showed significant improvements after taking 400 mg of Rhodiola.
Another study published in the International Journal of Psychiatry in Clinical Practice revealed that this herb may help boost energy naturally.
And like many herbs, Rhodiola can be taken as a supplement in tablets, capsules, liquid extracts, or dried powders form.
This is a fermented black or green tea drink that is slightly alcoholic and sweetened. It has a number of potential health benefits just like tea. What’s more? It contains antioxidants and is also rich in beneficial probiotics.
And you know what the best part is? Kombucha may provide the benefits of green tea. This means it has caffeine which may help enhance energy while reducing fatigue. However, the caffeine content is generally reduced during the fermentation process.
The good news? It does contain B vitamins which are essential for energy production. So, starting off your day with this drink can rev your energy product just like coffee. Only that you won’t have to worry about side effects like jitters, nausea, or headaches that come with consuming too much caffeine.
Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)
ACV is almost like the Holy Grail in home remedies. It is said to help promote weight loss, boost energy, and control blood sugar.
So, if planning to skip coffee, ACV is a great alternative to other caffeinated drinks. Unlike coffee, apple cider vinegar does not contain caffeine. This is because it is primarily made up of fermented apples and therefore, contains acetic acid.
The best part? It offers many other health benefits that coffee does not have.
For best results, you should mix 2 tablespoons of ACV with a glass of warm water. You can then take the mixture early in the morning or anytime you need an energy boost. Sipping on this may help prevent you from reaching for your cup of coffee.
Don’t like the the weird taste of liquid ACV? Have a look at our list of the best pills containing ACV.
Wheatgrass is a great source of many different vitamins and minerals. It is not only high in amino acids but also vitamins A, C, and E.
What’s more, it is considered to be nature’s energy fuel thanks to its high chlorophyll content. Many folks swear by its energy-boosting properties and ability to promote a healthier body.
Although it does not taste anything like coffee, wheatgrass juice offers an instant surge of alertness. It does this without any post-caffeine crash.
However, more scientific evidence is needed to establish the health benefits of this pungent grass.
This is a popular herbal tea that is not only naturally calorie-free but also caffeine-free. In fact, it is considered to be one of the healthiest herbal infusions in the world.
Native to Asia and Europe, peppermint has been used for thousands of years thanks to its many health benefits and minty taste.
According to researchers, this tea may help reduce daytime fatigue and improve energy levels. However, there are no studies specifically on peppermint tea. Research only seems to demonstrate that the natural compounds in peppermint are the ones responsible for improved energy.
In one past study, healthy young people reported less fatigue during a cognitive test after taking peppermint oil capsules.
While it does not have caffeine, it acts as a natural, refreshing alternative to coffee. You see, it has this ability to promote alertness and attentiveness through its cooling scent and revitalizing flavor alone. Besides, it can be enjoyed hot or cold, thereby providing an almost similar experience to drinking coffee.
Bottom Line on Caffeine Alternative
Whether you’re looking to eliminate coffee completely or just cut down your caffeine intake, you should try these caffeine alternatives. They are a great way to wake yourself up and still keep yourself energized all day long.
However, if you would like a more potent caffeine replacement, we recommend you try out Mind Lab Pro. It is designed to optimize a wide array of cognitive functions including brain energy and in all types of people.