Coffee is the go-to morning beverage for many and, if consumed in moderation, can prove beneficial. But are there any healthy alternatives for those who don’t fancy the brew?
A recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that people who consumed a moderate amount of coffee daily had a lower risk of death over a seven-year period than those who didn’t.
But while coffee has its health and energising benefits, it’s not for everyone. Reaching for caffeine in the morning may come as second nature to some, but it can leave others feeling jittery, dehydrated, or anxious — sometimes with an unwanted midday caffeine crash.
Fortunately, there are a number of other drinks, both stimulating and healthy, to start your day with. Here are four of the best ones to try.
Cleanse with Chai tea
Teeming with energising and health benefits, chai tea also smells and tastes heavenly. The black tea base contains caffeine, and the medley of spices provides various benefits: cardamom helps cleanse your system, ginger helps with digestion and soothes stomach troubles, while cinnamon could help boost your metabolism.
A study published in The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews found that black tea in chai tea may also help lower blood cholesterol levels.
Boost your memory with guarana
Guarana is a caffeine alternative that’s been used in Brazil for generations. In the UK, you may find it in small doses in energy drinks. As well as waking you up, guarana also supports healthy heart function, learning and memory.
A study in international research journal Appetite found that those who took a guarana-containing vitamin supplement felt less tired while completing several tests than those who took a placebo.
De-stress with matcha
Unlike coffee, matcha offers a less skittish pick-me-up. It’s made from dried, ground tea leaves with significantly more antioxidants than regularly brewed green tea — which is a healthy and energising drink choice in itself.
The drink contains a high concentration of flavonoids and L-theanine. Research in the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition has suggested that L-theanine increases relaxation without causing sleepiness, which is particularly helpful for those with high anxiety levels. Even a single cup of matcha has been found to have that effect.
Mix it up with chicory root
If you enjoy the taste of coffee and the process of making it, but you’d like to ditch the caffeine high, chicory root could be for you. With a nutty scent and woody taste, the drink has become quite popular.
You can grind, roast and brew chicory root just like you would with coffee. But you’ll avoid the coffee shakes, thanks to its caffeine-free status. Drinkers will enjoy the coffee-like flavour, without experiencing that dreaded afternoon crash.
It’s versatile, too. You can sip it as a tasty, caffeine-free alternative to coffee but, if you can’t go cold turkey from the real thing, you can also mix chicory root with coffee grounds on the days you’re craving a proper brew. You’ll find that chicory root comes packaged like regular coffee, so all you need to do is pop a few tablespoons in the filter and brew it to your tastes.
Chicory root is also an excellent source of inulin, a type of prebiotic fibre. A study in the European Journal of Nutrition found that inulin may help with weight loss and boost gut health. But be careful not to over-consume the drink if you have digestive problems, as inulin can also contribute to gas and bloating.