Coffee, prized for its flavour, caffeine content, and versatility, is the world’s second-most-valuable commodity after oil earning an estimated $60 billion annually.
Grown in over 50 countries subsisting an approximate 25 million farmers worldwide, your morning brew is the world’s most popular drink with around 400 billion cups consumed globally every year. Its caffeine content, the stimulant that ‘picks you up,’ is also the most popular drug in the world.
Whether this ‘lift’ is your friend or foe, the pendulum seems to swing with some frequency. On one hand, there are a host of potential health benefits associated with the drink, including lower risks of cardiovascular disease and more recently, liver disease. On the other, there’s talk in wellness circles that just one cup can stress out your adrenals and shift sleep patterns.
Phil Anthony, an Online Health Coach focusing on Optimal Nutrition, Gut Health, Hormones and Metabolism shares that if you are bit too highly strung, stressed or not sleeping well, coffee could be hindering your health and performance. ‘If my coaching clients are reliant on caffeine, it’s usually a sign that they are overly stressed and need caffeine to get them through the day,’ he tells explains.
‘That’s a short-term fix that may be causing problems in the long term. You can’t solve stress with adding more stress to the system. We need to help the system relax and recover.’
Whatever your stance, it’s only natural to feel sluggish at times. There’ s so much that demands our attention and energy, we can have the tendency to feel drained. But if you’d prefer to not reach for that coffee hit, or simply don’t like the taste, you can invest in alternative products that boost your body naturally.
Fuel your morning with these seven sustainable energy drinks sourced from the earth to help you feel your best every day.
Coconut water is known to increase the body’s precious electrolyte levels – essential minerals such as sodium, potassium, and chloride that are vital for many of the body’s key functions. This thirst-quencher is not only low in calories but high in natural minerals, providing you with the same adrenaline rush and dopamine levels that coffee gives you – without the side effects. Drink on its own or add it to a smoothie for a refreshing twist. But be wary of options loaded with sugar!
The centuries-old beverage hails from India, but has become a popular tea across the globe thanks to its array of health benefits which include boosting heart health, reducing blood sugar levels, aiding digestion and helping with weight loss. A blend of black tea, milk, and various spices such as cardamom and cinnamon, the delicious drink which contains less caffeine than coffee has been proven to reduce the effects of fatigue and increase awareness. And as our body absorbs the caffeine in chai slower than the caffeine in coffee, it might even keep you alert for longer.
Green tea does contain some caffeine but significantly less than coffee. It also contains the amino acid L-theanine, which can work in synergy with caffeine to improve brain function. Phil suggests green tea as an alternative to caffeine: ‘Green tea is a fantastic source of L-Theanine, a micronutrient that is scientifically proven to help reduce anxiety, stress, and reduce insomnia. Even if stress isn’t a problem for you L-Theanine has also been shown to help with focus and attention. This really does make green tea a smart choice for any and everyone.’
If you look at the ingredients of popular energy drinks, you’ll likely see ginseng. In traditional Chinese medicine, ginseng was used as an energy-replenishing tonic. It was said to supplement spleen, lung, heart, liver, and kidneys, and sharpen the mind. Today, it’s used for memory and endurance, as well as for enhancing concentration. It can be eaten raw or you can lightly steam it to soften it. It can also be stewed in water to make a tea. To do this, just add hot water to freshly sliced ginseng and let it steep for several minutes.
Although caffeinated, matcha is an excellent natural high. It’s created by steaming, drying, and grinding the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant into a fine powder and, in contrast to brewable green tea, you consume the whole leaf meaning you get a richer source of antioxidants. Matcha contains about three times more antioxidants than high quality regular green tea so and apparently just two cups of matcha has the equivalent benefit of 20 cups of green tea! Drink hot or cold with coconut milk for a perfect morning brew.
Kombucha is high in by fermenting black tea with bacteria, yeast, and sugar. After fermentation, kombucha contains probiotics, acetic acid and antioxidants — a unique combination that can give a small rush of energy. But it’s not only good as a pick me up, the drink is known to improve the body’s natural detoxification process as well as aid indigestion and weight loss. Pass us a cup please.
Red tea is a caffeine-free beverage that originated in South Africa. Its powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties – as much as fifty times more antioxidant power than green tea – makes it a perfect coffee alternative. Rooibos is in fact known to have the opposite effect to caffeine, helping to calm the central nervous system as well as soothing headaches, hypertension and irritability while also improving concentration.