The controversy over caffeine has been long running, with no signs of the buzz over it slowing down anytime soon.
Coffee has so many benefits we'd have to sit down over a cup of Joe just to list them all. Yet, caffeine also has many ill consequences, from adrenal fatigue to jitters.
Many studies confirm the blessings of caffeine, from a Japanese study about it increasing memory, to a lab experiment with hairless rats showing it may prevent skin cancer, to brain research indicating caffeine may stave off Alzheimer’s. But do the hazards outweigh the benefits? We all know that caffeine can also raise blood pressure, keep you awake (isn’t that the whole point?), and irritate your intestines.
If you’re thinking about making the switch, here are some considerations.
Coffee contains antioxidants.
• Caffeic acid is found in coffee, but it is chemically unrelated to caffeine and does not stimulate the body. Instead, it is a member of the phenol chemical group, and phenols are known antioxidants and anticarcinogenics.
• Coffee also contains chlorogenic acid, another antioxidant that studies suggest may prevent type 2 diabetes mellitus. Chlorogenic acid can reduce glucose in the liver and help control blood sugar. The coffee plant itself uses chlorogenic acid to protect itself from viruses, bacteria and fungus.
• Coffee also provides modest amounts of Vitamin B3, or niacin, which forms during the bean roasting process.
One way to get these benefits without the downsides of caffeine is to drink decaffeinated coffee.
But, decaf coffee isn’t the only health and energy drink option on the menu when you want to rev up your day.
Here are some more delicious alternatives:
– Tastes strong and earthy with the same slightly bitter bite as coffee. Chicory is roasted dandelion root and is a powerful antioxidant and liver cleanser. Drink it straight or mix with decaf coffee for an especially bold taste.
– Roasted barley tea, called Bori Cha, is very popular in Asia. Its aroma is earthy and is rich in Vitamin B6, magnesium and iron. Pair it with rose hips, lemon or cinnamon.
Brown Rice Tea
– Enjoy the mild, nutty flavor of this tea, also called Genmaicha, and know that you are also getting some Vitamin B6, magnesium and potassium with every sip.
– The Chinese called this tangy and sour fermented tea a longevity drink for its magical powers to make a person live forever. Loaded with enzymes, amino acids and polyphenols, kombucha is a great digestive, antioxidant and immunity booster that gives a feeling of balance and vitality.
– A blend of dried chaga mushroom and steamed milk. Chaga is loaded with B vitamins, flavonoids, phenols, minerals and enzymes. It also has concentrations of pantothenic acid which is vital to adrenal gland function. Pair it with berries such as goji, pomegranate or blueberry for a powerful antioxidant punch.
– From the South American rainforest, Yerba Mate is a rejuvenating and powerful pick-me-up, famous for giving you a burst of energy without the jitters. Its smooth, naturally sweet grassy flavor is a perfect replacement for coffee and regular tea. Yerba Mate is loaded with B vitamins, Vitamin C and minerals including manganese, potassium and zinc. Drink it iced or hot.