Coffee Alternatives

138.1 million bags of coffee were consumed around the world between 2010 and 2011, according to the International Coffee Organization (ICO).  Although there is talk of coffee consumption declining in the 2011/12 consumption year, it can be safely said that Americans are addicted to coffee.  In the United States, 4.11 kg of coffee was consumed per capita in 2010, according to the ICO.

Although recent research has been done to sever the myth that coffee leads to a greater risk of heart disease and cancer, it can lead to caffeinism, more commonly known as a caffeine addiction.  Side-effects of a caffeine addiction include nervous irritability, tremulousness, occasional muscle twitching, sensory disturbances, tachypnea, palpitation, flushing, arrhythmias, diuresis, and gastrointestinal disturbances, according to Holly Pohler’s study Caffeine Intoxication and Addiction found in The Journal for Nurse Practitioners.

There are some health benefits such as a decreased rate of type 2 diabetes, increased liver protection, better mental and physical performance, and protection against colon cancer prevention according to Sharon Palmer’s article Coffee Offers Potential Health Perks in Environmental Nutrition.  It has overall been ruled that there is nothing wrong with having a cup of coffee every so often, although the risk a caffeine addiction is something to stay aware of.

If you are looking to cut back on coffee, try these other energy boosters in the morning:

Stephanie Clarke, R.D., and Willow Jarosh, R.D. worked on behalf of Self.com to create Top 5 Energy-Boosting Foods.  Berries made the top of the list as “one cup of raspberries or blackberries has 8 grams of fiber.  High-fiber foods release sugar into your bloodstream more slowly, so you won’t have peaks and crashes.”

Topping OrganicJar.com’s list is oats as they “contain the energizing and stress-lowering B vitamin family, which helps transform carbs into usable energy,” so experiment filling your morning mug with a high-fiber oatmeal instead of coffee.

Oranges are known to be full of sugar, but are good sources of Potassium, Dietary Fiber and Vitamin C all of which will wake you up before your morning routine.  Other citrus fruits to consider in the morning for a refreshing burst are grapefruit, mandarin, lemon and lime.  Although a great big bite into a lemon would certainly wake you up in the morning, cutting up lemon/lime slices to through in your water could do just the trick.

Other foods that made the cut according to Self.com and OrganicJar.com are nonfat plain Greek yogurt for protein that is a great energizer, bananas for their potassium to help “maintain normal nerve and muscle fuction” (OrganicJar.com), and almonds for their monounsaturated fats which provide fatty acids that keep you focused.

Also, don’t forget to drink water since dehydration will lead to fatigue. Shoot for eight large glasses a day.

-TravelBug