The origin of coffee and its consumption dates back to the 10th century. Studies suggest that coffee drinking may have started in Ethiopia. From there, the practice of drinking coffee first spread through the Middle East before reaching Europe, then moving to Southeast Asia before making it to America.
America’s Obsession with Coffee
In a recent National Coffee Association’s survey, 64% of the respondents indicated that they drink at least one cup of coffee a day. Artisan or gourmet coffee is preferred among the younger generations. Forty eight percent of millennials in the survey stated that they have had artisan or gourmet coffee.
If you’re not yet convinced that the country is a highly-caffeinated nation, here’s more proof:
- An average American spends $1,110 annually for coffee
- Fifty-five percent of coffee drinkers would rather gain 10 pounds than give up coffee for life
- Fifty-two percent of coffee drinkers would forgo showering in the morning rather than giving up their caffeine fix
- More than half of coffee drinkers are willing to give up their mobile phones for a month rather than go without coffee
The Good and the Bad
Coffee provides a number of benefits. Not only can it provide a much needed jolt to jumpstart your morning and improve concentration, but some studies reveal that coffee is a potent source of antioxidants. Coffee has been also found to reduce the risk of getting liver cancer, gout, heart diseases, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Also, one to two cups of coffee has been found to cut post workout pain by 48%. However, too much of anything can be detrimental to one’s health.
Excessive consumption of coffee can have a negative impact on quality of sleep. Overuse of caffeine can cause headaches and migraines. As caffeine is a stimulant, excessive amounts can cause hypertension and increased heart rate. Cortisol levels also increase when too much caffeine is present in the blood stream and can trigger hunger pangs. Moreover, acidity in coffee can cause digestive discomfort. Lastly, it is a known fact that dependence to addictive substances, like caffeine, can cause more harm in the long-run.
Finding an Alternative to Coffee
If coffee drawbacks outweigh the benefits for you, the following energizing alternatives can help you ditch the caffeine:
1. Matcha Green Tea
This healthy alternative has been found to contain antioxidants equivalent to 10 cups of brewed green tea. It has been labeled as a “superfood” and is rich in Vitamin C, Selenium, Chromium, Zinc and Magnesium. It is also rich in fiber and chlorophyll. Its health benefits includes faster metabolism, lowers blood cholesterol and sugar, and helps ward off diseases.
2. Hot Maca
Another superfood that can very well replace coffee. Maca is a root crop indigenous to the Andes of Peru. Maca is often powdered and blended as a smoothie ingredient but can also be enjoyed as a warm drink. This superfood helps regulate hormones and enhance energy without the usual kick of stimulants.
Often referred to as herbal coffee, teeccino is the next best thing. It gives the same warm and strong drink experience without the caffeine. It provides an energy burst from nutrients rather than stimulants. This drink is non-acidic, contains the prebiotic inulin, and potassium that helps prevent stroke and high blood pressure.
4. Orange Juice
Orange juice contains flavonoids. These are chemicals that aid in improving blood flow to the brain. A glass can also boost alertness and concentration. Not to mention that the effect can last up to six hours.
5. Hot Lemon Water
This unassuming citrus fruit is loaded with vitamin C, A, E, B6, Folate, Niacin, Phosphorus, Magnesium and Zinc. Hot lemon water in the morning can also aid in balancing your body’s pH, stimulates the digestive tract and boost immune system.
Not ready to give up your morning cup of Joe completely? Try cutting back slowly and incorporating some of the healthy alternatives mentioned above.