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Delicious, Healthy Coffee Alternatives

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"Although coffee is very popular, there are lots of alternatives to it. Coffee is very acidic and very inflammatory to our bodies, so it’s a good idea to try to cut down the amount you consume every day."

In today’s episode with Dr. Nancy Lin, PhD holistic nutritionist, we’ve got coffee on the mind! We are going to look at healthy alternatives to coffee, the benefits and the negative impacts of coffee, and we’ll  get to see some of the most common caffeine withdrawal symptoms. We will also learn some tips for how to kick the coffee addiction, or at least cut down on coffee. Plus (of course!) Dr. Nancy will share one of her favorite recipes as an alternative to drinking coffee.

Video Highlights.

  • 4:07: Fun Facts about Coffee.
  • 7:15: Where Does Coffee Come From?
  • 12:25: Benefits of Drinking Coffee.
  • 13:01: Less Beneficial Impacts
  • 20:10: What happens to you when you drink coffee?
  • 21:15: Caffeine Withdrawal
  • 24:34: Tips for Kicking the Habit
  • 27:58: Alternatives to Coffee
  • 39:48: Wrap Up

Fun Facts About Coffee

Did you know that 83% of Americans drink coffee, with 64% drinking at least a cup every single day? The United States consumes more coffee than any other country in the world.

Although coffee is very popular, there are lots of alternatives to it. Coffee is very acidic and very inflammatory to our bodies, so it’s a good idea to try to cut down the amount you consume every day. Americans consume 400 million cups of coffee per day. This is equivalent to 146 billion cups of coffee a year.

The majority of coffee consumed in the day, about 65%, is consumed in the morning, at breakfast time. 55% of coffee drinkers reported that they would rather gain 10 pounds than give up coffee for life. Interestingly enough, 52% of coffee drinkers would rather go without a shower in the morning than go without coffee. 49% of coffee drinkers would rather give up their cell phone for an entire month than go without coffee.

On average, an American spends $1,110 on coffee each year, translating to approximately $3 each day.

Coffee is a native of Ethiopia, Africa, that comes from the seed of the coffee plant. Coffee beans are roasted for flavor. Surprisingly, raw coffee beans are pretty much tasteless. Roasting brings out the oils and the flavors in the coffee, giving it its distinctive taste and smell.

There is also a lot of controversy surrounding coffee. There are lots of publications and articles that tell us about the health benefits of coffee, and just as many articles reporting that coffee wreaks havoc in the body and leads to various negative health issues.

But don’t worry! Today’s video is not about us telling you to give up coffee. Today, we’re just providing information so that you can make the best and healthiest educated decisions for you.

Benefits of Drinking Coffee

The good news is that there are plenty of proven health benefits that come along with drinking coffee. These include.

  • Increased metabolism
  • Significantly lowers risk of Alzheimer’s disease
  • Provides rich convenient source of powerful antioxidants
  • Coffee has a lot of caffeine that gives you energy.

On the other hand...

Coffee can contribute to several side effects that could have an impact to you health and overall wellbeing, such as:

  • Too much caffeine can cause you to feel anxious or jittery.
  • Coffee has a lot of caffeine. A cup contains 70 to 80 milligrams all the way to 170 milligrams of caffeine per serving. However, it really depends on what type of coffee and the amount of caffeine you have.
  • Caffeine in coffee gives you the burst of energy you’re looking for, but it also stimulates your fight or flight hormones, which can increase levels of anxiety, nervousness and even cause heart palpitations or panic attacks for some people.
  • Coffee can result in low energy. Caffeine is a stimulant, and it stimulates the body’s adrenal system which gives you a short-term boost of energy. But it also is accompanied by an intense energy crash that can leave you fatigued and feeling mentally and physically drained.
  • Coffee is very acidic to your gut. It can prevent you from getting sound, restful sleep.
  • It also triggers hormones and neurotransmitters that overstretch your adrenal glands and it can pump your anxiety and your stress levels.

The recommended daily maximum intake of caffeine is 400 mg. If you’re a coffee drinker, you probably average about 3 cups of coffee per day. In America, the daily average consumption is around 1.6 cups per day. However, drinking more than the daily recommended amount of coffee may result in some adverse health effects that are consistent with too much caffeine. Over time, this can lead to more severe or chronic issues that include:

  • Weight gain. Caffeine and coffee can increase the level of your stress hormone cortisol. Over time, elevated levels of cortisol can contribute to weight gain.
  • Mineral deficiency. Caffeine affects iron absorption in the stomach. Overtime, this reduces your kidney’s ability to store calcium, zinc, magnesium, and other important minerals.

The bottom-line is that the negatives of heavy coffee consumption are just too high if you’re already dealing with inflammation and insulin resistance. For many people, this is a big problem. It lights up stress hormones which create cortisol and then increases insulin and inflammation. We are constantly on the go, and what do we do when we’re tired? We often pick up something artificial to give us energy. But then this artificial energy in our body attacks our adrenal system, as well as a lot of other things in our body, and then we can’t go to sleep at night. So now we’re tired, we’re angry, we’re exhausted... and our body cannot function at its optimum when we are chronically exhausted. So now you need more energy and you drink more coffee, or energy drinks, and it becomes a cycle. We’ve got to look at another approach to be healthier and to navigate through our days in a less inflamed way.

If you are dealing with inflammation (and most of us are) we always recommend that you do everything you can to reduce or lower your daily inflammatory load. One of the easiest things that you can do is to take Smarter Curcumin by Smarter Nutrition. This has so many incredible, active, fast acting, inflammation fighting, powerful ingredients, and it’s designed to fight inflammation it so that you can be less inflamed and feel better from your head to your toes.

What happens to you when you drink coffee?

When you drink coffee, within 10 minutes caffeine enters your bloodstream and your blood pressure and heart rate begin to rise. After about 20 minutes, you begin to become more alert and your concentration levels start to improve. However if you drink too much of it, you will notice anxiety start to build up, and possibly a jittery, or shaking feeling, especially if you’re sensitive to caffeine.

Caffeine stays in your nervous system for at least four to six hours, and within 12 hours things return to normal. After 12 hours, your body starts to develop withdrawal symptoms from not consuming any more caffeine. This is called caffeine withdrawal.

Caffeine Withdrawal

Caffeine is absolutely addictive, and like any addictive substance, withdrawal causes some really significant and uncomfortable symptoms. Caffeine withdrawal is a real thing. One of the most common and unpleasant side effects of caffeine withdrawal is severe headaches.

Other side effects include:

  • Brain fog
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Flu-like symptoms, including muscle and joint pain

Withdrawal symptoms associated with caffeine typically begin within 12 to 24 hours after you last consumed it and peak during the first two days. In some cases, withdrawal symptoms can last up to nine days. Although high dosing coffee drinkers are more likely to experience more intense symptoms, it only takes about three days of regular caffeine consumption to create a withdrawal effect described above.

Tips for Kicking the Habit

You might decide to quit caffeine and coffee altogether or you might just want to quit coffee, or cut back on your caffeine intake. You can also opt to drink something else other than coffee. Following are some helpful tips for cutting back your coffee or caffeine intake:

  • Avoid coffee withdrawal altogether by slowly reducing your daily coffee consumption. If you normally drink four cups of coffee per day, drink three. If you normally drink three, drink two. Every single week cut back one cup. This way you can effectively adjust your intake with now withdrawal.
  • Gradually reduce the amount of caffeine content in your coffee. Instead of reducing the number of cups, consider switching to half-caff or decaf coffee before quitting altogether. You can also replace caffeinated beverages with herbal teas, to soothe symptoms associated with caffeine withdrawal. Some popular herbal teas include chamomile at night, or organic iced tea in the daytime. Coffee and teas are sprayed with pesticide more than any other food products in the world. For this reason, it is very important that you always opt for organic coffee and tea.
  • It’s also absolutely essential that we stay hydrated, so drink plenty of filtered, spring water or other non-caffeinated drinks. Dehydration can worsen your headaches and withdrawal symptoms.
  • The most effective way to reduce or deal with caffeine withdrawal symptoms is to get up and get moving to increase your energy naturally. Go for a morning run or do a quick workout. These are both good ways to get your endorphins pumping and naturally boost your energy without caffeine.

Alternatives to Coffee

There are also many great alternatives to coffee. Here are just a few:

Eat a cold crisp apple

Apples are high in fiber and antioxidants, and in general are really good for you. The crunch wakes you up, it’s not too sweet and it will make you feel happy!

Matcha green tea

This is the whole green tea leaf, stone ground into fine powder. Matcha green tea powder is super yummy and healthy. To drink matcha, all you have to do is dissolve the powder in warm water, creating a tea packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. A two-gram serving of matcha, a little more than half a teaspoon, contains enough caffeine to give you an energy boost, but only 1/5 of the caffeine in a standard coffee cup. It’s a slow release caffeine throughout the day, so you will not get that crash. Additionally, the caffeine in matcha is delivered slowly in your body, over six to eight hour period so you will not feel the jitteriness of the matcha. It is the highest antioxidant of any tea. It is darker because it has a higher content of chlorophyll as the plants are grown in the shade making them higher for antioxidants and so good for you.

Matcha tea also contains the highest natural concentration of the amino acid L-Theanine, which has been shown to improve concentration, increase dopamine levels, and improve memory. Also, matcha supports the health of your immune system, fights inflammation, and is loaded with antioxidants.

Yerba Mate

This provides the same morning energy that coffee gives. It’s preferred by many because it’s packed with nutrients as well. Yerba mate is made from naturally caffeinated leaves of the South American rainforest holly tree. Ironically, it has less caffeine than coffee but many find its brain fog clearing and immensely energizing effects cleaner and sharper than coffee. Yerba mate contains theobromine, quercetin, and other ingredients that slow the effects of caffeine. It provides a long-lasting boost of energy without the crash that coffee often brings.

Another benefit of Yerba mate is that it can be prepared and consumed in a lot of ways; you can drink it hot, you can drink it cold with honey, unsweetened, in a tea infuser, and even brewed in a coffee maker.

Coconut Water

This is actually the liquid that comes from green, young coconuts. In the Vietnam War, young coconuts were infused into the body because it mirrored blood plasma. It is actually sweet, it contains bioactive enzymes, and it’s chock-full of rehydrating electrolytes and minerals that most of us don’t get enough of like potassium, calcium, and magnesium. All of these make coconut water an excellent replacement for your morning cup of coffee.

Coconut water is red because it contains polyphenols. It is raw, not pasteurized or preheated, contains Himalayan salt, and it’s high in antioxidants.

In addition, it reduces inflammation as it’s loaded with antioxidants and rich in amino acids. Dr. Nancy recommends trying out Harmless Harvest, as it does not an aluminum taste to it. To get the maximum nutrition and health benefits, make sure that you only drink all natural, unpasteurized coconut water.

Warm Lemon Water

Warm water, lemon and natural pink Himalayan sea salt, is a great coffee alternative. You can use a cup of warm spring water, squeeze in half a lemon, and then add a teaspoon of Himalayan salt. Stir and then drink. This helps to improve your adrenal and thyroid health and it also improves and balances pH levels in your digestive system, which is beneficial for digestive health as well. Drink this every morning when you wake up on an empty stomach, and then drink eight glasses of mineral water throughout the day.

When you do not drink enough water, your electrolytes can be thrown off, which can result in cramping, Charlie horses, and difficulty concentrating. On the other hand, when you drink too much water, it can throw off your digestive juices and you’re not going to be able to digest minerals and vitamins from the foods that you’re eating. Plus, you end up having to pee too often. It’s hard to drink too much water though… you would have to drink five or six gallons a day. As with everything, we need moderation and balance.

Wrap Up

The world loves coffee. Americans drink 400 million cups of coffee each day. While coffee has been linked to a number of health benefits like improving mental alertness, speeding up the metabolism and being rich in antioxidants (if it’s organic), it’s also known to contribute to less beneficial things like anxiety and sleep issues, and can even lead to other more serious issues like stomach and hormonal imbalance.

Additionally, coffee contains high amounts of caffeine, which has very addictive properties and can cause significant withdrawal symptoms including headaches, brain fog, fatigue, difficulty concentrating and irritability in as little as 12 hours without it.

While drinking coffee is always a choice, we recommend avoiding it or at least cutting back. If you are already having inflammation issues and joint pain, stomach, and sleep issues, you may really want to avoid coffee altogether. We’ve talked about several tips to help out with the process of kicking your coffee addiction, including gradually reducing the amount of coffee you drink each and every day, staying hydrated, and making sure to get plenty of body movement and exercise.

In addition, there are tons of great coffee alternatives including herbal teas, matcha green tea, apples, yerba mate, coconut water, and warm water with lemon and Himalayan salt. Hopefully this helps you feel equipped and educated to make the healthiest decisions for your life, and start to feel better, sleep better, and have more energy.


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1 comment


  • Thank you for the information its very helpful

    Douglas Tucker on

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