Around the world, people start their day with coffee, tea, or some source of caffeine. Believe it or not, many people don’t start their day with caffeine. If you’ve been a coffee drinker, you may wonder how they get energy throughout the day.
Some people choose to avoid caffeine. A regular cup of coffee has about 95 mg of caffeine. It can cause agitation, nervousness, anxiousness, and even digestive discomfort for some people. Other people find that caffeine contributes to headaches, or they may simply not care for the taste of caffeinated beverages.
Whatever the reason for avoiding caffeine, you can be sure there are alternatives to caffeine to get energy throughout the day. If you’re curious about decaffeinated life, here are some tasty caffeine alternatives to explore.
For people who enjoy caffeinated beverages, they would probably tell you there is no alternative for their preferred beverage. However, there are alternatives to coffee, tea, and energy drinks. Here are some alternatives to try.
1. Chicory Coffee
Chicory is a plant from the daisy family, and it has many uses from various parts of the plant. Chicory root is most commonly used to make a delicious, hot beverage with a coffee substitute. The root can be roasted, ground, and brewed just like coffee beans.
The taste of chicory coffee is very similar to the coffee itself, but chicory coffee is caffeine-free. You can typically find it on the coffee and tea aisle at the store, and it is pre-roasted and ground, like coffee. You can prepare it in the same variety of ways that you would prepare coffee grounds.
Again, like coffee, chicory has health benefits of its own. Here are some benefits to choosing this caffeine alternative:
- Rich source of insulin
- Soluble fiber source
- Promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria
- Stimulates bile production in the gallbladder
The benefits of chicory coffee may help improve your energy, sharpen your focus, and elevate your mood. It also helps aid in the digestive process, but like coffee, it can cause some digestive discomfort for some drinkers.
2. Lemon Water
Many people swear by the benefits of lemon water in the morning to start your day. Plain black coffee is low in calories, but lemon water is caffeine-free and low-calorie.
Lemon water is an excellent source of vitamin C. One serving of lemon water has 18.6 mg of vitamin C, which is about 21 percent of your daily value.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant, and it helps support your immune system, protects your skin from sun damage, and plays an essential part in the body’s production of collagen protein.
You can enjoy this beverage cold. To make lemon water, you juice half a lemon into one cup of cold water. This citrusy drink is one of the most refreshing drinks on this list, especially when considering how simple it is to prepare.
3. Golden Milk
Golden milk is a warm beverage that originated in India. To make Golden Milk, you need only five minutes.
To enjoy this warm, caffeine-free beverage, you combine one cup of milk or dairy alternative in a saucepan with ½ teaspoon of ground turmeric, ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon, ⅛ teaspoon of ground ginger, and a pinch of black pepper.
You’ll warm the mixture on the stove on low while keeping it stirred to prevent burning. When it is heated, you can enjoy it in your favorite coffee mug.
Like coffee or tea, you may opt to sweeten this golden beverage. Honey is the typical sweetener of choice for this beverage, and cardamom and vanilla are common to use in this beverage as well.
While warm milk and honey alone are usually used to soothe people who can’t sleep, the spices that make this drink golden are also its primary energy source, making it a caffeine alternative.
The spices, particularly turmeric, can soothe inflammation in the body, and less pain can lead to more energy.
4. Alternative Teas
Some lower caffeinated teas support a healthy alternative to more traditional sources of caffeine. Most are prepared in ways similar to how you might prepare coffee or tea.
Some popular options for alternative teas include:
- Yerba Mate
These alternatives to traditional coffee or tea each offer health benefits of their own, like antioxidant properties.
If you can have some caffeine but need to limit your consumption, these may be some alternatives to look into for you.
Finding a “better than coffee” substitute can be a challenge. If you love coffee but not the caffeine, you may want to drink decaf coffee and choose other alternatives for boosting your energy.
Other Caffeine Alternatives
Believe it or not, we have no nutritional need for caffeine. It’s a substance we use for its effects, but it is seen as safe and legal, unlike other stimulants. However, our bodies can work very well and have enough energy for daily activities without consuming caffeine.
Here are some energy-boosting tips that can help you naturally.
1. Get Enough Sleep
There is no substitute for a good night’s sleep. Too often, we turn to caffeine to support us during the day when we’re not sleeping enough at night.
While caffeine can give you a boost of energy, sharpen your focus, and help keep you awake, it can’t give you the restorative rest that sleep provides.
When you consume caffeine late in the day, you may inadvertently make it more difficult to fall asleep at night.
If you’re considering giving up caffeine, you may want a little help to fall asleep at night. It’s recommended that adults get eight hours of sleep at night. If you haven’t been getting that much sleep lately, it may take some time to get back on track.
2. Eat For Energy
A healthy diet can certainly include caffeine, but it can also be an alternative way to get energy without caffeine. The type of foods you consume and how much you eat can impact your energy levels.
Remember that caffeine has no nutritional value, and food is the body’s fuel source. If you want sustained energy that won’t negatively impact your sleep, start with your diet.
Some foods to incorporate as part of your diet to eat for energy include:
- Fatty fish like salmon or tuna
- Sweet potatoes
These are just some examples. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and other healthy protein sources like nuts, fish, and lean meats.
Even the healthiest diet has weak points in it. Consider adding a supplement to support your efforts.
3. Hydrate Yourself
Water is an essential part of all life. In our bodies, water serves an important part in most cellular functions, including the production of energy.
If you aren’t properly hydrated, you can feel slow, sluggish, and tired. Improving your daily water intake can help you naturally feel more energetic.
Don’t wait to be thirsty. Drink water periodically throughout the day to stay properly hydrated and reach the recommended goal of eight cups of water per day.
4. Exercise For Energy
You might not think that doing more would improve your energy levels, but it might surprise you to learn that exercise is great at improving your energy levels.
Instead of reaching for your typical caffeinated beverage, try taking a short walk the next time you need a pick-me-up.
Other forms of exercise to consider that won’t exhaust you and may even boost your energy are:
- Resistance strength training
Exercise can increase your body’s flow of oxygenated blood which can help fuel cellular energy production in the mitochondria. In addition, increasing your physical activity can help your body operate more efficiently and make better use of your energy.
Whether you opt for energy in the form of a beverage or other natural alternatives to caffeine, you should have a good standby to help you throughout the day. Many of us rely so heavily on caffeine that we neglect the other areas to give us enough energy.
Finding an alternative beverage can be exciting and offer additional health benefits. However, the taste and smell of coffee may have won your heart long ago.
For true coffee lovers, the alternative to caffeine lies outside the realm of beverages. Proper sleep, diet, exercise, and hydration are the tools to have enough energy as you take on the day.
We do not need caffeine. We only think we do.
Sources:Caffeine in the diet | MedlinePlus.gov
Meet our Experts
This article has been reviewed by members of our Scientific Advisory Board.
Former Olympic Athlete, Founder, B2ten Foundation (coach to multiple Olympic Champions)
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