Addicted to coffee? Replace Coffee with these Healthier Alternatives
We often hear from friends and colleagues who try to give up on coffee how terrible they feel.
The difficulty for some people, particularly heavier users of coffee, to give up on coffee is truly great and should not be underestimated! For some people it can be harder than giving up on sugar or even alcohol. The medical literature has a long list of reported caffeine withdrawal symptoms. These include fatigue and low energy, difficulty concentrating, decreased alertness, irritability, tension and muscle stiffness, caffeine withdrawal headaches to mention just a few.
Unfortunately, decaffeinated coffee can’t be recommended as the caffeine is only part of the problem. For some reason (more on it in a different post) decaf coffee seems to provoke acidity in the stomach even more than regular coffee.
Coffee substitutes are non-coffee based products, usually without caffeine (or with very little), that are used to imitate coffee – if not by taste than at least by the overall feeling of freshness and alertness.
There are many reasons why one would want to consume a coffee alternative be it for health reasons or even a religious reasons. Mormons for example refrain from drinking coffee, but some may drink a substitute.
Throughout history, coffee substitutes were used for medical and economical reasons, or simply because coffee was simply not readily available.
Some culinary traditions such as Date seed coffee (coffee made from roasted palm date seeds) was used throughout the Middle East's desert for both health reasons and the fact that this is what was most available to find in the desert. Similarly, in Korea, culinary traditions include beverages made from roasted grain instead of coffee or even tea (including boricha, oksusu cha, and hyeonmi cha). These coffee like beverages originally did not substitute for coffee but filled their own niche as a hot beverage all by themselves. Due to globalization we are nowadays aware of these drink and use them as coffee alternatives.
Other cultures have roasted various grains and roots in order to prepare their favorite hot beverages. Some of these are still common substitutes for coffee even today!
In this article I would like to mention just a few quick, healthy and refreshing coffee substitutes we can all make ourselves at home or office. Parsnip postum, wheat “java”, roasted chickpea (yes, I said chickpea), roasted oats, fax, rye and (of course) chicory or southern barley brew instead of coffee aren't the only ingredients that can be used to make rich, good-tasting coffee substitutes.
A simple lemonade (peppermint, fresh lemon drop and water), peppermint tea, Ginger Tea, Chamomile tea, fennel tea (a bit of an acquired taste :-) or of course Date seed coffee (coffee-like beverage made from palm date seeds) can do a great job at energizing and refreshing you for the critical hours we all need.
This way not only are you avoiding the caffeine that can be a problem for so many people, but you are also getting the wonderful health benefits of these leafs, roots, seeds, flowers and fruits.
Healthy and Refreshing Coffee Alternatives
One of my personal favorite coffee replacements is a good peppermint tea. It has no caffeine but peppermint tea has a refreshing and invigorating energy to it that is perhaps more subtle, but definitely more easy to work with, than the jittery jolt of the strong caffeine in coffee.
Peppermint tea is good to reduce stress level, aides in weigh-loss by reducing appetite, helps to reduce fever and associated pain and discomfort, provides relief from excess gas, nausea and motion sickness and of course the fresh breath – you might even want to give some peppermint tea to your closest friends and colleagues :-)
A warm cup of peppermint tea can be a great coffee alternative for people who need something to get them going in the morning.
Like peppermint tea, ginger tea is both energizing and great for improving digestion. It makes a great coffee alternative as a strong ginger tea can really wake you up if you’re tired and improve your mood if the day isn’t going that well.
The health benefits of ginger root oil can be attributed to its digestive, expectorant, antiseptic, analgesic, anti inflammatory, stimulating and aphrodisiac properties to mention just a few.
Coconut water is a clear, milky liquid that comes from green, young coconuts. Coconut water is naturally sweet, contains bioactive enzymes and is chock full of rehydrating electrolytes, which makes it a good replacement for sugary sports drinks. In deed coconut is considered as one of the wonder trees known to man. Not only the fruit but the whole palm is reported to be of many uses. Coconut provides coconut water and the flesh inside the nut. The water and flesh supply us with essential nutrients that can keep our stomachs full and give us energy to increase endurance – best served fresh and ice cold :-)
A delicious and healthy substitute for coffee that is growing in popularity.
Modern research have shown that the Date Seed could be used as a medicinal food in treating renal stone, bronchial asthma, cough, hyper–activity and weak memory. Ishrud et al.  showed that date–pits contain glucomannan, which helped to normalize blood sugar, relieved stress on the pancreas, and discouraged blood sugar abnormalities such as hypoglycaemia and prevented many chronic diseases. Furthermore, Rahman & Al–Kharusi, 2004 showed in their research that Date–pits contain amino acids and hormones that could help improve memory.
For centuries, people around the world have turned to chamomile herbal tea as a cure-all for a multitude of physical and emotional health concerns. For anyone feeling a little tense as coffee lets go of its grip on them, chamomile tea can be a relaxing and soothing drink. Caffeine-free like ginger and peppermint tea, chamomile tea has been shown to help relaxation, reduce tension and improve sleep.
Feeling anxious? Chamomile tea can help!
In fact it seems to be good for caffeine withdrawal headaches :-)
Yerba mate has been used as a base for herbal medicines in South America for centuries, and the plant’s benefits and therapeutic properties have recently been verified by a number of scientific studies. Yerba Mate provides a wealth of nutrients however unlike the other alternatives we mentioned here, Yerba mate is exploding with caffeine for those who can't start the day without a cup o' caffeine. It is also packed with nutrients and is widely known for not having the heavy "crash" that coffee can bring.