The morning cup of coffee! Many of us can’t even consider driving to work before we have that first cup of coffee in the morning, never mind getting through the rest of the day. The consumption of coffee goes back to at least the 10th century, with many variations to the story of coffee’s origin as a beverage.
Benefits of Drinking Coffee
There are many benefits for drinking coffee besides the quick pick-me-up it offers. Coffee offers regular drinkers a reduced risk of type-2 diabetes as it helps control insulin levels, a reduced (as high as 40%) risk of liver cancer and protection against heart failure and stroke. Coffee drinkers also show lowered incidents of cirrhosis of the liver, especially alcohol induced cirrhosis. Coffee also contains antioxidants, magnesium and chromium.
Drawbacks of Drinking Coffee
But coffee consumption has some drawbacks as well, as caffeine can raise blood pressure and increase the fight-or-flight response, complete with a spike in epinephrine (adrenaline). This increases stress levels and can have damaging, long term affects. There is also an unknown risk to pregnant women who consume more than 200mg per day (12 ounces).
For those who want to limit their caffeine intake, there are many healthy alternatives to that morning cup of coffee, or two. Here are some healthy alternatives to start your day off right:
- Yerba Mate – Packed with nutrients, this alternative offers a boost of caffeine that doesn’t result in the crash common with coffee.
- Tea – Black, green and herbal teas offer a rich source of antioxidants and B vitamins. Tea comes in a variety of flavors, and can be had with or without caffeine for that added boost.
- Sparkling Waters – A hydrating alternative, sparkling water comes in flavors, or fruit and fruit extract can be added. This alternative is caffeine free, but served cold can be very refreshing.
- Kombucha Tea – A variety of fermented beverages are available, and all are chock full of probiotics which result in healthier digestion.
- Wheatgrass Juice – Full of vitamins and minerals, wheatgrass juice is well known for its nutritional boost and, because it is easily absorbed, it offers natural energy.
- Smoothies – Blended drinks from a combination of fruits, vegetables, yogurt, almond milk, dairy or soy milks can be made of almost anything. Smoothies offer a way to get an extra boost of nutrition and a delicious pick me up while avoiding caffeine.