When most people need a way to jumpstart their morning or get
a pick-me-up in the afternoon, they grab a cup of coffee for a little jolt of
caffeine. But coffee is definitely an acquired taste—and for some, it’s never
appealing. So what do you do, instead?
Caffeine naturally occurs in a wide variety of plants and
beans, so coffee isn’t the only place you can get a little perk. Your average
cup of ground coffee contains around 85 milligrams (mg) of caffeine, but other
sources can contain comparable amounts. Sometimes, a little less caffeine is
actually ideal if you’re taking it later in the day or have undesirable side effects
If you’re searching for a coffee alternative, avoid grabbing
a soda or energy drink, since these are packed with sugar and unhealthy
chemicals. Instead, if you’re in need of a healthy energy boost, try one of
these other yummy, natural sources of caffeine.
- Yerba mate: Yerba mate is a popular South American beverage that blends caffeine with a variety of vitamins and minerals, amino acids and antioxidants. Yerba mate doesn’t always have the same amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee, but it ultimately depends on the blend. Generally, yerba mate is the closest you can get to coffee when it comes to caffeine content per serving. Plus, you’re getting a variety of other healthy components that can help boost your energy in other ways.
- Tea: Black and green tea are two other popular ways to get caffeine. While their benefits are similar, the type of tea will dictate the caffeine content. Black tea can contain almost the same amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee. It also contains antioxidants. Green tea, on the other hand, has around a third of the caffeine content in a cup of coffee, but also contains other ingredients like amino acids and polyphenols. Tea is also great because it offers versatility in tastes and preparations.
- Matcha: Matcha tea contains around half the amount of caffeine in a standard cup of coffee (equaling around 30 milligrams). It also contains a healthy dose of antioxidants and is known to help improve focus, detoxify the body and burn more calories.
- Dark chocolate: Cocoa beans are another source of caffeine, and dark chocolate contains more cocoa than other varieties. Dark chocolate typically contains a small amount of caffeine, as well as other stimulants like theobromine. It’s also known to contain antioxidants, and it tastes delicious!
- Kombucha: Kombucha is a fermented tea you’re likely to find in your local healthy grocery store. It typically contains a small amount of caffeine, as well as live cultures of probiotics and other vitamins and minerals.
While a little bit of caffeine is perfectly safe, make sure
you’re monitoring your intake levels and stop when you reach around 400
milligrams per day. Taking more than that can lead to digestive issues, sleep
interruptions and other potential health problems.
Other ways to boost energy naturally
Of course, if you’re feeling tired every day, caffeine may
not be the best way to give yourself a pick-me-up. Caffeine works by
stimulating the nervous system, which results in increased
alertness and focus, but it is only a short-term solution, and you can get
resistant to it over time.
If fatigue and alertness are things you regularly struggle
with, try implementing these healthy habits to ensure your body and mind get
what they need to keep you feeling focused and energized.
- Full night’s sleep: If you’re not sleeping well at night, your body isn’t getting enough time to heal and recharge, and your alertness and energy levels will suffer in the morning. Try maintaining a regular sleep schedule to allow your body to adjust its circadian rhythms and make sure you’re getting around seven or eight hours of sleep each night.
- Healthy diet: Dietary imbalances and nutritional deficiencies can make you feel more tired and sluggish, and a high intake of processed foods and sugars can cause brain fog. Start each day with a healthy, balanced breakfast and work healthy snacks into your day to ensure your body is getting the vitamins, minerals and macronutrients it needs to keep you moving.
- Exercise: If you sit around for work all day and start to feel tired and unfocused, sometimes all you need is a quick exercise break to clear the mind and get your blood pumping. Aim to move just a few minutes each hour to combat stress and reduce the effects of sedentary living.
If you can’t stand the taste of coffee, there’s no need to
fret—you can still get your daily dose of caffeine in other, healthy ways without
turning to damaging sources like energy drinks. Combined with healthy habits
each and every day, these caffeine sources can help you feel alert and ready to
take on new challenges.