The healthy alternatives to coffee
- Health & Wellbeing
Most experts agree that if you’re in good health, having moderate amounts of coffee (1-2 coffees) a day can actually help promote wellness.
However, for some people with health issues, the high caffeine content in coffee may mean they have to abstain from their morning brew, swap to decaf, or find an alternative. Others just want to reduce their dependency and find another more natural way to get that energy boost. The good news is there are now some delicious and healthy alternatives to coffee on the scene.
We ask nutritionist Gemma Clark which healthy beverages can easily be swapped out in place of coffee as your new morning must-have.
Sipping this flavourful beverage can help you feel warm on a rainy day. However, the spices in chai also pack a powerful health punch, says Clark. “Cinnamon can reduce sugar cravings, while cloves, another spice found in chai, is antimicrobial and can help ease digestive issues,” she says. For the healthiest option, find one brewed from real spices and with little or no sugar, suggests Clark.
Matcha green tea latte
While a matcha latte does contain caffeine (about 34mg per serve), it also boasts impressive healing properties. “Matcha is made from powdered green tea leaves that are dense in phytonutrients and contain high levels of antioxidants,” Clark says.
Since you are consuming the actual powdered tea leaves, rather than just an infusion, your daily cup of matcha has the antioxidant levels of 10 cups of brewed green tea. “These antioxidants act like the waste removal systems of your body preventing cell damage and helping our livers identify disease-causing toxins to eliminate them,” says Clark.
Fun fact: matcha is rich in antioxidants called polyphenols, which have been tied to improving heart health
Coffee lovers may fall for the slightly bitter aftertaste of this nutty brew that can be made creamier by adding in your favourite milk or milk substitute. “It’s also free of caffeine,” says Clark.
Dandelion coffee is nutrient-rich, containing B complex vitamins as well as vitamins A, C, D, zinc, potassium and iron. “This nutrient-rich mix makes it a popular drink often prescribed by naturopaths as a calming agent and it can be a good anti-inflammatory as well,” says Clark.
Turmeric latte (Golden latte)
Turmeric is being hailed as a wonder nutrient because of its strong anti-inflammatory properties. Curcumin, the key anti-inflammatory agent in turmeric, works on the molecular level to reduce inflammation, promote circulation and reduce cholesterol.
“A lot of disease states such as Alzheimer’s disease stem from inflammation, where your body is trying to correct an imbalance. Having a daily dose of turmeric as a drink can help give your body a much-needed anti-inflammatory boost,” says Clark.
Fun fact: turmeric also helps to detoxify the body
Hot cacao (Healthy hot chocolate)
This irresistible drink has all the taste of a hot chocolate without the sugar and fat. Hot cacao is made from the raw superfood cacao powder, which is one step between the unprocessed cacao bean and processed coco powder. Cacao is packed with magnesium, a mineral that is used in many key bodily processes.
“It helps our bodies convert food to energy, helps us make neurotransmitters and is very important for our muscles and movement,” says Clark.
Hot maca drink
Maca is a root vegetable that comes from Peru, where it is known as the Peruvian ginseng because it is thought to increase energy and vitality. Its powdered form has a strong caramel taste that, when made into a drink by adding hot water or milk, makes for an earthy, warming treat. But more than a great taste, maca is full of amino acids, B vitamins and healthy fatty acids.
Fun fact: maca is said to boost libido and increase endurance
“It’s often used to treat hormonal problems but it can have a very individual effect on each person, so it’s best to check with your naturopath if it’s right for you,” Clark recommends.
This bright red drink is sure to turn a few heads at your local café. It’s essentially an almond or coconut milk latte but with beetroot powder or juice mixed into it. Nutritionists sing the praises of beetroot because of its high vitamin A and C content and its ability to promote blood circulation.
What’s your hot beverage of choice? Let us know in the comments below.