Coffee has become a ritual for many and it’s now the most common drink in the whole world; with close to 2.5 billion cups consumed every day. The 2017 National Coffee association Report on American coffee consumption showed that there had been an overall increase in coffee consumption over recent years.
All this is attributed to the enormous health benefits of coffee. In this article, we are going to look at other healthy alternatives to coffee. But before, let us have a brief history of this wonder drink.
The healthy alternatives to coffee are lemon water, golden milk, matcha tea, yerba mate key, peppermint, hot cocoa, chicory tea, kombucha, green tea, apple cider vinegar.
What is coffee?
Coffee is a brewed drink made from roasted coffee beans of a given coffee species. Ripe coffee berries are processed and dried, after which they are roasted at different degrees depending on the required flavor. After roasting, the beans are ground and then brewed with boiling water to form the coffee beverage
Coffee is believed to have been discovered in the 9th-century by an Ethiopian goatherd legend Kaldi; when he noticed that his goats got excited after eating coffee beans from a coffee plant. From Ethiopia, coffee made its way northwards to Yemen across the red see in the 15th-century.
What are the ingredients in coffee?
The ingredients in coffee include;
- Vitamin B
Is black coffee healthy?
Drinking 1 -2 cups of black coffee every day reduces the risk of many diseases including; stroke, cancer, and above all, coffee is anti-inflammatory.
Black coffee is also nutrient-dense with a variety of B vitamins, magnesium, potassium, and manganese. All these come with a number of health benefits.
Black coffee is therefore healthy because of the various health benefits therein.
Why look into healthy alternatives to coffee?
Coffee despite the many health benefits, has downsides that arise from caffeine which is the main ingredient in coffee. Caffeine may raise blood pressure, it may increase the risk of heart attack, Caffeine could cause inconsistencies in thinking, may cause insomnia and also caused indigestion.
What are the healthy alternatives to coffee?
Healthy alternatives to coffee include;
1. Golden milk
This is a traditional Indian non-caffeinated drink. It consists of spices such as cinnamon, turmeric, and black pepper. These are responsible for its golden color. Golden milk is anti-inflammatory because it contains curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric. Black pepper promotes the absorption of curcumin and fat.
2. Lemon water
You can start your day hydrated by replacing coffee with a glass of lemon water. Lemon water is a calorie and caffeine-free with a good supply of the antioxidant (vitamin C) to your body. Vitamin C boosts the immune system and protects the skin from sun damage. Vitamin C is also responsible for the production of collagen that provides skin structure, tendons, and ligaments.
3. Matcha tea
We can produce this tea by steaming, drying, and grinding the leaves of the camellia Sinensis plant to make a very fine powder. Unlike the brewable green tea, we consume the whole leaves, giving you a more concentrated supply of antioxidants (epigallocatechin). Epigallocatechin is the ingredient behind the many health benefits of matcha including the reduced risk of high blood pressure.
4. Yerba mate tea
This comes from the dry leaves of the South American holly tree called Ilex opaca. It naturally contains caffeine, with one cup (237 ml) containing close to 78 mg of caffeine. This is a similar content present in an average cup of coffee.
Other minerals contained in yerba mate tea include; vitamin C and D, calcium, iron, phosphorus, thiamine, and riboflavin.
5. Chicory coffee
Although chicory coffee tastes like coffee, it is made by roasting, grounding, and brewing chicory root. It is caffeine-free and rich in inulin. Chicory coffee promotes digestion and a healthy gut by boosting the growth of good bacteria such as bifidobacterial and lactobacilli.
It also promotes the digestion of fat by stimulating the gallbladder to produce more bile
6. Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar comes from the fermentation of crushed apples using yeast and bacteria. The compound acetic acid got from the fermentation process helps to regulate blood sugar levels.
In one study where people with insulin resistance were treated to 20 grams of apple cider vinegar before eating, it was established that blood sugar levels were reduced by 64%.
We get kombucha by fermenting black tea with bacteria, yeast, and sugar. The fermented product contains probiotics, acetic acid, and antioxidants. These are responsible for the health benefits of kombucha. Although the health benefits of this drink are not reliable in humans, Animal and test-tube studies indicate that kombucha may improve cholesterol and blood glucose levels.
8. Green tea
Of all the teas available, green tea provides the most health benefits. This makes it a great alternative to the coffee drink. Studies show that people who drink green tea are less likely to get different forms of cancers. There is also research linking green tea to reduced type 2diabetes and heart disease.
9. Hot cocoa
Although hot cocoa is used at night to help you relax and sleep, it is a good healthy alternative to coffee. Adding cacao powder into warm milk can create a morning beverage packed with antioxidants, with richness and flavor profile like that of coffee.
10. Peppermint tea
This is an herbal tea that is naturally calorie and caffeinated free. Peppermint has a calming effect that helps indigestion, and pain.
What are the health benefits of coffee?
When we talk of coffee most of you think about its ability to boost energy, keeping you alert each and every hour of the day. However, research shows that coffee has so many health benefits which we are going to look at below.
1. Coffee boosts energy
Coffee contains a stimulant called caffeine which increases energy levels and makes you feel less tired. After consuming coffee, caffeine is absorbed in the blood system and then makes its way to the brain where it improves many aspects such as memory, mood, vigilance, and general mental health, according to research.
2. Can burn fat
Several studies have linked caffeine in coffee to fat burning because of its ability to boost metabolism. In fact, caffeine is a component in every fat burning supplement on the market.
3. Improves physical performance
Caffeine stimulates the nervous system, prompting the fat cells to break down in order to release energy as well as increasing the adrenaline level in the blood. This prepares the body for physical intense exertion. All these indicate that caffeine can improve physical performance.
Coffee contains very important nutrients which include; riboflavin, magnesium, caffeine, niacin, potassium, and pantothenic acid.
5. Lower risk of type 2 diabetes
Coffee lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes. Diabetes comes with elevated blood sugar levels caused by the inability to secrete insulin. According to a review of 18 studies in a total of 457,922 people, each daily cup of coffee was associated with a 7% reduced risk of type 2 diabetes
6. Protection from Alzheimer’s disease
This is a progressive disease that destroys memory and inhibits most mental functions. It affects people of age, probably 65yrs and above. This disease has no cure but drinking coffee can prevent the disease from occurring in the first place. Research shows that coffee drinkers have up to a 65% lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease
7. Lowers the Risk of Parkinson’s
This is the disease of the central nervous system that affects movement. Just like Alzheimer’s disease, this disease has no cure, making prevention very important. Studies show that coffee drinkers have a much lower risk of Parkinson’s disease, with a risk reduction ranging from 32–60%
8. Can fight depression
Depression is a mental health disorder characterized by persistent loss of interest in activities and this impairs daily life. According to a Harvard study published in 2011, women who drank 4 or more cups of coffee per day had a 20% lower risk of becoming depressed
9. Helps you live longer
Since coffee prevents many diseases, it makes sense to say that coffee makes you live longer. In two very large studies, drinking coffee was associated with a 20% reduced risk of death in men and a 26% decreased risk of death in women, over 18–24 years.
10. Coffee protects your liver
The common diseases that affect the liver include; hepatitis, and fatty liver disease. These lead to a liver condition known as cirrhosis. Fortunately, research shows that people who consume 4 or more cups of coffee a day have an 80% lower risk compared to those that don’t take coffee.
What are the side effects of coffee?
Just like the saying, too much of everything is bad. The same applies to coffee. Drinking too much coffee is associated with adverse effects as discussed below.
- Too much coffee in women may have a higher risk of bone fractures which is not the case with men.
- Coffee consumption may not be safe during pregnancy as it has an association with pregnancy loss, low birth weight, and preterm birth
- High consumption of coffee is linked to a high risk of Gastroesophageal reflux disease
- High amounts of coffee consumption are linked to anxiety, especially among people with panic disorder
- One study from 2016 concluded that a high intake of caffeine during adolescence can lead to permanent changes in the brain.
- Coffee may contain toxic ingredients such as mycotoxins which may be harmful to your body.
Although coffee has many health benefits, consumption of high amounts comes with health risks as we have discussed above. Fortunately, there are plenty of healthier options to coffee, many of which provide benefits that coffee cannot offer.
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