Coffee-free Drinks That Can Boost Your Energy

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Via Giphy

By Jessica Hamlin

Trying to kick your coffee habit but still want to function or get a boost when you need one?

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Via Giphy

If you want to try something new, several coffee alternatives exist, some with caffeine and some without. So whether you’re looking to kick coffee, lessen your dose or quit caffeine altogether, these suggestions may help you get started.   

SOME POINTERS

Several things can contribute to lack of energy—poor sleep and diet, lack of exercise, stress, busyness, an underlying condition and more, so these drink suggestions are by no means a cure-all or substitute for a healthy lifestyle. If you find that you feel tired often you may want to check in with a health professional.

If you’re switching from coffee, be sure to monitor your caffeine intake, start slow and listen to your body. Stay tuned for more in our series on how to rev up your energy in different ways.

Let’s get started!

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Via Giphy

CAFFEINE-FREE DRINKS

Water

Why it’s good: 

This seems obvious but sometimes it’s easy to skip out on something so essential, especially if we’re busy or distracted. There’s a reason we’re encouraged to drink at least 8 cups of water a day—our body needs it to survive and function. Your fatigue could be due to dehydration. If you usually reach for something else first if you’re tired—especially caffeine—you could dehydrate yourself even further. So try a tall glass of water first.

How to have it:

  • If drinking water seems like a chore, make it easier by getting a water bottle you like that can easily be toted around and serve as a reminder to fill up throughout the day.
  • Add lemon, orange or cucumber slices to your water for a little extra flavor that can encourage you to sip away.

Maca drinks

Why it’s good:

Maca, a root usually consumed in powder form, is packed with minerals and amino acids and is known to increase energy, stamina, mood, memory and a host of other positive things. No wonder it’s being called a superfood.

How to have it:

Mushroom drinks

Why they're good:

You may be used to eating your mushrooms, but drinks like teas with other mushrooms that have a variety of supposed perks are getting popular. Lion’s mane mushrooms can help with concentration while cordyceps mushrooms reportedly help fight fatigue, enhance athletic performance and improve mental energy.  

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Via Giphy

How to have it: 

You can power up with mushrooms as tea, hot chocolate, elixir or even—gasp!—coffee. Four Sigmatic’s powdered mushroom drinks have you covered and some stores have individual packets of their products if you don’t want to go all in on drinking mushrooms just yet.

DRINKS WITH CAFFEINE

Cacao drinks

Why it’s good:

 Cacao is usually raw and unrefined—unlike cocoa—so it has more benefits intact. It’s packed with helpful antioxidants plus magnesium and a compound that support energy. And it’s delicious! The amount of caffeine can vary based on the form of the cacao but it also has theobromine, which acts similarly to caffeine.

How to have it:

Cacao is unsweetened in its natural raw state and can taste bitter if you’re not used to it, so you may want to mix it with other foods or drinks to balance out the flavor.

Green and black tea

Why it’s good:

Black tea, which usually contains more caffeine than green tea, helps mental alertness and purportedly heart health, stress levels and more. In addition to the energy boost, green tea reportedly helps endurance and heart health and is a good source of antioxidants.

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Via Giphy 

How to have it:

  • Drink green or black tea, hot or iced, brewed from tea bags or loose leaf tea or find a good grab-and-go bottle in the grocery store—just look at the label for added sugar or other ingredients. This Vanilla Spice Perfect Energy tea blends green and black teas with l-theanine for a good focused energy. If a tea tastes too intense for you, add some milk or a small drizzle of honey.
  • Matcha green tea has more caffeine than other varieties but also promotes an “alert calm.”
  • Energy drinks can give you a crazy highs and lows, but these ones from RE blend green tea with fruit, ginseng and vitamins for clean mental and physical energy. They can pack a punch so try half a bottle or less first with food (and water) to see how you feel.

Kombucha

Why it’s good:

This popular fermented tea drink helps your healthy gut bacteria that in turn help your body in a bunch of ways. The fermented tea also helps release iron that can energize you. The tea has a small amount of caffeine that you may or may not feel.

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Via Giphy

How to have it:

Brew your own (you’ll need to get a group of cultures called a SCOBY first) or grab a cold bottle at most grocery stores. Just watch the sugar content since some Kombuchas can be a sugar bomb. And don’t shake it before opening since it’s carbonated.

Guayusa

Why it’s good:

This leaf from the Amazon has the same amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee but also has theobromine to calm jitters plus twice the antioxidants of green tea.

How to have it:

Guayusa can be brewed like tea or consumed in a bottled tea or healthy energy drink. Just check for added sugars.

Yerba Mate

Why it’s good: 

Another leaf from South America, yerba mate (pronounced YER-bah MAH-tay) has clean energy without the crash and high antioxidants. Just be wary of constant consumption.

How to have it:

Brew yerba mate like tea or try a ready-to-go drink. Plain yerba mate can seem bitter or earthy to some people so you may want to add a bit of honey or milk. 


Jessica Hamlin is an LA-born and bred journalist and editor who started taking pictures of food back when everyone used film cameras. A graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition’s health coach training program, she’s passionate about wellness and enjoys making and discovering delicious and healthy food. Her work has appeared in Clean Plates, NPR affiliate KPCC, AOL, and Eater LA.

 

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