Most people enjoy a daily dose of caffeine, and many people can't get the day started or keep it going without some. While in moderation caffeine can be healthy, the overconsumption of caffeine, especially as sugary soft drinks and energy drinks, can take a toll on your body. That's why it pays to know about caffeine alternatives that provide energy and treat your body well too.

What Is Caffeine?

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Caffeine is a natural stimulant that is most commonly found in coffee beans, tea, and cacao beans. While these are the most widely known sources of caffeine, they aren't the only ones. Regardless of its source, caffeine has an interesting history. Historians believe that caffeine was first brewed in a tea back in 2737 BC, and later in the 9th-century, coffee originated in Ethiopia. In the late 1800s, caffeinated soft drinks entered the market. Today, caffeine is a daily part of most people's lives in the U.S.

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How Does It Work?


Believe it or not, the caffeine that you regularly consume isn't actually giving your body a boost. Instead, it replaces something in your body that naturally slows you down. Adenosine is a naturally occurring neurotransmitter in the human brain that attaches to nerve endings and tells the body to slow down.


To the human body, caffeine looks a lot like adenosine. Caffeine successfully attaches to the adenosine receptors in the human brain but doesn't slow down neurons as adenosine does. So instead the body keeps firing off neurons and releasing dopamine, and glutamine. That's why caffeine not only reduces the feelings of sluggishness and fatigue, but it also enhances mood and cognitive function.

Why Use Caffeine Alternatives?

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Now that you know a little about caffeine and how it works, should you stick with your consumption or do you need caffeine alternatives? Depending on how you look at it caffeine can be good and bad, many studies show a healthy dose and source of caffeine has health benefits including enhancing mood and brain function, boosting metabolism and assisting in weight loss, lower the risk of Alzheimer's, and more. With caffeine, it's all about how much caffeine you're consuming, how it impacts you specifically, and your sources of caffeine.

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How to Know if Your Need a Caffeine Alternative


While there can be many benefits of consuming caffeine, specifically as coffee or tea, there are also downsides to caffeine consumption, and if you relate to them, it might be time to check out some caffeine alternatives:


You Can't Get Going Without It

Caffeine is an addictive stimulant, and if your body becomes reliant on it, it's hard to do things such as getting out of bed in the morning without it. If you absolutely can't start your day without a dose of caffeine, then it might be time to try one of the many caffeine alternatives.


You Feel Anxious

While in small doses caffeine can boost your mood, too much of it can lead to anxiety and nervousness through overstimulating your body.


You Crash in the Afternoon

If your body depends on coffee, then your afternoon slump is likely a cause of caffeine wearing off leading to sleepiness. If this happens all the time, it might be better to try caffeine alternatives instead of reaching for another cup of coffee.


You're Jittery

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The caffeine jitters are usually associated more with coffee or caffeinated beverages than tea, and they can cause shakiness, eye twitches, and other uncontrolled motor activity.


You Need More

One cup of coffee a day for most people is considered healthy, even if it's followed by a couple of cups of low caffeine green tea. But if you continuously feel yourself needing more and more caffeine, then it's a good idea to test out some caffeine alternatives.


You Have Trouble Sleeping

Caffeine stays in your system for hours after consumption, so even a late morning or early afternoon cup of caffeine can impact your nighttime sleep.


You Experience Headaches

One of the most common side effects of caffeine withdrawal is headaches. I you experience headaches when you take in less caffeine, it might be time for a switch.


Quitting Is Hard

Possibly the surest sign that it's time to switch to some caffeine alternatives is that quitting or reducing your caffeine consumption is a challenge. Luckily the ten caffeine alternatives we've listed below will make the transition easier.

10 Effective Caffeine Alternatives

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Adaptogens (Ginseng, Maca, Rhodiola)


Adaptogens are plants that help the body heal and restore. Adaptogens don't target one specific part of the body but help the entire body resist stress and better cope with anxiety and fatigue. Adaptogens allow the body to achieve homeostasis, so swapping out your caffeine with adaptogenic herbs can give you the energy you want without the side effects.


Ginseng is an adaptogenic plant root that has been used in Chinese herbal medicine since ancient times. Ginseng is known to reduce fatigue while enhancing mood and improving mental focus. You can consume ginseng by boiling it as a tea, as an extract, or in a capsule. Maca is another adaptogenic herb, and it comes from the root of a Peruvian plant. Maca has been used for centuries to reduce fatigue, improve stamina, and enhance physical performance. You can add maca to water, smoothies, or take it as a supplemental capsule.


Rhodiola is another adaptogen that is known to increase energy and stamina while also improving attention and memory. Rhodiola is great for energy and for focusing on all your to-do list tasks. Similar to maca, you can add Rhodiola to smoothies or take as a capsule.

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Water


You know you probably should drink more water, so here's another reason. On top of being necessary for your body to function optimally, water can help you feel more energized and alert. Even minor levels of dehydration can lead to major fatigue.

For a natural energy boost, start your morning with a tall glass of water and some invigorating lemon. You can also add drops of peppermint essential oil or peppermint leaves to your water. Remember to stay hydrated throughout the day.

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Green Vegetable Juice


Most people can benefit from adding more greens to their diet. Adding greens to your diet naturally boosts energy levels because of the large amounts of nutrients, vitamins, and antioxidants they contain. If you're not keen on eating bowls of broccoli, then green juices are a far easier way to absorb the energy benefits of vegetables.

While we're on the topic of juices, Orange juice can also supply brain energy and provides your body with a healthy dose of vitamin C.

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Protein Power


Protein is essential in providing your body with energy, and it can also help with mood and concentration. Make sure you get a healthy dose of protein in your diet. Carrying nuts is a great way to always have a high protein snack with you for when your energy levels drop. You can also replace your afternoon cup of caffeine with a protein-based smoothie.

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Coconut Water


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Coconut water is refreshing and packed with tons of electrolytes like sodium and potassium, so it's a great way to hydrate your body and provide an energy boost. Since the electrolytes in coconut water help fight muscle weakness, it's also a great post-workout drink.

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Chicory Root


We will be honest with you; chicory root won't really give you an energy boost. But it will trick your body if you're an avid coffee drinker. If you're interested in trying caffeine alternatives because you want to reduce your coffee intake, chicory root is a great option. Chicory root does a great job mimicking the aroma, flavor, and experience of having a cup of coffee.

To help fight the habit of a cup of coffee, steep some chicory root in water and add your favorite milk and sweetener to mimic your usual coffee or latte.

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Chia Seeds


The story goes that ancient Mayans and Aztecs warriors would rely on chia seeds to energize them during wars. For you, chia seeds can also be a great source of energy. Plus, the omega-3 and omega-6 found in chia seeds can help boost brain power and fight off inflammation. Chia seeds can also help you stay full for longer. So for the energy that fueled ancient Mayan and Aztec warriors, add some chia seeds to your water or smoothies and drink up.

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Boost Your B12


The story goes that ancient Mayans and Aztecs warriors would rely on chia seeds to energize them during wars. For you, chia seeds can also be a great source of energy. Plus, the omega-3 and omega-6 found in chia seeds can help boost brain power and fight off inflammation. Chia seeds can also help you stay full for longer. So for the energy that fueled ancient Mayan and Aztec warriors, add some chia seeds to your water or smoothies and drink up.

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Carob


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Do you love chocolate and caffeine? If you do then, one of the best caffeine alternatives for you to try out is carob. Carob is most well known as a healthier chocolate alternative. It's often used to replace chocolate in baking as it contains protein, vitamins A and B, minerals and more. Carob also contains pinitol which combines with its minerals to provide an energy boost. And carob is good for your digestive system, which is essential as healthy digestion is a big part of feeling energized.

You can add carob to smoothies, or use it to make a hot chocolate beverage. Since carob is naturally sweet, you won't need to add any sweetener.

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Essential Oils and Aromatherapy


Essential oils have become increasingly popular in recent years, and they can be used to boost energy levels too. Using certain essential oils with energizing properties through aromatherapy can help perk you right up.

Essential oils like lemon, peppermint, rosemary, pine, and orange are a great way to boost energy levels. On top of using aromatherapy, high-quality essential oils like lemon and peppermint can be taken internally for an added boost of energy. When consuming essential oils always do your research and make sure the oils you have are safe to consume.

Conclusion

Whether you consume too much caffeine, are too sensitive to caffeine, or want some other energy-boosting options, these caffeine alternatives will help you get the energy you want and other added health benefits too.

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