Coffee Too Bitter? Try One of These Other Yummy Sources of Caffeine!
Clinical Herbalist Reviewed on March 11, 2019 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Posted in Energy
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 after ingestion.
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.
Sign up for our newsletter and receive more articles and the latest health updates and special offers.
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan