If you need a caffeine kick to get you going in the morning but you're trying to avoid coffee, a few natural alternatives can give you what you need. Coffee contains high amounts of caffeine, which can lead to health problems such as a rise in blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Look for healthier beverages that contain smaller amounts of caffeine to help reduce your coffee habit.
Green tea naturally has less caffeine than coffee. Drinking a cup of green tea adds just 26 milligrams of caffeine to your daily intake, compared to more than 100 milligrams per cup of black coffee. Green tea has additional health benefits, such as lowering your cholesterol levels, possibly helping reduce cancer risk and helping control your blood sugar levels.
If you don't like the taste of green tea, or if you need to wean yourself from coffee's high caffeine content gradually, black tea may be a good option. An 8 ounce cup of black tea contains between 20 and 100 milligrams of caffeine. Read the labels on the black tea bag packages to choose the lowest amount of caffeine you need. Drinking black tea can also help reduce your risk of developing cancer and coronary artery disease.
Yerba mate is a natural South American beverage made by steeping the leaves and twigs of the yerba mate plant in hot water. An 8 ounce cup of yerba mate contains 30 milligrams of caffeine. Yerba mate has a slightly bitter, earthy taste that appeals to some drinkers. However, drinking yerba mate may increase your risk of mouth, esophagus and lung cancer. Consider this risk before choosing yerba mate as a coffee alternative, especially if you are a smoker.
Cocoa beans are a natural source of caffeine. Replace your daily cup of coffee with a mug of hot chocolate and you'll reduce the caffeine in your drink to just 10 milligrams. Look for a cocoa mix made with minimal or no sugar added, and skip the marshmallows for a sweet, lightly caffeinated hot drink that is loaded with healthy antioxidants.
- The Daily of the University of Washington; Coffee Alternatives; Erika Cederlind; November 2007
- Bastyr Center for Natural Health: Kick the Caffeine Craving
- MayoClinic.com: Caffeine Content for Coffee, Tea, Soda and More
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Green Tea
- MayoClinic.com; Yerba Mate: Is It Safe to Drink?; Katherine Zeratsky
- Brain Ready: Yerba Mate vs. Coffee: Which is Healthier?