The Coffee-Free Way to Kick-Start Your Day-------
I am hooked on my morning coffee for energy. Is there a natural alternative that’s better for my body?
First, I’d ask: What’s your reason for wanting to give up coffee? If you’re having only one cup a day, it’s unlikely to do much harm. In fact, coffee has been shown to increase metabolism (half a cup a day might boost metabolism by 4 percent), and it’s rich in antioxidants. But the number one reason most people cut it out? Coffee increases adrenaline, which can heighten anxiety. It’s also very acidic, if you have any gut issues. I’d suggest starting to wean yourself off with a caffeinated beverage, as this will help lessen the side effects of “coming off” the liquid fuel. Start with black tea, the highest in caffeine, then after a week, switch to green tea, then lastly to white (unfermented green tea), which is the lowest in caffeine. All these drinks will boost your energy and are rich in antioxidants. Tea also contains the amino acid L-theanine, which has a calming effect on anxiety. If you want to avoid caffeine entirely, switch to a ginseng tea. It has many health benefits—ranging from enhanced immunity to improvement of mental and physical performance—and will give you a boost in energy. Added bonus: It has a cortisol-sparing effect, so it actually helps treat the adrenal fatigue associated with high coffee intake.
A leader in herbal medicine, Daniela Turley is a board member of The American School of Natural Health, a member of The American Herbalists Guild, and The College of Practitioners of Phytotherapy. Born and raised in England, Turley received her bachelor of science in herbal medicine, and held an honorary position at the Hale Clinic, the renowned complementary health center in London. In 2011, Turley moved to the New York City where she joined the practice of Shellie Goldstein Acupuncture.
—As told to Kari Molvar