The nutty aroma, the bold flavor, iced or warmed to the perfect temp — a cup of coffee just makes life better… In the morning, in the afternoon, whenever you need a pick-me-up! And we now know, there’s no reason for us to feel guilty about our coffee habits, as numerous studies show that coffee confers health benefits.
And it’s unabashedly addictive, so much so that in 2013, caffeine dependence became an actual mental disorder. And here you thought you were completely sane. Some studies even show that people who drink two or more cups of coffee a day have an increased risk of heart disease IF they have a genetic mutation that causes them to digest caffeine really slowly. Sounds weird, but it’s actually a pretty common genetic characteristic. And then, there’s the effect that coffee drinking has on your skin — eek!
Drinking coffee (or caffeine-rich teas for that matter) can tarnish the radiant glow of your skin in a few ways.
1. Dehydration: Coffee dehydrates, both because it’s a diuretic and because it contains tannins. Tannins (also found in tea) are used to make commercial leather soft and shiny because it sucks the hydration out. Tannins do the same thing to your skin. They block the pores of your cells, and then your poor cells can’t absorb nutrients from your food. The liver has to work extra hard, and when liver function falters, toxins eventually build-up. These toxins creep towards your skin, causing inflammation and premature aging — think redness, and wrinkles!
2. Acne:Dehydration leads to acne. When you don’t have enough water to flush out the toxins, they build up and cause acne. And then you need to look at what you’re putting in your coffee. Dairy creamers and milk contain hormones that can affect sebum production and cause acne. And sugar and sweeteners activate glycation, which also causes acne!
3. Liver Spots: Sometimes called age spots, liver spots can be caused by toxic buildup in the liver. When toxins accumulate, the liver can’t properly purify the blood, which can harm skin cells and cause liver spots… and once again, acne! Balance out your coffee drinking with a lot of water. And don’t worry; 3-4 cups of coffee shouldn’t kill you, or your skin.
But, if for some reason you can’t drink coffee — it makes you jittery, it tears up your stomach, it makes your boobs too fibrous — here are some coffee substitutes for you to enjoy in the morning, afternoon, or whenever you need a kick:
With yerba mate you get the same kick as coffee without the energy crash later on… or so proponents say. Yerba mate (yer-bah mah-tay) is made from the caffeinated leaves of the South American rainforest holly tree (Ilex paraguariensis). It’s packed with nutrients that are associated with encouraging weight loss, boosting energy, relieving fatigue, easing depression, and alleviating headaches, but no definitive evidence confirms these claims. What we do know for sure is that yerba mate delivers a nice pop of caffeine!
You can even go for the caffeine-free version of chocolate. Just mix carob powder in some warm milk and add a teaspoon of honey for a natural energy amp. Carob powder is full of fiber, antioxidants, calcium, protein and vitamins A and B, and helps to naturally activate the body’s energy production systems.
You don’t have to go to the spa or a restaurant to put lemon in your water. Lemon water may not give you the buzz you’re after in the morning, but it’s a great afternoon buzz booster. Vitamin C in lemon water helps to enhance immunity, and potassium nourishes brain and nerve function. Lemons are one of the most alkaline foods, and drinking lemon water can help balance your pH so that you don’t lean more toward an acidic state, which promotes disease. Drinking lemon water can also help stimulate the production of bile and clear your digestive tract of leftover junk.
Shilijit is a gooey, gummy, tar-like substance made from resin and formed by the decomposition of nutrient-rich plants. It doesn’t sound very appetizing (and it’s probably not), but it’s an everyday breakfast item in Nepal. All you need is a small dollop to melt in your tea or other hot drink for an immediate jolt of energy. It’s pretty bitter, so you’ll definitely want to add in some honey. Boasting 85 minerals, as well as fulvic acid and humic acid, shilijit’s been used for it’s restorative properties by Ayurvedic practitioners for thousands of years. Apparently, it can help encourage cell and tissue regeneration and help activate energy production by metabolizing proteins and vitamins.
Of course, there are many more energy boosters out there, both with and without caffeine. Let us know what your favorite coffee substitute happens to be in the comments below!
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