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Shake Up Your Caffeine Routine With These Coffee Substitutes

Coffee Alternatives For Beauty

6 min read

Posted by Amy Lucas on July 12, 2016

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.

The Good...

The Mayo Clinic claims that research links coffee drinking to decreased overall mortality, and possible decreased cardiovascular mortality. In other words, coffee may help you live for longer, and protect against death from heart disease. However, if you’re a young’un, don’t be too quick to load up on cup after cup o' joe — studies indicate that the benefit doesn’t extend to young people who drink loads of the liquid. So… you may not be totally off the hook. Other health benefits of drinking coffee on the regular (and we’re talking in moderation… not ten cups a day) may include:
  • Your brain working better
  • Less chance of depression
  • A lower risk for Parkinson’s disease, type 2 diabetes, and liver problems
Love Coffee

And, the Not So Good...

Even so, coffee can carry some problematic risks that may offset the benefits depending on the particular person. There are well-documented side effects of caffeine, of which coffee contains A LOT:
  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness
  • Nervousness
  • Stomach troubles
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Rapid heart rate and breathing
  • Irregular heartbeats
  • Headaches
  • Ringing in the ear

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!

Beauty Benefits of Being Caffeine Free

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:

Teas to Try

Let’s start with chai and matcha, because they are the two most coffee-like teas. Chai Tea: Chai tea is black tea mixed with milk and yummy spices like cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger. You can whip up your own chai blend or use a pre-made concoction. I love Trader Joe’s Spicy Chai Tea Latte Mix because it’s creamy and delicious, and tricks my brain into thinking I’m drinking a cup of coffee. Trader Joes Spicy Chai Matcha Tea: This is the coffee lover’s version of green tea. It’s a powdered, creamy green tea that you whisk up into a frothy beverage reminiscent of coffee. It’s full of catechins, which are stellar anti-aging antioxidants, and has caffeine so you’ll get an energy boost without the jitters associated with coffee.
Licorice Tea: This is a wonderfully supportive tea to drink in the late afternoon or evening when you need some energy. It doesn’t contain caffeine, and it helps revitalize overwhelmed adrenal glands. Basically, licorice tea helps you de-stress while giving you a little extra boost. The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends steeping 1-5 grams of dried licorice root in boiling water and drinking three times a day if you are suffering from fatigue or adrenal exhaustion. Studies also suggest that drinking licorice tea may help with weight maintenance. It’s a handy tea to have on hand.
Siberian Ginseng Tea: Ginseng root is slightly bitter, so I like to add some honey to my Siberian ginseng tea. It’s an adaptogen, which means it helps your body adapt to whatever is stressing it out. It’s known to help increase energy, strengthen your immune system and relieve overall fatigue. Animal studies have also shown that it acts as an anti-inflammatory and can help boost memory, although such claims need to be verified using actual humans as test subjects.
Kombucha Tea: The perfect cocktail for the summer (and it naturally contains just a little bit of alcohol), kombucha is a fermented tea that’s full of live probiotics that nourish your digestive system, boost your immune function and rejuvenate skin and hair. We need these healthful little bugs in our guts, and kombucha delivers! Dr. Axe says that kombucha tea contains enzymes and probiotics that help improve digestion, stimulate weight loss, increase energy, detoxify the body, decrease joint pain, and possibly even help with cancer prevention. Try Tea!

Yerba Mate: Coffee, Tea and Chocolate in One

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!

Trade in the Espresso for Wheatgrass

Wheatgrass is a great afternoon energy elixir. It tastes pretty awful, so be sure you chase it back with a shot of juice or a slice of orange. Wheatgrass is made from the green seed leaves of wheat, but contains no gluten, so you don’t have to worry if you’re gluten sensitive. Packed with vitamin C, folate and chlorophyll, wheatgrass is purported to help:
  • Strengthen immunity
  • Detox the body
  • Improve digestion
  • Stimulate the production of red blood cells

Carob Powder for a Chocolatey Treat

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.

Luxuriate with Lemon Water

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.

Add a Shot of Shilijit

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!

Amy Lucas

Amy Lucas

LA based actress and writer, Amy Lucas, is our resident beauty blogger. With a penchant for living life to full, you'll find her here sharing her musings on health & wellness and of course beauty. We're sure you'll love her positive, open and honest approach to life. It's a much needed breath of fresh air and we are thrilled to have her as a contributing author on the Glad Lash Blog! You can read more from Amy at her personal blog www.musingsofaminx.com.


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