We turn to coffee when we’re tired, when we’re catching up with friends, when we’re stressed, or when we just need a reprieve from the daily grind. Even those of us who don’t drink it still say we’re taking a “coffee break.” But what’s really in that cup could give you more of a jolt than the strongest espresso. In celebration of International Coffee Day, we’re breaking down what’s really in your java and giving you some alternative options to keep you caffeinated and healthy.
Spill the beans
Despite all the studies, coffee isn’t the magical health elixir you’ve read about. In fact, even those studies don’t showcase health benefits since they only prove association, not causation. Additionally, many people have a caffeine sensitivity that means any potential benefits would be overshadowed by things like headaches, jittery feelings, or a disrupted sleep cycle (only 10% of the population has the ability to drink caffeine with no ill effects). People with high blood pressure are especially at risk when it comes to coffee intake. In fact, even if you’re generally healthy that daily cup of joe might be doing more harm than good.
Non-organic coffee beans are the most heavily sprayed, pesticide-laden crop in the world. So even if you only buy organic produce and aim to limit the chemicals you and your family consume, if you’re drinking non-organic coffee you’re potentially exposing yourself to pesticides-and that’s before adding dairy, sweeteners, and other condiments to your mug.
Don’t worry, there are ways to get your fix without all the health concerns. Try the alternatives below and see what works for you:
- Tea, especially green. Get your caffeine with a boost of antioxidants and no jitters. Try Bigelow’s Organic Green Tea or matcha if you really want to up your green tea game-just make sure it’s pure matcha or you could end up with more sugar than you bargained for.
- Hot carob gives you all the comfort of a steaming cup. Check out this recipe and customize it to make it your own.
- Buy organic beans and grind them at home. Grinding beans instead of using pre-ground ensures you get any nutritional benefits coffee has to offer and you don’t have to worry about them going rancid before you get through the bag.
- Herbal coffees like Teecino let you enjoy the ritual without the worry. You can also mix this with your regular coffee to let your taste buds and body adjust to the change.
If you’re a big coffee drinker, watch out for caffeine withdrawal. Detox-like symptoms include headaches, fatigue, moodiness, or difficulty concentrating. Listen to your body and do what works for you.