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Science-Backed Alternatives to Coffee

Any VA can relate to the struggle when your morning coffee is not quite right, but you have to drink it (obviously can’t waste a single drop of caffeine), then you make another cup to cancel out the history of the bad cup, and suddenly you’re on your 8th cup of coffee by 2 pm. Okay, so maybe some of us are more addicted than others, but the struggle is still very real. People trying to break up with caffeine may find it difficult to cold-turkey their way out of this one, because it is so addicting and so widely accepted in our everyday lives, but the negative effects of caffeine on our bodies can be seriously drastic (insomnia, high blood pressure, and miscarriages, to name a few). We’ve assembled a list of alternatives to substitute caffeine in your daily routine, so you’re not really missing out on your morning cup of joe, you’re just substituting it.

Chicory Root Coffee

Chicory root coffee is made by adding roasted chicory root grounds to boiling water and letting them steam for a few minutes. The benefit of this is that it still provides that same coffee taste and smell, but without the harmful side effects. Chicory root coffee is also high in inulin which is a source of fibre, helpful in aiding digestion and in the promotion of good gut bacteria.

Rooibos Tea

If you don’t like the idea of a coffee at all, you can opt for rooibos tea. Coffee and most teas have high tannin contents which limit the amount of iron a person can intake, however, rooibos tea has a low tannin content which allows for a higher iron intake by drinkers. Additionally, it contains some useful antioxidants.

Matcha Tea

For those of you who haven’t jumped on the matcha train yet, you’re seriously missing out. It is a bit of an acquired taste at first, but there are a few options for different ways to indulge, so you can probably find one you like. Whether you add a bit of almond or oat milk or opt for straight matcha – this tea is a great alternative for coffee-drinkers who still need that caffeine kick in the mornings, as it's still caffeinated and often has even more caffeine than coffee! Not to mention, matcha tea boasts high levels of antioxidants, has potential weight loss properties, and helps lower blood pressure and one’s risk for type 2 diabetes.

Water, Water, Water

A large part of the reason why people turn to coffee is that they are dehydrated — yes, unfortunately, coffee actually makes you more dehydrated. Drinking water throughout the day enhances your hydration and will help offset your craving for caffeine. Plus, it will give your skin a nice glow, boost your digestive system, relieve headaches, and more.

Honestly, even if you don’t have a caffeine problem you should still drink more water.


If you’re looking for something else to give you that boost that caffeine does, maca is your next best option. You can add it to smoothies, overnight oats, or tea lattes for an additional boost of alertness and energy during the day.

Maca power traditionally has a bit of a nutty flavour, so be mindful of that, but can be easily overpowered by other strong flavours.

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