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Part 4: Healthy Alternatives to Coffee and Caffeine

A mug of ginger tea with lemon, mint and honey.
Ginger tea with lemon, mint and honey is both soothing and invigorating.

Is coffee good for you?

The truth is it doesn’t seem as if science has definitively answered this question. It’s been shown to lessen the risk of depression in some people. But it can also ratchet up anxiety in others.

At the end of the day, it may just be up to you to decide whether coffee improves your day or makes it worse.

Anxiety is a part of life—and it’s especially common during the early part of recovery from drugs or alcohol. But if you feel that you’re anxious more than you’re not, you might try seeing how you feel after taking a break from coffee.

Here are a few beverages to try out.

5 Coffee Alternatives

Sure, you could always drink water, but there’s something about holding a warm mug that is so appealing. Here are five beverages to try:

  • Green Tea. This is often the first place people turn after giving up coffee—and for good reason. Many consider green tea to be the ultimate anti-aging beverage. It’s high in anti-oxidants and, while it does have some caffeine, it has far less than coffee. Green tea also contains the amino acid L-theanine, which increases the anti-anxiety neurotransmitter GABA.
  • Hot Maca. A traditional Peruvian drink, maca has gained a lot of attention recently for its alleged abilities to regulate hormones. “Superfood Cuisine: Cooking with Nature’s Most Amazing Foods” offers this recipe: Mix one teaspoon maca powder in a blender with 1 tablespoon maple syrup, and 1 1/4 cup unsweetened almond or cashew milk. Heat in a small saucepan until frothy.
  • Chamomile Tea. There’s nothing new or exciting about this beverage, but on the other hand, it’s been used since ancient times—and there must be a reason for that. Early research backs up what people have believed for centuries, namely that chamomile tea can result in better sleep and a feeling of relaxation.
  • Carob Cinnamon Delight. With a flavor similar to chocolate, carob powder tastes naturally sweet and is delicious mixed with warm milk and a bit of honey. A few variations: Swap out the milk for coconut milk and sweeten with maple syrup instead of honey. You could also try a bit of vanilla or cinnamon.
  • Ginger Tea with Lemon, Mint and Honey. Lemon is packed with vitamin C. Ginger is anti-inflammatory and also helps alleviate nausea. Mint aids in digestion. And honey has both anti-bacterial and antioxidant properties. Put it all together and you’ve got a very soothing drink—that also tastes great. Check out this recipe from Chinese Grandma.

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