The argument has raged on and on about coffee. Is it good? Is it bad? Do the benefits outweigh the drawbacks? On a surface level, coffee has many beneficial attributes and a lot of people are unable to function properly (imagine shuffling zombies) without daily dosing of coffee. Coffee has also been mooted to help with some forms of cancer and Parkinson's disease. But the deeper details behind the usage of coffee are not as picture perfect as that.

Reasons why you should not take so much coffee:

So, here a few drawbacks of coffee that may make you think twice before you brew another cup.

1. Coffee is addictive: I'm sure you already knew this. Some may get as attached to their coffee as an addict is to his crack. This is so bad that people who are regular coffee drinkers experience severe withdrawal symptoms if they go too long without having a cup.

2. Palpitations and other cardiovascular issues: The caffeine in coffee is trimethylxanthine and it causes a massive increase in heart rate. In susceptible people, this might lead to them becoming uncomfortably aware of their heart beating. Not a pleasant experience.

3. You might add a few pounds: Coffee has been know to mess with lipid metabolism. In addition to the fact that it increases blood levels of LDL and VLDL (the bad cholesterols) it also causes a lot of individuals to add on some weight, which might be a very bad idea this summer.

4. Stress (maybe with some hair pulling): Coffee activates the stress hormone, cortisol, which is produced by the adrenal glands. This hormone readies your body for stressful situations. However, with coffee, it levels in your body are always high. You could compare the effect on your body to that of working all night shifts for a whole month.

5. You'll probably lose some essential minerals: Coffee acts as a mild diuretic. That alone would have been fine but it also causes increased urinary excretion of some essential minerals like magnesium and calcium. If you do not compensate by increasing your intake of foods rich in these minerals, you might develop electrolyte imbalance.

6. Indigestion and other stomach problems: Coffee has a deleterious effect on digestion. It has been indicated in a lot of digestive system discomforts ranging from minor things like bloating to serious entities like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

7. Sleep problems: The caffeine in coffee is a potent stimulant and you may find it harder to catch those z's after going to bed. At times, it may lead to frustrating situations such as staying awake all through the night only to drift off to sleep by 4 am. Someone is sure to have a cranky day.

8. Lowered energy levels: And this is the paradox of coffee's existence. A substance that is consumed to achieve high energy levels actually causes low energy levels. This is because, even though coffee gives a temporary boost to energy levels, it reduces your baseline level and so you will be needing more and more cups of coffee just to get that same buzz you used to get after one cup.

So, why go herbal?

Herbal alternatives to coffee are actually better for your energy levels as they work through natural pathways to block free radicals, scoop up toxins and deal with other negative factors that suck up your energy. You are also less likely to develop unwanted tolerance to the herbal alternatives. Dependence on these alternatives is almost nonexistent in contrast with coffee.

Okay, alternatives, here we come:

So let's take a look at some herbal alternatives that boost your energy and are naturally occurring herbal alternatives to coffee.

Yerba Mate Tea: This is derived from the Yerba Mate plant, a species in the jolly genus. It has been used as a stimulant for long periods of time in South America. It contains xanthines, saponins, polyphenols caffeoyl derivatives and other naturally occurring antioxidants which 2ill help to keep your energy levels high.

Shilajit: Also known as mumijo or ayurvedic superfood. If you prefer to drink water in the morning mumijo is the best addition to your morning glass of water.  Shilajit is produced by the slow decomposition of vegetable matter over the years. It is used in Ayurvedic medicine and dissolves completely in water to give a golden coloration. It enhances brain function, prevents anemia, increases energy levels and helps with aging. But you should be aware how to use shilajit and it dosage.

Matcha Tea: This is a special preparation of green tea which uses only the leaves and discards the stems and the veins. Bear in mind that green tea is one of the healthiest beverages on the planet. However, a cup of Matcha Tea contains antioxidants equivalent to ten cups of regular green tea. How is that for size.

Hot Maca: Where the harsh peaks of the Andes meats the sturdy people of Peru, something has to give. Maca has over the centuries been taken both as good and as a beverage by the people of Peru. It contains antioxidants vitamins and minerals that can help you handle harsh situations. It can also be used as a substitute for hot chocolate.

Kombucha Tea: This is made in a very special way. Green or black tea is fermented by a combination of yeast and bacteria. The resulting beverage is very high in probiotics, which is good for your intestines and general energy levels.

Lemongrass Tea: The lemongrass plant (also known as citronella) has been used by the Thai for centuries. It has potent antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory actions. It also lowers serum levels of LDL and helps with weight loss.

So what's the key point

Coffee has its good points and it also has its bad points. As research progresses, it's bad points are getting more glaring. So, it might be wise of you to switch from coffee to one of these herbal alternatives which offer you the benefits of coffee with none of its drawbacks.


Published by Johanne Cosihan