At this point, our morning cup o’ joe has become just as much a part of our routine as brushing our teeth. The problem comes several hours later, when it’s 2 p.m., we’re suddenly exhausted, and not even Spotify’s Daily Lift playlist can perk us up. This crash is something we’ve come to expect after our a.m. coffee—but maybe it shouldn’t be. Today, we’re sharing eight natural alternatives that will keep your energy levels up throughout a hectic day without the dreaded afternoon slump. Think: a steady flow of energy, instead of spikes and jitteriness. Interested?
Keep scrolling to see eight natural coffee alternatives you’ve never thought of!
Flax seeds, or in this case Flaxseed oil, has long been touted for its health benefits (for example, it’s filled with healthy fats, like omega-3, and is a great source of fiber). You can consume flaxseed oil in its natural form, or via supplements. We like Spring Valley Flaxseed Oil ($28).
Bananas are loaded with vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, and good carbs. Eat one when you’re feeling sluggish, and you’ll find yourself instantly more awake.
We’ve already established that Chia Seeds are pretty much the answer to every beauty woe under the sun, but who knew they could give you a boost of energy, too? They’re full of fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, manganese, phosphorus, and protein, meaning they’ll satiate you (especially if you sprinkle them on salad) and keep your energy levels up without a spike or crash. Want more proof? A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning concluded that consuming chia seeds enhanced exercise performance for 90-minute workouts the same way an energy drink would, but without all the extra sugar.
Because eggs don't cause surges in your blood sugar or insulin levels, expect the energy you get from this protein-rich food to sustain you throughout the day. (Just remember—egg yolks are high in cholesterol, so talk to your doctor before you buy three dozen.)
A spoonful of honey makes the medicine go down—and keeps your energy levels up. Because it falls low on the glycemic index, this natural sweetener is nature’s version of a 5-Hour Energy shot, giving you a steady stream of energy (especially good before and after a workout).
By now, you should know that pomegranates, along with their beauty benefits, are antioxidant powerhouses, some say even more so than cranberries or green tea. Along with helping to prevent heart disease and lowering cholesterol levels, they’re a great early morning brain-booster. Like other fruits, they’re largely made of natural sugars, which your body quickly digests and turns into energy. Unlike sugary energy drinks, however, they fall fairly low on the glycemic scale and won’t spike your blood sugar—a.k.a. no crash.
Speaking of fruits, the fructose (natural sugars) in apples can give you a similar energy boost to that of coffee. Because they’re high in fiber, they’re absorbed by your body more slowly, which results in a continual stream of energy and no spikes or crashes.
It’s Friday—time for shots! Wheatgrass shots, that is. The starch of the wheat berry acts as stored energy; when it’s converted to simpler sugars, it becomes a quick energy source. If you can’t keep your eyes open at your desk, consider a wheatgrass shot instead of yet another cup of coffee—your body will thank you.
Would you ever be able to give up your daily coffee? Have you found any alternatives? Tell us below!
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U.S. Department of Agriculture, FoodData Central. Banana, raw. Updated April 1, 2020.
Illian TG, Casey JC, Bishop PA. Omega 3 Chia seed loading as a means of carbohydrate loading. J Strength Cond Res. 2011;25(1):61‐65. doi:10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181fef85c
Ratliff J, Leite JO, de Ogburn R, Puglisi MJ, VanHeest J, Fernandez ML. Consuming eggs for breakfast influences plasma glucose and ghrelin, while reducing energy intake during the next 24 hours in adult men. Nutr Res. 2010;30(2):96–103. doi:10.1016/j.nutres.2010.01.002
Yusof A, Ahmad NS, Hamid A, Khong TK. Effects of honey on exercise performance and health components: a systematic review. Sci Sports. 2018;33(5):267-281. doi:10.1016/j.scispo.2018.02.007
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Koutsos A, Riccadonna S, Ulaszewska MM, et al. Two apples a day lower serum cholesterol and improve cardiometabolic biomarkers in mildly hypercholesterolemic adults: a randomized, controlled, crossover trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2020;111(2):307-318. doi:10.1093/ajcn/nqz282
Svihus B, Hervik AK. Digestion and metabolic fates of starch, and its relation to major nutrition‐related health problems: a review. Starch‐Stärke. 2016;68(3-4):302-313. doi:10.1002/star.201500295