For some, a morning cup of coffee is the perfect way to get their internal engine going. However, with regular caffeine consumption comes potential risks to our health.

So how can cutting down on coffee help improve your health and what caffeine-free alternatives are available for you to try?

Improve your sleep

Although many of us drink caffeine as a way to keep us awake and alert, it can actually have a detrimental impact on your sleep later in the day. Caffeine intake as long as six hours before you go to bed is said to hamper how you sleep that night.1

In fact, consuming too much caffeine can create a vicious cycle – you don’t sleep well, so you have caffeine during the day to perk you up, but then you don’t have a good night’s sleep that night, so the next day you need to have caffeine to give you a boost of energy again…the cycle continues!2 So by cutting out or reducing your intake of caffeine, you’ll be better able to achieve a good night’s sleep, leaving you with more energy to tackle the day ahead.

Reduce the risk of high blood pressure

According to the NHS, drinking more than four cups of coffee a day can potentially increase your blood pressure, and it states that you shouldn’t use caffeine drinks such as tea, coffee and energy drinks as your main source of fluids.3 This is because caffeine is a vasoconstrictor, which narrows your blood cells and increases your blood pressure.4

By reducing the amount of caffeine you consume, it could help to keep your blood pressure at a healthy level.

Reduce stress levels

When you’ve a lot to do, you might think having a caffeine boost will help you tackle your task list head on. However, it can actually create added stress and anxiety – caffeine is a stimulant and releases adrenaline in your body, essentially putting your body into a ‘fight or flight mode’.5 Reducing your caffeine intake could help you feel less stressed and anxious.5

Better dental health

Drinking coffee on a regular basis can have a negative impact on oral health, including staining and discolouring teeth; eroding teeth and enamel; and causing bad breath and halitosis.6 Through reducing your coffee intake, and undertaking a thorough cleaning regime, you’ll be able to bolster your dental health and leave your mouth feeling cleaner and fresher.

A happier stomach

Although not every coffee drinker will suffer from this, some may feel a gastrointestinal effect after consumption, causing issues with the bowels and gut. Researchers believe caffeine and/or other ingredients in coffee impacts colonic muscles, which can lead you to needing the toilet more regularly, or very suddenly (in a more laxative-like manner).7 If this is the case for you, cutting down on your daily coffee habit could help your overall bowel health.

What caffeine-free alternatives are available?

To help you kick the coffee habit, here are a few caffeine-free drinks you can try as an alternative way to get that boost of energy:

  • Chicory coffee – chicory root tastes like coffee and is a good source of fibre, which has been linked to supporting a healthy gut8
  • Lemon ‘tea’ – a simple coffee alternative, hot lemon water gives you a boost of antioxidants and keeps you well hydrated
  • Yerba mate – this is a South American brew offering nutrients such as vitamin C and E, iron and calcium, you’ll also get the same energy kick as you do with coffee9
  • Siberian Ginseng – naturally caffeine-free, this is a root containing antioxidant properties.10 It can either be sliced into hot water, similar to ginger, or you can find ginseng teabags and loose leaf teas in most specialist stores, or Chinese supermarkets

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1Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, 2Women’s Health, 3NHS, 4Livestrong, 5Women’s Health, 6Healthline, 7One Medical, 8Healthline, 9Be Brain Fit, 10Expertrain  

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