Many of us rely on that morning cup of coffee to get our boost of energy. But caffeine isn't always ideal, so it's a great idea to find healthier yet potent alternatives. "Caffeine has several benefits from a health perspective. As a stimulant, caffeine enhances mental function and improves energy. However, for those who are more sensitive to caffeine, side effects can include irritability, anxiety, and insomnia," Jeffrey Gladd, M.D., integrative physician and member of the Care/of Scientific Advisory Board, told POPSUGAR. Consider these six alternatives for a healthy energy boost:
Rhodiola is an herb that has been used as an anxiety-relieving adaptogen for centuries. "There's evidence that it enhances mental function and improves energy, particularly for those under stress," Dr. Gladd said. "Unlike caffeine, which can tax the adrenal glands, rhodiola actually supports the adrenal glands while improving energy levels."
"Vitamin C is required for the synthesis of carnitine. Carnitine transports fatty acids into the mitochondria of our cells so they can then be converted into energy for the body," said Alix Turoff, a registered dietitian, nutritionist, and personal trainer.
Ginger can help fight fatigue because it increases circulation in the body. "You can add fresh ginger to your smoothies or juice, drink it in a tea form, or down a whole shot of it!" Turoff said.
Apple Cider Vinegar
"A tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar is a great way to start your day and give you a nice little energy boost. I make a drink in the morning with water, lemon, some apple cider vinegar, and even a pinch of cayenne pepper for an extra kick!" Turoff said.
Bacopa is a popular herbal therapy to improve focus and brain function. "Studies have shown that those who take bacopa are able to multitask and focus more easily while supporting long-term memory," Dr. Gladd said. Oftentimes, people turn to caffeine for those specific needs. "Adding bacopa to your daily supplement regimen can greatly support brain function, especially for those who are sensitive to caffeine," he said.
"Chaga mushroom 'coffee' is gaining popularity as a traditional and safe coffee alternative," Dr. Gladd said. Most people enjoy the taste and benefit from the additional boost in energy and cognitive function.