Coffee is the most consumed beverage among Canadian adults, which even ranks higher than consumption for tap water.
But do we really need all those shots of espresso? Jordan Bruce, a board-certified registered holistic nutritionist based in North Vancouver, says there are some collective misconceptions about caffeine.
“I think society has normalized heavy caffeine consumption, and being overly busy is often rewarded,” she tells Daily Hive. “So many clients tell me they have low energy so they drink lots of caffeine, but they haven’t thought to sleep eight to nine hours, move their body, or drink more water.”
Bruce rarely drinks coffee, and if she does, it’s Swiss water decaf. However, she believes in the benefits of natural caffeine alternatives. Eager to learn how we could follow a similar path, we asked the plant-based nutritionist to share her favourites.
Coffee leaf tea
When many coffee drinkers experience a big crash, they reach for another cup. But Bruce says coffee leaf tea, like Wize Iced Tea Mango, provides a clean energy boost over a more gradual and longer-lasting period, leaving you feeling focused and balanced. Although made from the leaves of brewed arabica coffee, it’s coffee-free, with natural sugar cane, lemon juice, natural alphonso mango flavour, and 35 mg of caffeine per can (the equivalent of one-quarter cup of coffee).
“One of the biggest nutritional components of coffee leaf tea is its high levels of mangiferin, an active compound commonly found in mangos,” says Bruce. This phytochemical has been studied for cardiovascular benefits, anti-inflammatory compounds, and protective aspects for heart disease and cancer. “It’s also high in nitric oxide, which supports memory.”
It’s believed that the origins of cacao date back to more than 4,000 years ago in Central America. Today, cacao can be consumed in teas or used as a powder in recipes. Unsweetened cacao, aka the purest form of chocolate, is rich in nutrients like iron, potassium, and magnesium, which can help provide energy and balance mood. Since cacao powder has healthy fats, add it to your morning smoothie for that pick-me-up you typically get from coffee.
In recent years, matcha has grown in popularity and can now be found in anything from teas to desserts. This makes it an easy addition to Bruce’s list of natural caffeine alternatives.
When matcha is harvested, the entire leaf is used, which means those who drink matcha tea, for example, are getting a greater amount of antioxidants and natural caffeine. The tea is said to help boost energy levels and focus, making it a viable option if you’re keen to cut back on the amount of coffee you drink.
Commonly used in Middle Eastern, Indian, and Southeast Asian cooking, turmeric is known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Preparing a turmeric latte or tea is an easy way to reap the benefits of a naturally caffeine-free alternative to coffee (it also tastes amazing with some honey and a dash of black pepper). This ancient spice is known for aiding digestion, soothing muscle aches, and reducing tiredness.
There are literally hundreds of herbal tea flavours out there, so anyone wishing to experiment has an endless selection to choose from. Some of Bruce’s go-to teas include nettle, hibiscus, chamomile, and lemon balm. “You can also infuse your water with mint leaves or a swig of rosemary from the garden,” she says. “They taste great and provide health benefits without impacting the HPA axis (commonly referred to as adrenal fatigue).”
For anyone breaking a coffee addiction, Bruce recommends a slow transition as it often comes with headaches. “Start each day with a cup or two of filtered water prior to a caffeinated beverage,” she says.
Wize Coffee Leaf Tea has water in the formula, which allows you to skip this step. Bruce explains how it leaves your nervous system calm and grounded while providing manageable amounts of caffeine, making it an easy morning or afternoon refreshment. “It’s so important to keep the stress hormone cortisol and blood sugar levels nice and balanced throughout the day.”
The nutritionist says she loves what the Wize brand stands for because it provides jobs to coffee leaf farmers year-round. “Every can of Iced Tea generates two minutes of employment for these coffee farmers.”
She says, sometimes, we don’t realize the impact of something we include in our routines every single day. “Caffeine isn’t bad, just don’t overdo it,” she explains, recommending one to two servings of caffeine per day.
To discover the benefits of a naturally caffeine-free, flavourful beverage that can help you get through the workday — and your workouts — without crashing, visit drinkwize.com.