Morning cuppa: Five coffee alternatives for an INSTANT energy boost
Mornings are tough.
And while we admit it won't be easy, undertaking the odd caffeine detox has a wealth of health benefits that are hard to ignore.
Sure, it will mean forgoing that tasty latté on the way to work, but sadly that hot, steamy, delicious friend of yours is a serious stimulant and it encourages your adrenal glands to release a little cortisol every time you drink a cup.
This isn't a bad thing if you only enjoy a cup or two of coffee each day, but if you rely on that caffeine hit to get you through, all that extra cortisol your body produces raises your glucose levels and excess glucose is stored as (you guessed it) body fat.
Excess caffeine consumption can wreak havoc on your sleep patterns, worsen your anxiety and dehydrate your skin. Ditch it for a week or two and you'll reap the benefits... even if you do treat yourself once in a while when the hard work is done.
Here are six alternatives to try instead:
Treat yourself to a hot chocolate: If it's the warm hug of that morning cappuccino you're missing most, have a hot chocolate instead. There are countless low-calorie versions around that'll give you all the cosy hit and none of the caffeine roller coaster.
Eat an apple: If you reply on your morning cuppa to wake you up, science tell us that eating an apple will help you look alive faster. Apparently, the fructose in an apple offers a natural sugar high that lasts longer than your usual espresso.
Hydrate immediately: Instead of waiting until breakfast, sip a mug of warm water with lemon the minute you wake up. According to Ayurvedic medicine, warm water encourages the lymph system, helping to eliminate yesterday's waste from your system. Hydrating will also help you to think clearly, improving your focus.
Burn essential oils: We all know lavender helps you sleep, but did you know there's a whole host of essential oils that can help you start the day on the right note? Try basil, rosemary, lemon or peppermint to start in a diffuser while you eat breakfast or do your make-up.
Get moving: Okay, so this is by far the least palatable way to start your day BUT once you get into the habit of exercising first thing, you'll wonder how you did without it. A walk or a jog in the fresh air followed by a few jumping jacks, lunges and squats will get your circulations going, leaving you firing on all cylinders by breakfast.