Many of us can't function in the morning until we've had a cup (or three) of coffee, but did you know that there are many natural alternatives that will leave you feel just as alert and energised?
Caffeine is a great quick fix, and one most of us have in our kitchen cupboard, but with a little extra planning next time you hit the shops, you could boost your body's energy levels in a far more beneficial way.
Here are three natural energisers to try in place of your morning coffee…
This blue-green algae is as powerful as any energy drink on the market, and will leave you feeling more alert and focused all morning long. It's also full of protein, B vitamins, iron, beta carotene and antioxidants. Spirulina comes in powder or capsule form, and while the powder is absorbed faster into the bloodstream, it does have a distinctive seawater taste that mightn't be too appetising first thing.
If you are brave enough to go for the powder, mix a couple of tablespoons into a fruit smoothie to mask the taste. As for the tablets, the recommended dosage is 3 – 6 tablets daily, but start with one a day and build it up.
2. Maca Root
Maca is a root from the Peruvian Andes, which grows as a tuber (like a potato) but is exported in powdered form. It is rich in energising B vitamins and also helps to regulate unbalanced hormone levels.
Maca's light, nutty flavour makes it perfect for stirring through soups, adding to herbal tea, or even mixing with honey and using as a spread. Start with half a teaspoon a day and work towards 1 – 2 teaspoons.
This powdered green tea has been used in Japan for centuries but has only gained popularity in the western world over the last few years. Matcha tea and matcha lattes are the latest on-trend replacement for caffeine, so you can easily order them at most larger coffee shops if you don't fancy using matcha at home.
Compared to coffee, matcha provides longer lasting energy rather than one intense hit. To make it yourself, mix a teaspoon of matcha with hot water or steamed milk.