The evidence against coffee is conflicting. Some say coffee can be good for you while others adamantly insist it's devoid of any nutritional value. How does it REALLY affect our overall health?? This post answers that AND gives SIX alternatives to coffee!

Guest Post by Leigh Ann Dutton at Intentional By Grace

I love coffee. It’s not so much the actual cup of coffee that I love as the experience of coffee.

I grew up sharing Saturday morning conversations with my grandmother over coffee. Coffee is cozy, comforting, and carries such wonderful memories for me.

A couple of years ago I began to experience extreme fatigue. I tried everything I knew to try.

I started taking more cod liver oil and increased my intake of B vitamins. I ate more iron rich foods and made sure to get regular exercise. It all helped, but by nine o’clock in the morning, I was still ready to go back to bed.

I was also battling infertility and each morning of fatigue was another reminder that I was tired for nothing – no baby filled my womb.

One day, I didn’t get around to drinking my morning coffee (gasp!). Surprisingly, by noon that day, I realized I had more energy than I had experienced in weeks. This forced me to consider if coffee was having a negative effect on my body.

The evidence against coffee is conflicting. Some say coffee can be good for you while others adamantly insist it’s devoid of any nutritional value.

I’m going to list some of the negative side effects of drinking coffee and some of the possible benefits to drinking coffee. Then, I will wrap up with explaining how I put all this information into action for my own health as well as some coffee alternatives.

Negative Side Effects of Coffee

Acts as a diuretic

If you struggle with electrolyte imbalance, or struggle to stay hydrated, coffee could be adding to this problem since it can have a diuretic effect.

Stimulates the adrenal glands

When coffee acts as a stimulant to our adrenal glands, it may give us a temporary boost in energy. When consumed in excess, it can drain the adrenals and lead to extreme fatigue.

Adrenals also affect our hormone levels, so in time, drinking coffee may contribute to hormone imbalance.

Can create addiction and dependence

We were made for rest. Therefore, while our bodies may be telling us to slow down, we pour ourselves another cup of joe, masking the symptoms of our fatigue.

Eventually, it catches up with us, and we find ourselves chronically exhausted and drained due to our addiction to the stimulating effects of coffee.

Raises the level of acidity in the blood

Many of our diets contain too many highly acidic foods. Too much acidity can result in acidic congestion in our bodies; thus leading to chronic illness and degenerative diseases.

Possible Health Benefits of Coffee

Loaded with antioxidants

Antioxidants are important nutrients. They help to slow down the excess oxidation process and protect your cells from free radicals, which are cancer causing agents.

In many western diets, coffee is the only antioxidant a person consumes.

Reduces the risks of contracting type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes and is characterized by a build up of blood sugars due to insulin resistance or an inability to secrete insulin.

Studies have shown drinking coffee can reduce your risks of contracting this form of diabetes significantly.

May reduce the risks of age related diseases

Studies have shown that drinking coffee can reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

Less likely to contract various cancers

Studies following regular coffee drinkers have shown a notable reduction in various cancers like liver, colon, kidney, prostate and more.

Increases ability to concentrate

The caffeine found in coffee travels to the brain and blocks the inhibitory neurotransmitter called Adenosine. This stimulating effect of coffee can improve brain function, increasing your ability to concentrate.

Boosts metabolism

Caffeine is a natural fat burning agent, and it can boost the metabolism. Consuming one cup of coffee before a workout can actually boost your physical function.

How I Handle the Pros and Cons of Drinking Coffee

Everyone reacts to coffee’s negative and positive effects differently. You have to study your body and determine what effects coffee has on you.

Believe it or not, coffee doesn’t effect everyone in the same way. Knowing the positive and negative effects of coffee will help guide you through making an informed decision.

When extreme fatigue hit me, there were several contributing factors, and one of those contributing factors was my overuse of coffee. My adrenals were shot, and I was addicted to the stimulating effects coffee offered.

After my accidental skipped cup of joe, I deduced that a detox from coffee was in order (plus a visit with my midwife, but that’s a story for another day).

The evidence against coffee is conflicting. Some say coffee can be good for you while others adamantly insist it's devoid of any nutritional value. How does it REALLY affect our overall health?? This post answers that AND gives SIX alternatives to coffee!

6 Coffee Alternatives

There are several coffee alternatives I have used to curb my overuse of coffee. Some alternatives I drink to make me think I’m drinking coffee and others I use to give me a burst of energy when I need it without resorting to coffee.

Dandy Blend

Derived from the nutritive dandelion, Dandy Blend is hands down my favorite coffee alternative. It tastes like a full-bodied coffee!

It is made of water-soluble extracts of roasted roots of dandelion, chicory and beets, and the grains of barley and rye. If you’re looking for something that tastes like coffee (or at least comes really close!), then Dandy Blend is worth checking out. It’s also a great way to get more dandelion into your diet!


Teecino is another alternative that works as a coffee alternative. Like Dandy Blend, it’s brewed just like coffee. There are several different flavors, so it can take a little work to discover the flavor you like best. Teecino is probably the most popular coffee substitution.

Green Tea

Green tea has several amazing health benefits. Green tea is a powerful antioxidant that helps boost your immune system.

Besides just steeping green tea to drink hot, I love this Vanilla Green Tea Latte. It’s a great replacement for my fancy lattes. Also if I’m looking to pack a powerful antioxidant punch, I will add green tea to my morning smoothie. I love this Blueberry-Banana Green Tea Smoothie!

Rise and Shine Tea

When I stopped drinking coffee altogether in order to detox my body, I switched to Bulk Herb Store’s Rise and Shine Tea. Wow! It is so yummy, and it really helped me wake up in the morning.

It is a concoction of the following herbs: bilberry leaf, ginkgo leaf, green tea, peppermint leaf, cloves and ginger root. In order to help curb my coffee addiction, I try to replace one or two morning coffees a week with this tea.

Peppermint Tea

This is wonderful served hot with a little raw cream and honey. Peppermint tea also makes an incredible iced tea (my toddler loves iced peppermint tea!). Peppermint tea is not only great for digestion, but many recommend it for a coffee replacement because it’s a stimulant.

Fresh Juice

Juicing has many benefits, and it is one of my favorite ways to get a burst of energy during the day. Juicing allows me get a boost of vitamins and minerals which in turn boost my energy levels!

For me, I make sure to choose good coffee and limit my intake to one cup a day. This guards against coffee addiction and overloading my adrenal glands.

If I need an extra boost during the day (because let’s be honest: being a mom of a toddler and baby can be exhausting!), I choose a coffee alternative.  I work hard to ensure I’m listening to my body and resting when I need to instead of reaching for another cup of coffee to plow through the next task.

Like anything, coffee should not be consumed in excess. It’s all about moderation! Being aware of the pros and cons of coffee can help you make an informed decision for your own health.

What are your thoughts on coffee? How does coffee affect your health? What are your suggestions for coffee alternatives?


Sources and Additional Reading

Chemistry in Every Cup
Mounting Evidence Suggests Coffee May Actually Have Therapeutic Benefits
The Surprising Benefits of Drinking this ‘Unhealthy’ Beverage
Top 13 Evidenced-Based Health Benefits of Coffee
Tea vs. Coffee {for New Moms}