By Lubna Hamdan
The world is divided on whether coffee is good for you, but more people are switching their espressos for alternatives
The world is divided on whether coffee is good for you or not, but more people are switching their espressos for alternatives that will provide the energy boost without the jitters. Even if you’re a heavy coffee drinker, it won’t hurt to give these options a try.
It’s what the New Yorkers are giving up coffee for – and with good reason. Kombucha – also known as ‘booch’ – is the fermented tea beverage which has gained massive popularity over the past few years for its health benefits including reducing blood pressure and improving nervousness, diabetes, liver function and digestion. While it’s fermented and includes a small percentage of alcohol, it’s been deemed halal by Islamic studies, as the amount of alcohol in kombucha is so low that it is also common in many fruits such as bananas. It’s also been approved by the Dubai Municipality, and can be found in Pure South Store and Café in The Greens, Dubai, as well as Sanderson’s Café in Abu Dhabi. There’s even a Dubai-based company called Saba Kombucha that makes the drink.
It’s how green tea is meant to be consumed. Matcha is finely ground powder made out of whole Japanese green tea leaves that are unheated and less processed than regular green tea leaves. As a result, it maintains the antioxidants and minerals that are lost when brewing regular green tea leaves. It’s great for mornings because it boosts concentration and enhances your mood, but it also calms the mind, relieving stress. If you’re on a diet, starting your mornings with matcha will enhance your metabolism as it helps burn calories. Enjoy a matcha tea or latte at The Hampton’s Café or Urth Café. If you want a quick takeaway, you can even get it at Starbucks.
It won’t give you a caffeine hit but some claim it’s just as energising. Golden milk, which is a traditional Indian drink, is made with non-dairy milk like coconut or almond milk, and spices such as turmeric, cinnamon and ginger which contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, helping to prevent heart disease, cancer, arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease. It also improves your mood and acts as an antidepressant, according to the US National Center for Biotechnology Information. While golden milk is sold across supermarkets in the UAE, you can easily make it at home by combining the ingredients – along with honey – in a pot and bringing the mixture to the boil.
It may be related to turnips and radishes but Peruvian plant maca is growing to become a popular morning drink. While it’s grounded into powder and used to add an earthy flavour to regional dishes, it’s also mixed with raw cacao powder to make delicious morning smoothies (because who really enjoys a kale smoothie?) Maca not only increases energy and stamina, but helps regulate hormones. Add the cacao and amp up your endorphins; just don’t add refined sugar or you’ll miss the point of this healthy drink. For sweetness, try adding coconut milk and bananas to your maca smoothie.
Switch your espresso for yerba mate tea, a South American “super-beverage” that locals have been drinking for hundreds of years. Made from the leaves and twigs of the regional yerba mate plant, it has a strong and bitter taste, so might need some getting used to. But it’s worth it, according to health experts. You may not enjoy your first cup as much as your first morning coffee but your health will thank you, as yerba tea is filled with antioxidants that protect against food poisoning, reduce fatigue and improve physical performance. Yerba is available to buy at major UAE supermarkets like Union Coop or Lifco.
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