Drinking coffee in the morning has become a habit for many not only for its great taste but for its obvious stimulating effects. When you’ve had a restless sleep, a cup of java in the morning always seems like the best way to get your butt in gear and start your day. However, as many people know and have experience, caffeine is incredibly addictive and is even considered a psychoactive drug. For some reason, while most drugs with such strong addictive qualities are avoided like the plague, we’re all a bit more lenient with caffeine—maybe because we all think we’d be walking around like zombies without it. But that’s not so! There are many alternatives that offer similar stimulating effects in a much more healthful manner!

Tired woman sips coffee

Ginkgo Biloba
Ginkgo Biloba has been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years and comes from the nut of the Gingo Biloba tree. It’s considered an herbal extract and helps stimulate blood flow to the brain and extremities, giving you the wakefulness that caffeine also gives. It is said to increase focus and memory when taken regularly, and some people have even reported increased creativity when taking ginkgo biloba. It also has some amazing healing properties and has been used to help treat asthma and circulatory diseases. Ginkgo Biloba can be taken as an extract or be brewed into a tea, and can be picked up at any health food store or wherever vitamins and supplements are sold.

Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is a great substitute for caffeine because it not only helps decrease fatigue, but it also helps in the production of melatonin, a hormone responsible for regulating your sleep cycle. That means you’re not only staying more awake and focused because of its role in brain function and ability to increase mental clarity and energy, but you’re also getting a better sleep at night, allowing you to wake up more rested and less in need of an extra stimulant! Through your diet you can only get B12 through meats—shellfish, liver, and fish like mackerel are all great sources of the vitamin. But if you’re not a big meat eater then you can get a supplement from any place where vitamins are sold.

Cold Water and an Apple
This sounds so simple that it’s almost unbelievable! A nice glass of ice cold water in the morning works to shock your system to wakefulness as it tries to warm the water you just ingested. It will definitely wake your body up and get it ready for the day. An apple a day not only keeps the doctor away, it also contain the nutrients—in the form of vitamins and fructose—needed to give you a natural energy boost. Apples also increase blood sugar, thus creating an alertness similar to caffeine. The act of chewing also helps open neural and muscle pathways, giving you a whole body energy boost!

So cut back on caffeine and try some of these healthy alternatives instead!