Coffee has become synonymous with the morning ritual for approximately 80% of people in North America. There is virtually no other food or beverage that continues to sustain such popularity these days, and it makes sense when it is connected to people’s livelihood (energy and brain function) every single day. Without the morning java, people find they lack the jumpstart they need in the brain and overall energy department.
However, like any drug (caffeine is psychoactive), coffee has its drawbacks and they are plenty of them people fail to acknowledge due to their blind love for this invigorating beverage. Some of these drawbacks include:
- Caffeine jitters and crash – like any drug, the withdrawal symptoms can be painful, which encourages you to keep consuming the beverage.
- Poor sleep quality – the forced stimulation of your hormonal system artificially overrides your natural circadian rhythm, causing sleeplessness at night.
- Adrenal fatigue – leads to hormonal imbalance and can cause more serious issues like prostate and breast cancer.
- Kidney and bladder problems – due to the diuretic effects of caffeine.
- Triggering of stress hormones – makes muscles tense, elevates blood sugar, speeds up pulse and respiration rates, and increases your state of panic and alertness.
- Depletes the body of B-vitamins.
- Prevents iron absorption (can contribute to anemia).
Ironically, coffee doesn’t add energy to the body like most people think it does. It actually burns up your energy reserves at a faster pace, which means you get a short term boost for long-term jitters and fatigue, which is usually combatted by drinking more coffee or looking for other energy enhancers. To understand the adrenal impact of coffee (the source of your fight or flight response), consider the following analogy by Stephen Cherniske, author of Caffeine Blues:
“Imagine you lived in a country that was always under threat of attack. No matter where you went, there was a perpetual state of alert. Not only that, but your defenses were constantly being depleted and weakened. Does that sound stressful? Caffeine produces the same effect on your body, like fighting a war on multiple fronts at the same time.”
Cherniske calls your body’s constant state of alert “caffeinism,” which is characterized by fatigue, anxiety, mood swings, sleep disturbance, irritability, and depression. Of course, as long as you keep taking the drug or upping the dosage, the true effects aren’t felt until a serious health concern crops up, and often it won’t be connected to the common habits which cultivate the issue, like coffee.
Fortunately, there are ways to enhance your energy each day, without any of the drawbacks of coffee or any other caffeinated beverage. Although there are a few suitable substitutes, one of the most recently revered teas for energy and stamina, is one created from cordyceps.
The energy producing power of Cordyceps
Cordyceps has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for centuries, and there has become a focus on two of the 400 species, Cordyceps sinensis and Cordyceps militaris. The former is a genus of parasitic fungi that grows on larvae of insects, and the latter is from the fruiting bodies of medicinal mushrooms. Regardless of which one you choose, they both have been adorned with health qualities that make them well worth considering. Some of the noted benefits of cordyceps, include:
- Improves energy and endurance
- Promotes a healthy aging process
- Helps fight inflammation
- Supports healthy kidney function
- Supports healthy adrenal function
- Supports healthy blood sugar levels
- Improves memory and cognitive function
One of the biggest controversies around Cordyceps surrounded long distance female runners from China who in the 1993 olympics smashed previous world records in the 1500 m, 3000 m (by two seconds), and 10,000 m (by 42 seconds) events. Their coach attributed their success to a diet that included Cordyceps, suggesting that it improved exercise capacity in these olympic athletes through it’s antioxidant effects. This certainly raised the ire of other athletes and doping officials, who couldn’t fathom that cordyceps alone could have been largely responsible for their remarkable efforts.
Although Cordyceps will not impart the same flavour as coffee, it’s fairly neutral and can be easily made into a delicious beverage. If you like a latte, add some coconut milk and coconut oil to the tea and blend gently to add a frothy and creamy texture. If you like a little sweetener, coconut sugar will do perfectly. Regardless of how you make it, it helps provide the same desired benefits of coffee (energy, brain stimulation) without any of the side effects.
That alone, makes it worth looking further into.Try Four Sigmatic Cordyceps Mushroom Elixir