14 healthy drinks to get your morning started

Get your morning boost by replacing your cup of coffee with a healthier alternative.
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As a physician, it is my job to steer people in the right direction to get them on a better path to health and happiness. In my articles, “Surprising reasons you should cut back on coffee" and “10 reasons you should never drink soda," I discussed how these beverages can be damaging to your health.

I know that we, as Americans, are dependent on caffeine and sugar to give us a boost of energy, but unfortunately, there are a lot of bad consequences to that. Coffee is highly acidic and depletes the body of essential nutrients while also lowering the threshold of the immune system. In addition, it has negative cardiovascular side effects like increased blood pressure and palpitations. Sugar is essentially guilty of the same thing.

People should not be addicted to caffeine and sugar. These dependencies signal to me other potential health concerns that may need to be examined, such as hormone, dietary, sleep, exercise or neurotransmitter problems.

There are healthier alternatives to drinking coffee, energy drinks or soda, especially if you want to have naturally sustainable energy throughout the day, instead of a high that perks you up but makes you crash in the afternoon. When sugar levels are stable, then you can avoid these periods of highs and lows and be more even-keeled in the way you feel mentally and physically.

Here are healthier alternatives than coffee to get your day going. For an added boost, you can throw in a small handful of flax powder, chia seeds, hemp seeds, turmeric, cinnamon or ginger.

--By Dr. Deepa Verma

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Schizandra tea

You most likely have never heard of this unique tea, but the Schizandra berries are native to Eastern Asia and will help cure your java addiction. It detoxifies the liver and promotes a sense of well-being and balances blood sugar, which is a fantastic way to start any day.

More: If you love tea make sure to take a look at these different teas for different moods.

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Ginseng tea

This tea is known to increase focus and concentration while also curing fatigue issues. It is a great tea to provide stimulation for the brain, which is what we need after we wake up.

More: Ginseng isn’t the only tea that can help boost your mood.

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Pomegranate juice

This has a sweet and tangy flavor that can perk you up. Combine it in a blender with spirulina, soy milk, bananas and berries, and now you have an uber-energy drink that will make you feel like a superhero.

More: If you can’t get enough pomegranate, you may enjoy these 5 great seasonal pomegranate recipes.

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Reishi mushroom tea

This is an interesting alternative to coffee. This mushroom is a traditional staple in Chinese medicine and is known for its invigorating effects on the body.

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Matcha green tea

This is a great alternative to coffee. It has caffeine to give you a gentle jolt to wake up, but the caffeine content is nowhere near as high as coffee, so you won't experience a midday crash and fatigue your adrenals over time. One cup of this wonder tea can keep you going for most of the day.

More: Green tea can be very difficult to brew, but we made it easy for you here.

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Licorice tea

The sweet-yet-spicy taste will definitely wake you up and open your eyes. Licorice is known as a tonic for the adrenals, so it produces a healthy increase in energy.

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This Indian tea is rich in antioxidants and contains a plethora of spices including cardamom, cinnamon, pepper and ginger that is sure to awaken your senses in the morning. The smooth creamy flavor actually makes you feel like you are sipping a cup of coffee, but without all the extra caffeine.

More: If you go to Starbucks, you may want to try ordering a dirty chai, which is part of the secret menu.

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Warm water with lemon

This is a great way to rehydrate and alkalinize your body and perk up after sleep. It also detoxifies the liver and helps get your bowels going. This really should be the first thing everyone sips in the morning.

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Protein shake with banana and berries

Who doesn't enjoy a yummy protein smoothie? It’s a terrific way to load up with energy and nutrition. Use almond, soy or coconut milks and your choice of a good quality protein powder. Throw in some bananas and berries, which add heaps of extra minerals, vitamins and antioxidants that are sure to fill you up and get you going for the grueling day ahead.

More: Here are a few ways to get your protein fix.

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