How to replace coffee to maintain vigor and improve concentration

Caffeine is fairly addictive . Once in the brain, it blocks the receptors for adenosine, an inhibitory neurotransmitter that builds up over time and causes fatigue. As a result, after a cup of a fragrant drink, drowsiness recedes, concentration increases, and mood rises.

With a shortage of the usual stimulant, a withdrawal syndrome can occur, which is accompanied by a feeling of fatigue, headaches, irritability, anxiety, and difficulty concentrating .

If you decide to reduce or eliminate caffeine, there are some good options to feel better and not develop a new addiction.

What to replace coffee

The list includes both popular drinks and plant extracts that can positively affect mental performance and mood. However, the latter should be used with caution. During pregnancy , lactation and in the presence of diseases, you should consult a doctor before buying dried herbs.

Green tea

This drink contains three times less caffeine than coffee. What’s more, green tea is rich in the antioxidant catechins, which have beneficial effects on the brain and help prevent age-related mental decline.

A review of 21 scientific papers found that the combined action of caffeine and the plant-based amino acid L-theanine reduced anxiety , enhanced working memory, and increased attention, including during complex mental tasks .


This drink is rich in plant antioxidants catechins and epicatechins, contains caffeine and other methylxanthines – organic psychostimulants.

Even one glass of cocoa can increase blood flow to the brain, make it easier to solve complex mental tasks and reduce fatigue.

And if you add a little turmeric to the drink, you can get additional health benefits. With strong anti-inflammatory effects, this vibrant spice helps seniors improve working memory and attention, increase alertness, and elevate mood .

Mint tea

The menthol in peppermint acts on various receptors in the brain, has a good effect on solving complex mental problems and helps fight fatigue.

In one experiment , peppermint tea helped young people complete memory tasks more accurately and faster, and increased alertness and attentiveness.

Chicory root

Chicory root does not contain caffeine and does not help ward off drowsiness or improve focus. But since its taste and smell resembles coffee, it can replace a mug of the usual drink.

A nice bonus of chicory is its high content of inulin , a soluble dietary fiber that supports gut health.

Sage extract

Taking sage extract has a positive effect on the cognitive functions of older people – it improves results in memory and attention tasks.

He also helps young people. Dry sage capsules 300–600 mg improves mood, reduces anxiety, and raises the subjective level of alertness and calmness.

Gingko biloba

Taking an extract of this plant for 4 weeks increases blood flow to the brain and supports mental performance.

Several studies have shown that a single dose of the extract (120–600 mg) improves working memory and performance on attention tests.


This natural adaptogen contains ginsenosides, antioxidants that provide protection against oxidative stress, cell damage and death.

Even a single dose of 200–400 mg of ginseng extract has a good effect on mental abilities: it increases accuracy in memory tasks and speed in attention tests, and helps fight fatigue.

bacopa monnieri extract

This perennial herb contains bacosides, an organic compound that protects brain cells from oxidative stress and supports mental performance.

A meta-analysis of nine studies involving 518 people found that taking about 300 mg of the extract per day improved performance on attention-related tasks and increased processing speed .

How else can you cheer up without coffee

If you need a boost of energy urgently, try a few options:

  • Do a workout . Go for a short walk or stand up and do some simple exercises like jumping jacks, squats, bends and twists. Even a five-minute warm-up will speed up blood circulation and drive away sleep.
  • Listen to music . An energetic track can not only wake you up, but also increase your processing speed so you can think faster. If possible, dance to an upbeat song: a combo of music and physical activity should work even better.
  • Take a nap . If you feel sleepy in the middle of the day and can find a place to sleep, try lying down for 10-15 minutes. Napping helps you stay focused and alert for hours after waking up. Just be sure to set an alarm: if you sleep for more than 40 minutes, the inertia of sleep will make you lose yourself in space and time.
  • Turn on the blue light . Shortwave light, close to daylight, reduces drowsiness and improves performance even during night work.
  • Take a cold shower . Out of habit, this procedure causes the release of norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter that is involved in the response to stress , as well as beta-endorphins, designed to fight pain. As a result, the heartbeat becomes more frequent, blood pressure rises, vigilance and attention increase, mood improves. But if you use this method constantly, the body will get used to it and the effect will decrease.

The material was updated on August 3, 2022.

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