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Pick-Me-Up Alternatives to Coffee

Coffee is usually the first form of caffeine that people -- from high school to senior citizens -- turn to when they need a pick-me-up. But not everyone likes coffee, or, if you're a coffee junkie, all that caffeine can make you feel gross and on edge. Too much coffee actually prevents you from thinking clearly and keeping things in perspective, and you may find it difficult to concentrate on one task at a time. But besides a nap -- or even a good night's sleep -- coffee seems like the only really effective way to stay awake during long days of studying or working. That's simply not true. There are lots of alternatives to coffee, some which contain caffeine, and others that don't.

Tea is an easy alternative option to coffee, and while it still contains caffeine, different teas also have other, more beneficial ingredients (and flavors!), and fewer of the nasty side effects of too much coffee. Green tea, for example, has antioxidants which help repair cells and lower cholesterol. Drinking flavored teas or adding a sprig of mint to plain tea will make your pick-me-up more like a healthy snack, too.

Teeccino is a coffee substitute that is gaining popularity in the United States. It's actually caffeine-free, but it tastes like coffee, and even comes in several flavors like chocolate mint, almond amaretto, mocha and hazelnut. Combined with a cat nap, a brisk walk around your office or a quick job up and down the stairs, you might be able to trick your mind into perking up without the actual caffeine if you drink something that tastes and smells the same.

Fresh juice packed with vegetables or fruit can energize you, too, even without the caffeine. You'll get a tasty dose of vitamins and minerals which can help you wake up, plus a tangy treat that will wake up your mouth.

Besides beverages, you can help yourself wake up at the office or while you study by increasing the amount of natural light in your area. This exposure to light will help your mind and body associate with the day's schedule and can also improve your mood. Make a social connection -- whether it's a 5-minute break at the water cooler or sending an e-mail to a friend -- to focus your mind on something positive, pulling it out of its fuzzy funk. You don't always have to turn to coffee when you feel sluggish. Try out some of these alternatives if you're fatigued, but also tired of the bloat, jitters and bad breath.

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