Coffee is a morning necessity for most of us, especially on workdays. But millions of people who are pregnant or have certain health issues — including IBS, glaucoma, and anxiety — need to be able to function on little to no caffeine.
That’s easier said than done. Consider the positives if you’re able to drink coffee. Studies show that it can Increase cognitive function by reorganizing neural connectivity, as South Korean researchers found in 2021.
That’s great news for java lovers, but what about those who can’t stomach it? (If so, you’re in good company because this includes Jennifer Lopez, Zendaya, and Tom Brady — and, oh, most of Gen Z.) Here are a few mind hacks to help you power through your 9 to 5.
It’s not that kind of shroom, but it may be magic. A slew of products hitting the market purport to increase focus and neural dexterity — and they’re fungi-based, not bean-based. Hot beverage brands like Four Sigmatic, MudWTR and Laird Superfood mimic the earthy taste of coffee while claiming to lend energy without an afternoon caffeine crash.
Many of these mushroom elixirs include adaptogens, which are compounds claiming to help the body respond to stress and fatigue by restoring cortisol balance. Critics argue that the marketing has eclipsed science, but customers have made “functional mushrooms” a multimillion-dollar industry.
Be sure to consult your doctor before trying any new supplements, especially if you’re pregnant.
“B” Taking Your Vitamins
Energy shots from the gas station aren’t the healthiest option, but B vitamins “help a variety of enzymes do their jobs, ranging from releasing energy from carbohydrates and fat to … transporting oxygen and energy-containing nutrients around the body,” according to Harvard researchers.
In most cases, you don’t need a megadose, but you should try to meet the FDA’s recommended daily allowance.
One tried-and-true trick — that offers all positives and no drawbacks — for better energy and focus in the morning is exercise. Cardio can increase the size of the hippocampus, a part of the brain involved in learning and memory. Strength training and yoga are also linked to fighting depression and stress by flooding the brain with endorphins.
Even if you can’t drink coffee, it’s helpful to know that the path to a clearer and more energetic day is still ahead of you.