5-Minute Health Tip: Trade in the Coffee for Guayusa

Your morning ritual is important, and odds are it includes some kind of warm (or cold) energizing beverage…coffee or tea perhaps? But why not take a cue from some indigenous Amazonians and try something a tad more out of the ordinary than your typical cup of coffee or tea?

Time for an energizing few minutes enjoying guayusa, the ancient coffee alternative that’s enjoying a modern resurgence. Guayusa (pronounced gwy-you-sa) has double the antioxidants of green tea and a similar caffeine content to coffee…but without any annoying side effects like jitters or that late afternoon energy crash.

coffee vs teaThe Scoop on Guayusa

Guayusa is made from the dried leaves of the caffeinated holly tree (ilex guayusa), and you prepare it exactly the same way you would a cup of hot tea. Just steep in hot water, let cool, and enjoy.

Guayusa is less astringent than tea and has a sweeter taste. It also comes in many different flavors, like mint, citrus, lemongrass, hibiscus, berry, ginger, or original. One of the main benefits of guayusa is that it doesn’t contain the tannins found in tea, which can cause headaches and migraines in people sensitive to tannins. It also has twice the ORAC value (antioxidant capacity) as your average cup of green tea!

Even better…it provides just as much energy as a cup of coffee. Check out how its caffeine content measures up to that of the most popular beverages below:

  • 8 oz cup of coffee – 95-200 mg
  • 8 oz cup of guayusa – 90 mg
  • 8 oz cup of mate – 70 mg
  • 8 oz cup of black tea – 40-80 mg
  • 8 oz cup of green tea – 15-40 mg

You should get a similar jolt of energy as you do from a cup of coffee, but guayusa won’t cause any negative side effects like the jitters or an energy crash. That’s because guayusa contains amino acids that subdue the caffeine effects and amplify equal parts concentration and tranquility.

Guayusa also contains theobromine and theophylline, the feel-good hormones found in chocolate. So, you get a chocolate-like high without any added calories or fat! Your teeth will appreciate this new morning habit too, because guayusa doesn’t stain your teeth like coffee and some teas do.

Guayusa’s Antioxidant Benefit

Guayusa contains several health-promoting antioxidants and natural chemical compounds that help fight aging and even cancer. Here are a few of the standouts:

  • Theobromine
 calms chronic inflammation, reduces blood pressure, and lowers your risk for heart disease by widening blood vessels, keeping them relaxed and supple.
  • Polyphenols, flavonoids, and saponins 
reduce inflammation, defend against cancer, and strengthen the immune system.
  • Chlorogenic acid
 stimulates weight loss and fat metabolism.
  • L-Theanine
 produces dopamine, a feel-good hormone that enhances mood.

You can find guayusa at your local health food store or online.