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Herbal coffee is a healthy alternative to regular coffee. It is caffeine free and may contain nutrients that are good for the body, such as soluble fiber and potassium. This coffee alternative can be beneficial for those with certain health conditions or special diets because of the lack of caffeine and inclusion of healthy ingredients. Some herbal coffees are gluten-free as well.
A cup of herbal coffee may include a number of nutritious and natural ingredients. Carob, chicory root, and barley are common. Many types of fruits and nuts add flavor and health benefits as well, such as almonds, figs, dates, coconut, and ramon nuts. Natural flavors including herbs, spices, cocoa, and vanilla allow people to enjoy strong aromas and tastes without the negative effects of normal coffee. A coffee substitute also may utilize extract from real coffee to add flavor as well.
Herbal coffee may contain herbs and foods that provide a variety of antioxidants which help protect against chronic disease. Although the scientific community is not in complete agreement about the health benefits of antioxidants, they may prevent cell damage by battling free radicals that harm or kill cells in the body. Cell damage is responsible for many cancers, diseases, and effects of aging, so it may be a good idea to consume antioxidants. Common ingredients in herbal coffees that provide antioxidants include carob, barley, almonds, cocoa, figs, and dates.
Unlike decaffeinated coffee, herbal coffee naturally has no caffeine. The process of removing the caffeine from normal coffee does not provide a caffeine-free drink, and some decaffeinated beverages still may contain a considerable amount of caffeine. Companies frequently use chemical processes to remove the caffeine as well. A complete lack of caffeine also may be beneficial for people who have medical conditions that prohibit caffeine.
Despite herbal coffee’s lack of caffeine, it still provides energy. Energy comes from nutrients which people consume in foods and beverages, and the ingredients in herbal coffee provide nutrients. Carob, for instance, increases the metabolism and allows cells to absorb blood sugar, and potassium contained in the beverage can help restore lost electrolytes after a workout. Both can help a person feel energized.
People who have digestive problems may prefer herbal coffee. It is non-acidic and provides a type of fiber known as inulin, which stimulates microorganisms that live in the digestive tract. The microorganisms help digest food, stimulate cell growth, and may guard against certain diseases. Non-acidic coffee also may be a good alternative for people with sensitive stomachs and other digestive issues, such as acid reflux.