Looking for an afternoon pick-me-up? If coffee is your usual choice, you should know that caffeine can magnify stress, says James Lane, Ph.D., professor of medical psychology at Duke University Medical Center and who needs more of that?
To help scale back: Combine regular and decaffeinated coffee beans before you grind. Use three parts regular coffee for every one part decaf, Lane suggests, or alternate coffee with tea, which has less than half the caffeine (about 50 milligrams of caffeine per 8 oz. cup versus 130 milligrams).
Another option: coffee substitutes, which deliver an intense, rich flavor but no nerve-jangling buzz. Below, the lowdown on five popular brands.
Cafix All Natural Instant Beverage
The Taste: Figs and beetroots lend a mild, sweet taste to this option.
Cost/Where to Buy: 5 cents per serving; $6 for 7.05 oz.; amazon.com
Inka Instant Grain Beverage
The Taste: This bitter and smoky-tasting variety actually looks like a cup of brewed coffee.
Cost/Where to Buy: 3 cents per serving (making it the least expensive!); $4 for 5.25 oz.; inkacoffee.com
Postum Instant Hot Beverage
The Taste: Sweeter than the other brands, this molasses-infused powder tastes best with milk and a dash of cinnamon.
Cost/Where to Buy: 11 cents per serving; $9 for 8 oz.; farawayfoods.com
The Taste: This chicory-based tea has a bitter cinnamon flavor but might not satisfy hard-core java junkies.
Prep: Tea bags
Cost/Where to Buy: 15 cents per serving; $6 for 40 tea bags.; celestialseasonings.com
Teeccino Caffeine-Free Herbal Coffee
The Taste: The closest in appearance to ground coffee beans, this java sub has a mild caramel taste.
Prep: Brew like coffee
Cost/Where to Buy: 29 cents per serving; $7 for 8.5 oz.; amazon.com