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5 Caffeine Free Alternatives for Hashimoto's

Thyroid health and caffeine are not always the perfect match, but plenty of alternatives satisfy even the most devoted caffeine lovers.
5 Caffeine Free Alternatives for Hashimoto's
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Feeling sluggish and tired is all too common for those with hypothyroidism or the autoimmune disease that often causes it, Hashimoto's. The temptation to reach for a cup of coffee, tea, or an energy drink can be overwhelming, but for many, the caffeine may actually make symptoms worse. If you have an underactive thyroid and you're looking to boost your energy levels without the jitters and crashes that come with caffeine, there are several natural, caffeine-free alternatives worth exploring. From herbal teas to adaptogenic supplements, these options can help provide the steady, sustained energy your thyroid needs.

Where does caffeine come from?

Caffeine is a naturally occurring compound found in various plants, each contributing to popular beverages and snacks enjoyed worldwide. It's not just coffee beans that contain caffeine; this stimulant is present in several plant species' seeds, nuts, and leaves.

  • Coffee Arabica: Perhaps the most famous source of caffeine, Coffee Arabica, or Arabica coffee, produces the beans used to brew that morning cup of Joe! Coffee Arabica is known for its rich flavor and lower acidity compared to other coffee varieties, and Arabica beans are prized by coffee enthusiasts worldwide.
  • Thea sinensis: Commonly known as the tea plant, Thea sinensis yields the leaves used to make tea. Whether it's black, green, white, or oolong tea, all varieties originate from the same plant species. Tea provides a gentler caffeine boost compared to coffee, along with a range of antioxidants and health benefits.
  • Cola acuminata: The seeds of Cola acuminata, commonly called the kola nut, serve as a source of caffeine and flavoring for soft drinks like cola. 
  • Theobroma cacao: This is for chocolate lovers, because caffeine can also be found in Theobroma cacao, the cacao tree. Although the caffeine content in chocolate is relatively low compared to coffee or tea, indulging in cocoa and chocolate-based treats can still provide a subtle energy boost and enhance mood.
  • Paullinia cupana: Native to the Amazon basin, Paullinia cupana, or guarana, is a climbing plant whose seeds contain high levels of caffeine. Guarana extract is commonly used in energy drinks, dietary supplements, and snack bars to provide a natural energy source and enhance mental alertness.

What types of products contain caffeine?

Aside from beverages, caffeine can appear in numerous other products, including:

  • Coffee-flavored food products like ice cream 
  • Chocolate in all of its forms 
  • Protein bars (especially those with a chocolate flavor or coffee additives)
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Medications for PMS, headaches, and migraines
  • Over-the-counter medications for pain relief, headaches, and migraine
  • Over-the-counter caffeine pills, like NoDoz
  • Some prescription medications, especially those used to treat headaches, migraine, or asthma

How does caffeine affect thyroid health?

Navigating caffeine consumption with thyroid health in mind requires consideration of its potential effects on both thyroid function and adrenal health. While the impact of caffeine on the thyroid gland may vary among individuals, its influence on the adrenal glands is well-established. Caffeine stimulates the adrenal glands to release stress hormones like epinephrine and cortisol, which can lead to a cascade of health issues, including immune system dysregulation, sleep disturbances, digestive problems, and mood disorders. High cortisol levels have been associated with worsened symptoms of Hashimoto's disease and an underactive thyroid, including fatigue, weight gain, and mood disturbances. Caffeine consumption can raise cortisol levels, leading to a worsening of these symptoms.

The relationship between caffeine and inflammation is complex and individualized. Some individuals may experience an anti-inflammatory response to caffeine, while others may find it exacerbates inflammation or immune activation. If you notice that caffeine worsens your symptoms or you're currently experiencing symptoms and wish to avoid aggravating them, temporarily eliminating caffeine from your diet may be wise.

While altogether all caffeine, particularly from coffee, may not be necessary for everyone, reducing your caffeine intake can help alleviate symptom severity and identify potential inflammation triggers. Taking a break from caffeine consumption allows for a more precise assessment of its impact on your health. It can also help uncover the underlying causes of inflammation or other symptoms you may be experiencing. Consulting with a healthcare professional, such as a thyroid specialist or registered nutritionist, can provide personalized guidance and support in managing caffeine consumption and optimizing thyroid health. 

Caffeine-free alternatives to coffee

Herbal tea

Options like chamomile, peppermint, ginger, or rooibos tea offer comforting flavors without caffeine and can help support relaxation and digestion. You could even make your own by grating fresh ginger and adding a couple of slices of lemon to hot water. In addition to ginger's widely known anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties, lemon has its own antimicrobial, anticancer, and anti-parasitic activities.

Golden milk turmeric latte

A Golden Milk Turmeric Latte is a warm, creamy beverage made with a blend of turmeric, milk, and other spices. The key ingredients are:

  • Milk (dairy or non-dairy like almond, coconut, or oat milk)
  • Ground turmeric
  • Cinnamon
  • Ginger (fresh or ground)
  • Black pepper
  • Sweeteners like honey or maple syrup

The turmeric gives the drink its distinctive golden color and provides anti-inflammatory benefits. The other spices add warmth and flavor. Black pepper helps to activate and amplify turmeric and its properties.

The latte is typically made by simmering the milk with the spices, then optionally frothing or blending the mixture to create a creamy, frothy texture. It can be enjoyed hot or over ice.

Golden milk lattes are popular for their potential health benefits, including reducing inflammation, boosting immunity, and promoting relaxation.   

Chicory root tea or dandelion root tea

Both of these teas are naturally caffeine-free, and when roasted, both taste remarkably similar to coffee. Chicory root may help to regulate blood glucose (blood sugar) and bowel movements, and dandelion root may have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Dandelion root is also known for its liver-supporting properties. Try these teas in your French press, tea ball, or blended with coconut manna and coconut oil for a dose of healthy fats. If you love the smell and taste of traditional coffee, we recommend giving these two a try.

Breakfast bone broth

Starting your day with bone broth might sound strange, but its potential benefits include reducing inflammation and bolstering the immune system, making it a unique and beneficial option. Rich in gut-healing nutrients such as collagen, gelatin, calcium, and magnesium, bone broth offers a nourishing start to your morning routine. For a latte-like alternative, blend hot broth with ingredients like coconut manna, coconut oil, and additional collagen to create a creamy and flavorful beverage.

Tigernut horchata

Tigernut horchata -- also known as horchata de chufa -- is a refreshing, sweetened milk drink that originated in Spain. Tigernut is a bit of a misnomer, as a tigernut is not a nut but a small root vegetable about the size of chickpeas. Tigernuts have a wrinkly exterior, a chewy texture, and a flavor similar to coconut.

To make tigernut horchata, tigernuts are soaked in water. Blend one cup of tigernuts with four cups of water until well blended. The resulting liquid is then strained through a cheesecloth into a bowl, and the pulp is discarded. The remaining liquid is mixed with cinnamon and a sweetener (often honey) and is traditionally served chilled, either as a cold beverage or in a slushy form. 

Tigernuts are high in resistant starch, a dietary fiber that may provide benefits like improved insulin sensitivity and digestive health. This makes tigernut horchata a relatively healthy, nut-free, and dairy-free beverage option.

Decaf mushroom coffee

Another drink gaining popularity is decaf mushroom coffee, a coffee blend that combines decaffeinated coffee with dehydrated, powdered medicinal mushrooms in varying ratios, often around 1:1.  The mushrooms used in mushroom coffee include:

  • Lion's mane
  • Cordyceps
  • Chaga
  • Reishi
  • Turkey tail

These unique blends provide a caffeine-free option and a distinctive flavor profile that sets them apart from traditional coffee.

Additionally, incorporating medicinal mushrooms like reishi or lion's mane into your daily routine may offer various health benefits, including immune support, improved cognitive function, reduced inflammation, and reduced stress.

Decaf chai latte

Enjoy the warming spices and aroma of chai, such as cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, and ginger, in a caffeine-free latte made with your choice of milk alternative. This flavorful option offers a comforting break from coffee and a nourishing and invigorating start to your day.

Chai lattes offer several health benefits:

  • They are rich in antioxidants from black tea, cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves, which help promote cellular health and prevent degenerative diseases.
  • The flavonoids in black tea are heart-healthy. Cinnamon also helps reduce cholesterol.
  • The spices in chai have anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce inflammation.
  • Ginger is effective in treating nausea and settling upset stomachs.
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A note from Paloma

Optimizing thyroid function involves considering various nutritional factors, including your caffeine intake. As a Paloma member, you'll have a unique opportunity to collaborate with your thyroid practitioners, as well as nutritionists and health coaches. Working with your care team, you'll receive personalized hypothyroidism treatment and guidance on supporting your thyroid health through nutrition and lifestyle. Make Paloma Health your partner on your healing journey!


Papadelis C, Kourtidou-Papadeli C, Vlachogiannis E, et al. Effects of mental workload and caffeine on catecholamines and blood pressure compared to performance variations. Brain and Cognition. 2003;51(1):143-154. doi:‌

Camellia sinensis (Assam Tea, Tea Camellia, Tea Plant, Tea Tree Camellia) | North Carolina Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox.

Cola | Tropical Trees, Evergreen Shrubs & African Species | Britannica. Accessed April 30, 2024.

‌L. Russell Cook. cacao | Description, Cultivation, Pests, & Diseases. In: Encyclopædia Britannica. ; 2018.

Guarana | plant | Britannica.

Mushrooms magnify memory by boosting nerve growth. ScienceDaily.  

Harvard School Of Public Health. Caffeine. The Nutrition Source. Published July 30, 2020.   

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Neeyaz Zolfaghari

Holistic Nutritionist and Nourishment Coach

Neeyaz Zolfaghari is the founder of Unspoken Nutrition, a nutrition and lifestyle brand dedicated to helping others find and create harmony with their daily habits to support their wellbeing and ‘health’. Her journey began over a decade ago, when she was diagnosed with two autoimmune diseases. Knowing what she learned from her upbringing, Neeyaz turned to nutrition as the first pillar of her healing. As her body began to heal on a physical level, she began to learn how our minds, bodies and souls are all innately connected.  

Now as an Integrative Nutritionist and Patient Advocate, Neeyaz offers the people she works with the support, guidance, and tools they need in order to live a fulfilled life. While Neeyaz initially endeavored to make a difference at the individual level, her vision grew to embrace broader community impacts. She is currently pursuing her Masters in Public Health, serving as a testament to her unwavering commitment to instigate change on a grander scale.

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