beauty

The cheaper, healthier alternative to coffee. (That actually works better.)

Image: Penelope Cruz inhales her cuppa in ‘Broken Promises’

Hands up if you love coffee?

Yeah, me too. There’s a reason you see so many people clutching takeaway cups of a morning – a fresh brew is the perk-me-up of choice for so many of us.

It’s delicious, it’s stimulating, its smell is intoxicating, and the simple act of buying, or making, coffee can become something of a ritual. Or an excuse to converse with an attractive barista. That helps too.

However, inhaling coffee isn’t the only way to haul yourself out of your 7am/3pm slump. Apparently, there’s a drink that will do the job better than your flat white – and it doesn’t cost a thing.

In a video for #ownshow, registered dietician Lauren Schmitt explains that a humble glass of water can go a long way in improving your concentration.

"If we are dehydrated, we definitely aren't able to concentrate as well. So you need to focus on drinking water all throughout the day, especially throughout that post-lunch slump when you just can't quite get going at 3 in the afternoon," Schmitt says.

How much coffee is too much?

"Coffee will obviously give that quick little bit of energy, but it doesn't actually boost your concentration ... Try to rehydrate, because it will take you a long way."

If prolonged concentration isn't enough to convince you to switch your long black for a long glass of water - and let's face it, coffee lovers are a stubborn bunch - here are more reasons to give water some love:

1. It's free

Coffee is mightily delicious, yes, but it can also drain you of spare change. If you're throwing back one (or, um, six) long blacks every day, paying $3.50 a pop can quickly add up - unless you have a coffee machine at work, in which case, lucky you.

Alternative? Drink the water that flows freely - and for free - from your tap, and put that spare shrapnel towards a tropical holiday.

2. It's surprisingly versatile

One of the benefits of coffee is that you can drink it in so many different ways. Don't like milk? Get a short black. Sweltering on a summer day? Drink it iced. But although water seems boring by comparison, it can be spruced up. Hot water with a squeeze of lemon is delightful on a chilly winter morning, while nothing beats sucking on an ice cube in the middle of January. Also, vodka, water and fresh lime is the ultimate summer Sunday afternoon beverage, if you like your water with an extra kick.

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“I put butter in my coffee and drank it – here’s what happened”

But what about Instagram? you ask. Water isn't as pretty as a latte fern! Well, if you love of coffee is aesthetically driven, you need to give fruit-infused water a try. You can't tell us these photos aren't just as gorgeous as an artfully-poured cappuccino. They're definitely more colourful.

3. Goodbye, bad breath

Forget garlic and tuna - your beloved coffee can be a sneaky bad breath bandit. Caffeine can slow saliva production in your mouth, making it dryer and more susceptible to bacteria growth. Saliva is an important defence against bad breath, as it kills bacteria and helps to break down food particles trapped in your teeth. Drinking a latte, cappuccino or other milk-based cuppa is a double whammy, as dairy products are known to promote halitosis.

6 ways to drink enough water when you really don’t like water

Drinking water, on the other hand, keeps your breath fresh as it flushes out any trapped food particles in the mouth, and encourages saliva production. It's also odourless. Ten points to you, water.

4. It's refreshing

Gwyneth knows what's up. (Instagram)

You really can't beat a cold glass of water on a hot day. Coffee, while undeniably tasty, just doesn't hit the spot in the same way - and will probably just make you feel thirstier.

5. It doesn't stain everything

Ever dropped a coffee on your favourite cream-coloured dress/carpet/lounge? Yeah. Not fun. Water is so much easier to clean up. Also, drinking H2O won't discolour your teeth over time, as coffee can do, and it won't make the insides of your favourite drinking vessels look mouldy. Your last-minute house guests will probably appreciate that, no?

So, in summary, there's no need to abandon coffee all together. But maybe next time you reach for your third cup of the day, make a detour to the tap first.

Are you a coffee addict? What would make you give it up?

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