Thanks to a rapidly-growing category of functional drinks designed to help you at every hour of the day, you can now choose how you want to boost your health and lower your stress levels with every sip. What exactly is a functional drink? It’s a beverage that highlights a certain ingredient or health benefit. Looking to stay focused? Or improve your stress levels? Countless brands have developed nutrition-focused beverages to cater to your every need, infusing delicious drinks with immunity-boosting adaptogens and herbs. Even though it’s best to stay hydrated by drinking water, functional beverages offer a smarter, healthy option for other pleasure drinks like alcoholic seltzers or sodas.
And business is booming. The functional beverage industry reached $110 billion in 2020, and according to Whole Foods 2022 Trends report, sales will likely double by 2030. The report noted that Gen-Z and Millineal shoppers prefer healthier options for than soft drinks or energy drinks. About 43 percent of Americans feel determined to adopt a healthier diet, according to a YouGov survey.
What is a Functional Beverage?
There is a functional beverage for nearly any situation now. Whether you need to wind down after a long day or take care of your gut health, functional beverages likely have the ingredients you are looking for, such as ones with CBD. But what exactly do functional beverages contain that help your body? Functional drinks contain ingredients such as electrolytes, herbs, mushrooms, vitamins, minerals, probiotics, extracts, and herbs chosen to supplement your diet. Most top brands also offer recipes with low sugar and nearly zero artificial ingredients.
Cutting down on your sugar consumption can be really important for your heart health as well. New research found that consuming fewer sugary beverages is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease for anyone already struggling with high blood pressure
Replacing your typical alcoholic or high-sugar beverages with healthy functional beverages can also serve to your brain health. One study found that sugar and alcohol consumption is associated with Alzheimer’s development. Several functional drinks contain ingredients essential to improving brain function such as Omega-3 DHA.
About 2 billion people worldwide have micronutrient deficiencies, according to a report from Oregon State. If you are lacking the vitamins and minerals necessary to upkeep your health, choosing the right functional drink can help lower inflammation, improve gut or brain health, detox, increase energy, and more. Check out what functional beverage is best for you!
The Best Functional Drinks on the Market
Alive GT Adaptogenic Tea: Root Beer
GT’s adaptogenic teas have the same high quality as the brand’s beloved kombuchas. These teas feature a more earthy taste and are filled with good-for-you adaptogenic mushrooms which boost brain function and immunity. A standout is the Root Beer flavor, a healthy way to quench your soda craving.
Total Sugars 5g, Include 4g Added Sugars
Blue Stripes Cacao Water: Just Cacao
Rich in antioxidants and Vitamin C, Blue Stripes’ nutrient-filled water is a smart choice to quench your thirst. This plant-based water made from cacao fruit features notes of vanilla orchid flower and lemon, resulting in an unbelievably refreshing beverage for any type of year. This functional beverage is a great choice to boost immunity during the flu season as well. However, watch out, because one bottle contains 18 grams of sugar!
Total Sugars 18 grams, Includes 0 grams Added Sugars
Elements of Balance: Focus
With helpful labels that indicate the benefits of each drink – CALM, ENERGY, FOCUS, and SLEEP – you know exactly what bonus you’re getting from each flavor. If you’re looking for an effective functional drink, Elements definitely deliver. I drank a ‘Focus’ beverage while putting together a 200-part piece of furniture and was laser-focused, completing the task in just under two hours.
Total Sugars 0g
Free Rain Enhanced Sparkling Water
Free Rain makes it crystal clear which of their four flavors correlate to specific benefits, called Energy, Arousal, Calm, and Focus to help you identify which options are for you. These bold flavors are vibrant and delicious, and each flavor contains adaptogens to help you achieve a certain function.
Total Sugars 5g, Includes 0g Added Sugar
Moment: Blood Orange Ashwagandha
Moment lives up to its tagline of “Drink Your Meditation.” Containing adaptogens like ashwagandha and tulsi basil, these drinks help to relieve stress and boost brain function. With inventive, unique flavors such as Rooibos Blood Orange, these cans are a great workday pick-me-up that will keep you calm, focused, and collected.
Total Sugars 1g, Includes 0g Added Sugar
Poppi Prebiotic: Ginger Lime
Poppi’s prebiotic sodas provide a healthy, super-refreshing alternative to traditional, sugar-ladened sodas with a fraction of the sugar content. Filled with ginger, lime, and natural prebiotics, Poppi offers the best choice for your digestive health. Keeping your gut healthy can be easy when you choose one of Poppi’s specially-designed sodas instead of regular Ginger Ale or Coca-Cola. But Poppi is still a soda, so make sure to drink these nutrient-filled beverages in moderation.
Total Sugars 4g, Includes 4g Added Sugar
Recess: Peach Ginger
Recess drinks have a subtle flavor with light carbonation. The herbal flavors feel like they’re doing your body good, and thanks to the added hemp extract, the beverage has a nice calming effect that kicks in a bit after drinking it. If you’re a fan of seltzers but want added benefits, Recess is a great choice for you.
Total Sugars 4g, Includes 0g Added Sugar
VYBES: Watermelon Lime
If you’re seeking a bright, vibrant flavored drink with no carbonation, VYBES are for you. This well-sized bottle has tangy, addictive flavors. The Watermelon Lime is a standout, and the drink, which contains CBD, was a great tool to calm me down before a particularly hectic day. If you regularly reach for a juice to quench your thirst, try swapping it with one of VYBES many flavors and you’ll be satisfied with the taste and the calming effects.
Total Sugars 7g, Includes 0g Added Sugar
wildwonder: Guava Rose
These bright, poppy drinks feature an array of fun flavors and boast both prebiotic and probiotic properties. They use real fruit and herbs to achieve delicious tastes and are a great low-sugar option if you’re seeking to improve gut health. If you love sweet and fruity herbal flavors, wildwonder delivers.
Total Sugars 6g, Includes 0g Added Sugar