Powerful Energy Drinks:
Functional beverages are one of the hottest markets in the food and beverage industry. These drinks offer their customers unique benefits that often appeal to the health conscious. Some of these drinks are vastly overhyped and should be avoided. Other functional beverages are a fantastic support to one’s health and performance.
Functional beverages include sports and performance drinks, energy drinks, ready to drink teas, enhanced fruit drinks, soy beverages and vitamin waters among others. These drinks have become popular due to their appeal to consumers who are seeking unique health benefits offered by the specific drinks. Many functional beverages are promoted with benefits such as improving heart health, immunity, digestion, joint function, energy and satiety (1).
The Dangers of Commercial Energy Drinks:
The vast majority of these functional beverages contain several dangerous ingredients. These include sugar, high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, preservatives, & synthetic vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. They are often times loaded up with stimulants that create an artificially induced energy rush. These drinks may contain certain anti-oxidants and other unique nutrients; however, the chemical residue is highly toxic.
The ideal functional beverage contains absolutely no chemicals, additives and preservatives. It is found within real foods and is nature’s answer to thirst. These drinks should be low in sugar or naturally fermented to provide mega-doses of high quality nutrients (2, 3, 4).
Nature’s Greatest Functional Beverages:
Nature has provided us with incredible phytonutrient chemicals within natural creation that enhance our bodies survival advantage. These nutrients allow us to adapt to stress, enhance our mental faculties and deal with environmental challenges such as excessive heat, too much sun and dehydration.
Utilizing these beverages when we are taxing our system will give us a greater advantage in our daily tasks and the demands of life. My family and I use these drinks regularly to help fuel our performance.
Coconut Water and Coconut Water Kefir:
Young coconuts contain natural water within that is rich in potassium. It is isotonic with human blood and has even been used in many countries for blood transfusions. This sweet drink is fantastic for quenching thirst and recharging the body (5).
Coconut water does contain sugar so it is better to ferment it with a coconut kefir starter. The coconut water kefir continues to have the benefits of coconut water with the addition of live enzymes, bioactive peptides, probiotics and beneficial yeasts to support digestion, energy production and immunity (6).
Whey is a natural byproduct of cheese manufacturing. It is a 5% solution of lactose in water with minerals and lacto-albumin. When the lactose goes through a fermentation cycle, lactic acid, healthy microorganisms & natural enzymes are produced. It is also loaded with potassium and other critical electrolytes (7).
Whey is an abundant source of branched-chain amino acids (BCAA`s) and sulfur containing amino acids. BCAA`s are used to fuel, build and repair muscles and joints (8). It is also rich in the sulfur containing amino acid cysteine. Cysteine is a critical agent used to make the super intracellular anti-oxidant glutathione.
Kombucha is a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY) that forms a zoolgleal mat. This unique beverage has been used for over 2000 years to improve health and fight against infection and chronic disease. The Ancient Chinese called Kombucha the “Immortal Health Elixer” as they revered it for its remarkable health benefits.
This drink is loaded with healthy yeasts, enzymes, electrolytes, bacteria and other microorganisms (9). There are many different flavors with unique superfoods that are added making synergistically unique functional beverages.
Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) Drinks
ACV is a powerful tonic loaded with incredible living nutrients. The ACV should be raw, unpasteurized with the “mother” intact. The mother is the portion of the apple that is fermented and contains the source of the good bacteria and enzymes. There are many different combinations that provide unique synergistic effects with ACV as well.
The highest quality functional beverages are fermented. The natural acids that are produced, blunt the typical blood sugar response and enhance the bioavailability of the nutrient packages within each drink.
The fermentation process naturally produces high quality B vitamins and electrolytes that are necessary for optimal energy production and inflammatory control. The enzymes and beneficial microorganisms that are created break down inflammation and work to scavenge free radicals and boost nutrient absorption in the gut (10).
My favorite brand “Bragg’s” has also come out with unique beverages using apple cider vinegar along with other beneficial ingredients such as ginger, cinnamon, grape, acai berry, honey, etc. These are low in sugar and fermented which provides more organic acids and B vitamins. They are really tasty and refreshing.
Dr Jockers Recommendations:
Try out a multitude of various fermented beverages and keep a journal on how you feel when you drink those particular beverages. If you feel very good and energized continue to drink that on a semi-regular or regular basis. Begin by drinking a small amount such as 2 tbsps daily. You can work up to drinking the whole bottle, but let this come naturally over a period of several weeks.
If you feel the drink makes you feel over jittery on a consistent basis or if you feel like you are itchy or have have skin breakouts (acne, hives, eczema) than discontinue using these. A big part of health is listening to the messages that your body gives you and making subtle shifts in your behaviors and patterns to align with what your body needs.
Clinically, I have found that most people thrive on these drinks, but some individuals who embrace them too quick will have major digestive symptoms such as diarrhea. This is due to the killing off of bad microbes and the rapid introduction of high amounts of healthy microbes.
Other individuals have a histamine sensitivity and are unable to tolerate some forms of fermented beverages as they are unable to metabolize histamine compounds which are naturally present in fermented foods.
Sources For This Article Include:
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- Mattila P, Hellström J, Törrönen R. Phenolic acids in berries, fruits, and beverages. J Agric Food Chem. 2006 Sep 20;54(19):7193-9. PMID: 16968082
- Samsonov MA, Pokrovskaia GR. [Juices in therapeutic-prophylactic nutrition]. Vopr Pitan. 1999;68(2):18-20. PMID: 10224645
- Selhub EM, Logan AC, Bested AC. Fermented foods, microbiota, and mental health: ancient practice meets nutritional psychiatry. Journal of Physiological Anthropology. 2014;33(1):2.
- Saat M, Singh R, Sirisinghe RG, Nawawi M. Rehydration after exercise with fresh young coconut water, carbohydrate-electrolyte beverage and plain water. J Physiol Anthropol Appl Human Sci. 2002 Mar;21(2):93-104. PMID: 12056182
- Lee P, Boo C, Liu S.Fermentation of coconut water by probiotic strains Lactobacillus acidophilus L10 and Lactobacillus casei L26. Link Here
- Pescuma M, Hébert EM, Mozzi F, de Valdez GF. Functional fermented whey-based beverage using lactic acid bacteria. Int J Food Microbiol. 2010 Jun 30;141(1-2):73-81. PMID: 20483186
- Pescuma M, Hébert EM, Mozzi F, Valdez GF. Hydrolysis of whey proteins by Lactobacillus acidophilus, Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus delbrueckii ssp. bulgaricus grown in a chemically defined medium. J Appl Microbiol. 2007 Nov;103(5):1738-46. PMID: 17953584
- Greenwalt CJ, Steinkraus KH, Ledford RA. Kombucha, the fermented tea: microbiology, composition, and claimed health effects. J Food Prot. 2000 Jul;63(7):976-81. PMID: 10914673
- Johnston CS, Gaas CA. Vinegar: Medicinal Uses and Antiglycemic Effect. Medscape General Medicine. 2006;8(2):61.
Additional Sources For This Article: