Adaptogen Drink 101: Finding the Functional Beverage for You
In this modern day and age, we’re no strangers to stress. It shows up during our busy commutes, packed work schedules, and many other demands that we face throughout the day.
Many people turn to a glass of wine to unwind in the evening. But we promise that there are other ways to find some calm. One such way is with a functional beverage.
Made with a blend of adaptogens, Superfoods, and yummy flavors, functional beverages can help you de-stress while supporting better mood, increased energy, and improved focus.
In this guide from Sunwink, we’ll go over how adaptogens work and explain which adaptogen drink is right for you.
What Is an Adaptogen?
Whether it’s ashwagandha, rhodiola, or maca, many different Superfoods fall into the category of “adaptogen.” While there are differences between these botanicals, they must all meet the following criteria to be an adaptogen:
1. It May Help the Body Resist Stress
We’re all familiar with emotional stress, but stress can also be physical, chemical, and environmental. Anytime the body is challenged, it’s said to be under stress.
Adaptogens help the body get through all of these different types of stress.
Let’s consider an example of how adaptogens accomplish this. Let’s say you’re training for a marathon and spend several hours running every day. When you run, lactic acid builds up in your muscles — causing cramps, fatigue, and soreness. This is a form of physical stress.
Of course, if you experience pain, you’re less likely to keep running, which can impede your training goals. But if you take an adaptogen, you may reduce the effects of training on your body.
For instance, an adaptogenic mushroom called cordyceps is known to increase oxygen utilization in the body. This means less lactic acid buildup, which allows you to train for longer without getting fatigued. Cordyceps may also reduce inflammation, which can make it easier for your muscles to recover — and for you to get back to training.
2. It May Help Maintain Balance in the Body
If you experience health problems, there is likely some kind of imbalance in the body. For instance, fatigue may stem from an imbalance in adrenal hormones, stress may stem from an imbalance in stress hormones, and low libido may stem from an imbalance in sex hormones.
An adaptogenic Superfood can adapt itself to your unique biology and provide support where needed. For instance, ashwagandha is known to support healthy cortisol levels in stressed-out people. As a result, ashwagandha can help to prevent some of the consequences of stress (of which there are tons).
3. Known To Not Harm the Body
One of the amazing things about adaptogens is that they’re associated with very few side effects. They’re effective but mild, which means that — unlike some pharmaceutical drugs — they aren’t likely to harm the body.
What Are Some Common Adaptogens?
There are dozens of adaptogens out there, but not all of them are well-researched.
However, some adaptogens consistently make headlines about their positive effects on the body, which are precisely the ones we choose to include in Sunwink’s sparkling Superfood tonics and Superfood powders.
Here are some of the most popular adaptogens you should know about:
Also known as Indian ginseng, ashwagandha has been used in ancient Ayurvedic medicine for millennia. Its claim to fame lies in its ability to support healthy levels of cortisol — A.K.A. the stress hormone. It may also help to promote clarity and focus and support the immune system.
Ashwagandha is mild and generally well-tolerated. However, you should never mix it with alcohol or medications considered “downers.” If in doubt, check with your doctor!
A little-known fact is that rhodiola was (long ago) used by Russian astronauts. It proved effective in supporting energy, sleep quality, and feelings of wellness.
Today, rhodiola is a popular adaptogen used to find calm in high-stress situations, such as during a public performance. It may also improve work and school productivity and lower someone’s risk of developing burnout. Basically, anytime work throws your life off balance, rhodiola may help bring things back to normal.
Cordyceps are a type of mushroom packed with antioxidants. Antioxidants can protect the body from free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can cause damage on the cellular level.
Cordyceps are also known to reduce fatigue, especially following strenuous workouts. This makes them a great addition to post-workout protein shakes.
The bright yellow-orange turmeric root belongs to the same family of Superfoods as ginger. It’s another very popular healing plant in Ayurvedic medicine.
Turmeric contains the powerful antioxidant curcumin, which is an excellent way to protect the body against the effects of inflammation. It’s also a delicious cooking spice that can be added to anything from your morning eggs to your fruit smoothie.
Native to the mountains of Peru, maca is a sweet-tasting root that belongs to the cabbage family. It’s well-known for supporting healthy hormonal levels — especially sex hormones like estrogen and testosterone. While it’s traditionally used as an aphrodisiac, you can also take maca to increase energy and boost mood.
7 Best Functional Beverages
If you’re sold on the benefits of adaptogens, you may be wondering how to start incorporating them into your life. Well, with functional beverages, you can enjoy adaptogens as part of a delicious drink.
Here are seven to try out today:
1. Digestion-Friendly Lemonade
Who doesn’t love a cold glass of lemonade when it’s scorching hot outside? But while it may taste great, we’re not crazy about its high sugar content — and general lack of nutrients.
To solve this issue, we created our Digestion Lemonade Superfood Powder, which is free of sugar, artificial sweeteners, and many other fake additives.
In addition to lemons, our lemonade contains gut-friendly chicory root and dandelion root. And to top things off, we added an adaptogen called amla (or Indian gooseberry), which is chock-full of healthy antioxidants.
2. Upgraded Coffee
If you can’t start your day without a cup of coffee, you’re not alone: most adults in the U.S. drink coffee every morning.
While coffee is generally thought to be good for you — with its high antioxidant content, energy-boosting effects, and ability to improve cognitive performance — it can be made even better.
For instance, you can add functional adaptogenic mushrooms to your morning coffee. This can help boost focus, mood, and energy while reducing some coffee jitters. In the process, you’ll turn your cup of joe into a functional beverage. Our Cacao Clarity Superfood Powder features Lion’s Mane and Reishi mushrooms along with Maca to support your energy.
3. Matcha Latte
Depending on who you ask, matcha is a serious adaptogen. It’s a super-concentrated form of green tea that’s bright green in color and super high in antioxidants. Matcha is associated with many health benefits, including healthy heart function, protection from environmental pollution, and healthy glowing skin.
But there’s something else we love about this delicious functional beverage. Unlike coffee, matcha is rich in l-theanine, an amino acid that can boost energy levels without leading to a subsequent crash. In addition, it tends to be pretty mild. If you often experience jitters, shaking, and nervousness from coffee, give matcha a try.
4. Brain-Boosting Hot Chocolate
A grown-up version of our favorite childhood drink, our Cacao Clarity Superfood Powder is made with not one, not two, but three adaptogens.
Lion’s Mane mushroom is meant to boost mental clarity, Reishi mushroom can increase focus, and Maca can improve memory. So, you get three adaptogenic Superfoods for a hot chocolate that tastes great and seriously supports brain power.
Oh, and it’s free of added sugars and artificial sweeteners. So you can enjoy a chocolatey treat 100% guilt-free.
5. Hibiscus Mint Unwind Sparkling Superfood Tonic
If you find yourself reaching for a cocktail at the end of the day, we get it!
Not feeling a glass of wine? Instead, relax with our Hibiscus Mint Unwind Sparkling Superfood Tonic. Thanks to mint and hibiscus, it’s refreshing, so you won’t miss much in terms of taste.
But that’s not all! Our sparkling Superfood tonic is made with ashwagandha, which is a stress-busting superhero. That way, you’ll be truly unwinding at the end of a long day.
6. Lemon-Rose Uplift Sparkling Superfood Tonic
Our Lemon-Rose Uplift Sparkling Superfood Tonic is like a glass of rosé — but better!
Our tonic is made with lemon balm, which is a Superfood that belongs to the mint family. Lemon balm is an excellent way to support good mental health, especially in times of stress. To top things off, we also crafted the tonic with hibiscus and rose, two stunningly beautiful flowers that taste delicious.
7. Turmeric Recover Sparkling Superfood Tonic
To deal with the effects of physical stress, like when you’re going extra hard in the gym, our Turmeric Recover Sparkling Superfood Tonic is an excellent functional beverage to sip on.
Rosemary can support proper circulation for a healthy recovery, while turmeric can reduce inflamed sore muscles. To top it off, ginger gives the tonic a nice flavor kick while keeping the gut happy and healthy.
The Perfect Functional Beverage
Adaptogens are superheroes in times of stress, whether it’s emotional, physical, or environmental. And with the many adaptogens out there, there’s something for everyone.
Sunwink’s sparkling Superfood tonics and Superfood powders are made with adaptogens that have awesome benefits. Whether it’s maca, reishi, or ashwagandha, you’re sure to find them in our yummy functional beverages.
Cordyceps sinensis Increases Hypoxia Tolerance by Inducing Heme Oxygenase-1 and Metallothionein via Nrf2 Activation in Human Lung Epithelial Cells | PMC
Adaptogenic and Anxiolytic Effects of Ashwagandha Root Extract in Healthy Adults: A Double-blind, Randomized, Placebo-controlled Clinical Study | PMC
The impact of stress on body function: A review | PMC
Before Steroids, Russians Secretly Studied Herbs | National Geographic
The Effectiveness of Rhodiola rosea L. Preparations in Alleviating Various Aspects of Life-Stress Symptoms and Stress-Induced Conditions—Encouraging Clinical Evidence | PMC
NCA releases 2020 National Coffee Data Trends, the "Atlas of American Coffee" | NCA