12 Health Drinks You Didn’t Know Were A Thing

By Alice Chan
30th May 2016

health drinks, healthy drinks, kombucha, lean water, tea

If you're anything like us, you’d rather consume your daily intake calories in the form of food. Yup, we're comfort/stress/emotional/all-round eaters and if you didn't already know, beverages are not a free pass! We can, however, usually be swayed otherwise by health claims aka, ahem, clever marketing. Thankfully Auckland's #cleaneating trend is still full steam ahead with wholesome beverage options are popping up left, right, and centre.

We’ve been busy road testing brews that claim to deliver eternal health, for those moments when plain old top water just isn't cutting it. Check out our top 12 health drinks to try right now.  

1. Kombucha

The hottest health drink of the moment and, if you can believe it, it's not a soft drink! This carbonated fizzy delight is God’s gift to the modern age health conscious individual. Kombucha is fermented tea, the process of which involves a “symbiotic ‘colony’ of bacteria and yeast”. Because it’s a probiotic, it’s great for your gut, but at a mere 20-30 calories a bottle, won't give you a gut!

We're head over heels for Organic Mechanic who serves a mean Ginger Infused Living Probiotic Kombucha, and on tap too at the La Cigale markets. Daily Organics also offer their Certified Organic Kombucha in original, summer and coffee varieties. Found at health food stores, fancy pants supermarkets (Farro Fresh and Nosh), this health drink is increasingly being stocked in cafes Auckland wide.  

2. Aotea Tonics

Originally “Ahika tonics”, these herb and tea based wellness tonics are lightly flavoured with Manuka honey and citrus, and (heck yes) no processed sugar. Inspired by traditional Māori remedies, Aotea Tonics are available in Tea Tree (botanical and zesty), Horpito (sweet and fiery), Kumarahou (warm and bitter) and Kawakawa (refreshing and earthy).

Move over lemon water. We can confirm that a bottle of Kawakawa is a great way to start the day. You’ll also pass on morning tea so as not to ruin your newfound “health is wealth” mindset! You’ll be pleasantly surprised also to find these at the Academy Cinemas on Lorne Street.

3. Kefir

Kefir is a probiotic culture of bacteria and yeast, traditionally made with milk, dairy and more recently, coconut water. Kefir means “feel good” in Turkish so hopefully that's how you'll feel. Benefits include reduced sugar cravings, assisting with digestion and cleansing the liver. The Collective NZ offers their #tummylovekefir pourable yoghurt in original, blueberry and coconut varieties. The Kefir Company use kefir to ferment their Young Coconut Water Kefir drinks. Or purchase your own “Body Ecology Kefir Starter” kit and DIY. Kinda like home brew y'know. 

4. Coconut Water

Arguably the Coca Cola of health beverages, coconut water needs no introduction. It is everywhere. You either love it, or hate it and we’ll leave it at that. Do check the ingredients label for any sneaky refined sugar though—it should be 100% pure coconut water or you’re doing it wrong. Also available as a freeze dried powder so you can coco all day, every day.

5. Cactus Water

Not really from a cactus at all. Could a desert plant that requires no watering produce sufficient liquid for its very own drink? Misleading names aside, it is the prickly pear cactus that is the star of this electrolyte abundant beverage. Taste wise, don’t be misled by its coconut water-esque packaging. Its taste is fresh and herbal with no hints of wetness at all. Bonus is the 35 calories per serve! You’ll find CALIWATER Cactus Water from Farro Fresh.

6. Birch Water

Picture this. For just two to three weeks of the year, forests across the northern hemisphere fill with a silent burst of activity as hundreds of litres of sap rise daily up through each mature birch tree in preparation for the spring. Behold, birch water is born. Birch water contains natural levels of electrolytes and antioxidants. Despite the no added sugar claim, we found it tasted a little bit like diluted honey. Check out Sealand Birk Birch Water, imported to our shores from Scandinavia.  

7. Lean Water

Yeah we know. You’re thinking... Lean water…isn’t the water from my tap “lean” anyway? Well, Lean Water by sports nutrition specialists Horleys claims to be a “refreshing and delicious zero sugar beverage that will help you ‘get your lean on’!”

We did mention were suckers for marketing right?

Basically a flavoured water (and not even calorie free!), Lean Water contains extracts of green tea and green coffee as well as L-carnitine (an amino acid commonly used by gym junkies to help boost metabolism). If you’re curious, it’s at your local Countdown in the toothpaste aisle.

8. Detox Teas

Ah detox teas. Ever so popular amongst celebs and Instagram users. An article on Google even called it “the liquid version of waist trainers”. Remember, add a few herbal cups to your existing, healthy diet— don’t replace meals entirely. Detox teas are usually caffeine free and not really something you can order at a café.

Yummier options in the market include Storm and India’s Evening Detox and T2’s Tummy Tea which both contain liquorice and peppermint tisanes. Also worth a try are Celestial Seasonings’ Natural Detox Tea and MUMA Health’s Brazilian Body Tea.

9. Green Tea Energy Drinks

Tucked away in the fat burner section of most online supplement websites are little sachets of fruity flavoured instant green tea energy drink. The recommended two daily servings will give you the antioxidant, detoxing, thermogenic fat burning and weight loss benefits of 40 cups of green tea. FORTY! Popular brands include Tribeca Health’s Green Tea X50 and BSc's Green Tea TX100

10. BCAAs

Another fitness beverage but that #activewear isn’t just for show, right? Short for branched-chain amino acids (specifically, valine, leucine and isoleucine), all you need to know is that amino acids are the building blocks for protein. And protein builds muscle for that lean beach bod.

Commonly used by gym junkies to improve performance and reduce muscle breakdown, everyday folk can use BCAAs to prevent fatigue and improve concentration. It’s a powder, just mix with water. It comes in every flavour imaginable but go for the blue raspberry and tastes like blue Powerade and equally useful for hangovers.

11. Green Juice Powders

If you’re looking for superfood central, look no further. Green powders are a multi-nutrient super blend of all your essential nutrients in one place. At the forefront of the green powder market is NuZest’s Good Green Stuff which contains over 70 ingredients including fruit and vegetable extracts, probiotics, digestive enzymes, herbs, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. *Exhale*

12. Bulletproof Coffee

Coffee. Butter. Oil. We feel nauseous already.

Aside from sounding totally badass, bulletproof coffee triggers weight loss, kills cravings and increases mental clarity. Sounds like a cure for Monday-it is? Its intended to be efficient, easy way to slurp down fats and calories (all 460 of them!). Uh not sure about you but I’ve never had issues reaching my daily fat and calorie intake. We might see how this trend goes before we join this bandwagon.

Looking to get your health shopping on? Here are the Best Health Food Stores In Auckland.

Image credit: Aotea Tonics

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