Natural ingredients are thought to be better for us because they don’t contain anything artificial or synthetic. But many natural ingredients also come with a unique set of health properties or benefits. In this guide, I’m going to put my favourite natural ingredients in the spotlight and introduce you to some non-alcoholic drinks that contain them.
What is an adaptogen?
Adaptogens are a category of herbs, berries and mushrooms that have healing properties. The theory is that adaptogens target multiple functions in the body including emotional, physical and mental stress, adapting to what you need.
Ashwagandha, also known as Indian Ginseng, is a popular herb that contains adaptogens. On TikTok alone, #ashwagandha has 400 million views and counting, so it’s safe to say that adaptogens are on trend right now. But adaptogens have actually been used in ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for hundreds of years.
The current thinking is that adaptogens support the endocrine system, which regulates all biological processes including metabolism, the menstrual cycle, blood pressure and stress levels.
To date, there has not been a lot of scientific research on adaptogens, but I’m pleased to report it is an area that is attracting more interest. For example, a 2020 study published in Medicinal Research Reviews noted that adaptogens have beneficial effects on the neuroendocrine-immune system, which supports their use in traditional medicine.
Wild Life Botanicals Sparkling Blush
In terms of non-alcoholic drinks with adaptogens, Wild Life Botanicals Sparkling Blush, which is a best-selling non-alcoholic sparkling wine, contains ashwagandha. This important adaptogen is thought to contain chemicals that can help calm the brain, lower blood pressure and improve sleep.
Wild Life Botanicals Sparkling non-alcoholic rosé also has champagne-like bubbles, a rounded mineral palate, and features aromas of rose and strawberry. It’s also a non-alcoholic wine that tastes good — just look at all the five-star reviews!
What is an antioxidant?
Put simply, antioxidants are molecules that fight free radicals (unstable compounds that can cause harm) in your body. We all have antioxidants in our bodies that help defend us from oxidative stress. However, there are some antioxidants the body can’t produce, so we need to consume them through food or supplements.
Scientific research has consistently linked antioxidant-rich diets with a decreased risk of disease. For example, a 2018 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found people with a higher dietary intake of antioxidants had a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.
Speaking of antioxidants — if you’ve ever heard that red wine is good for your heart, it’s because of the antioxidants, specifically polyphenols, which are found in grape skins. However, a 2021 study published in Clinical Nutrition found that any positive link between wine and heart health was offset by the other health risks posed by alcohol.
In other words, drinking non-alcoholic red wine gives you the benefits, without the risks. So if you are looking for antioxidant drinks, non-alcoholic red wine is a great option.
Plus & Minus Pinot Noir
While all non-alcoholic red wines contain antioxidants, Plus & Minus non-alcoholic wines add grape skin extract to their wines, including their non-alcoholic white wines and non-alcoholic sparkling wines, to give them extra antioxidants, making them a great brand to explore if you are looking for antioxidant drinks.
This non-alcoholic Pinot Noir features flavours of cherry and dark chocolate along with soft tannins and a smooth finish.
Sobah Finger Lime Cerveza
Sobah is an Aboriginal-owned non-alcoholic beer brand that utilises Australian native ingredients. Their Sobah Finger Lime Cerveza contains Finger Lime which is high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Based on the popular Mexican beer style, it’s light and zesty.
What is a vitamin?
Vitamins are organic compounds that play different roles in the body. Without the right amounts of each key vitamin, we risk developing diseases such as scurvy, rickets, night blindness or anaemia.
Most vitamins need to come from food because our bodies either can’t produce them or can’t produce enough. However, we only need them in small amounts. There are 13 vitamins — A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, B12, C, D, E and K.
There is so much science behind vitamins that I’d need to write a very long book to share all of it. I do think it’s worth noting that there is some scientific research behind the link between vitamin C and the common cold with a 2013 study by the University of Helsinki confirming vitamin C can reduce the duration of a cold.
Numerous studies have shown that most of us don’t need to take vitamin supplements. Instead, we should aim to get all the vitamins we need by eating a healthy balanced diet. Unfortunately, there are only trace amounts of vitamins in wine, but there are lots of vitamins in fresh fruit and vegetables.
Etch APL - Bush Apple, Kakadu Plum
Etch makes sparkling non-alcoholic mixers with native Australian ingredients such as fruits and herbs. Etch APL is made with Kakadu plum, which contains the highest concentration of vitamin C in the world.
Erdinger Alcohol Free Wheat Beer
This German non-alcoholic beer is high in Vitamin B12. It has a full wheat beer taste with a hint of malt and it’s said to be very popular with the German olympic team.
What is a mineral?
Minerals are another type of nutrient our bodies need to function properly. Minerals such as calcium, magnesium and iron are important for building bones and teeth, and keeping your muscles, heart, and brain working properly. Minerals are also important for making enzymes and hormones. Most of us will be able to get all of the minerals we need by following a healthy diet.
There are far too many minerals to discuss them all, so I’m going to focus on magnesium. If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen me talking about my daily magnesium bath, so you won’t be surprised that I’m keen to share the benefits of magnesium.
Magnesium helps move blood sugar into your muscles and dispose of lactate, which can build up during exercise and cause fatigue. An interesting 2016 study published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, found that dietary magnesium could play a role in the prevention of age-related loss of skeletal muscle mass, power, and strength in women.
Meanwhile, a 2019 study, published in Dietary Magnesium for Health and Diseases, suggested magnesium supplements protect against certain markers of muscle damage in professional cyclists.
ZERO+ Pale Ale
Non-alcoholic sports beer is a great option for recovering after exercise. This ZERO+ Pale Ale contains magnesium, potassium and calcium for muscle recovery and polyphenols for energy and hydration. It’s an easy-drinking non-alcoholic pale ale with caramel notes and a clean, refreshing finish.
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I hope you’ve found this guide to my favourite natural ingredients helpful. If I’ve done my job well, you’ll be feeling inspired to try some non-alcoholic drinks with added adaptogens, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. These special ingredients are one of the many reasons to love the new era of non-alcoholic wine, beer and mocktails.