Hydrate Smarter: 7 Best Functional Beverages of 2023

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Looking to take your hydration game to the next level? Why not add nutrients, antioxidants, and adaptogens to the mix? You’ll get that and more with our picks for best functional beverages.

If you’re trying to up your hydration and provide your body with more nutrition to support overall health, reaching for a functional beverage is a great choice. And now, more than ever, you have options in this department thanks to a booming functional beverage market.

From focused blends to complete multivitamins, there’s a functional beverage out there for everyone.

Below, we look at the top seven functional beverages for vegans. We tried and reviewed powders, gels, and ready-to-sip drinks to find the healthiest and best-tasting options. No matter what you’re after, you’ll find the right option for your needs and tastebuds, below.

Best Functional Drinks at a Glance

What are Functional Beverages?

Functional beverages are drinks that provide nutrients, antioxidants, and other health-supporting compounds. Unlike traditional beverages, and even first-generation functional beverages like Gatorade, these drinks tend to be low in sugar and calories. 

Many options in this category use natural sweeteners like stevia and natural flavor enhancers to satisfy beverage cravings. Hidden beneath that tasty exterior is a base of highly nutritious components.

These can range from synthetic vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes similar to typical sports drinks, to whole-food ingredients and extracts. Medicinal mushrooms, superfoods, and other nutrient-dense options are often used.

Depending on the ingredients, these products can be used for focused support, such as immunity or performance, or they can be designed to supply essential nutrients for overall health. Some functional beverages energize and help you deal with stress, similar to mushroom coffee, while others calm and help you sleep better.

The Benefits of Functional Beverages, According to a Dietician

Functional beverages offer several benefits which can vary heavily depending on their ingredients. In addition to being more fun to drink than plain water, these drinks can make it much easier to incorporate a variety of antioxidants into your diet – which may help to improve cellular health, reduce inflammation, and support your overall health and well-being.

Functional drinks also make it possible to gain the health benefits of several different powerful ingredients – like mushrooms, adaptogenic herbs, fruit and vegetable extracts, and more – in just a single beverage.

SaVanna Shoemaker, RDN

The Best Functional Beverage Brands

When looking for the best functional beverages on the market, we made sure to try products in all forms, including powders, gels, tablets, and ready-to-drink options. We based our choices for the best products on the ingredients included, the potential of the ingredients to accomplish marketing claims, and the flavor and usability of the product.

Best Ready to Drink: Happy Being

Happy Being Healthy functional beverage in cucumber mint flavor.
Photo courtesy of Happy Being

Key Ingredients:

  • White tea extract
  • Turmacin
  • Elderberry extract
  • Green tea
  • Vitamin D

For a grab-and-go functional drink that requires zero mixing or preparation, go for Happy Being’s Healthy line

Within these ready-to-drink options, you’ll find three fantastic flavors: blueberry, cucumber mint, and peach rose. Each of these contains fruit juice concentrate and natural essences to add a boost of flavor. But what makes these empowering functional beverages are the extracts and added vitamins you’ll find in every bottle.

The base of each Happy Being functional beverage is made of organic fair-trade white tea. They add a little green tea extract to the mix as well to provide some natural energy. The other functional elements include elderberry extract for antioxidants and immune support, vitamin D for healthy bones and immunity, and Turmacin, a turmeric polysaccharide blend that supports joint health. 

These drinks do contain xylitol and stevia and are a little sweet for some people’s taste, but if you’re looking for an alternative to sodas, energy drinks, and sports drinks, this is a great option.

In addition to these awesome products, Happy Being also offers a line of nourished powders. These delicious powdered shakes include every essential vitamin and mineral your body needs as well as polyphenols and antioxidants to reduce inflammation and support cellular health. Plus, they have 15 grams of protein to help you recover from your workouts and feel fuller longer.

Best Shot: Greenhouse Juice Company

Greenhouse Juice Company functional beverage in Fiery Ginger.
Photo courtesy of Greenhouse Juice Company

Key Ingredients:

  • Ginger
  • Turmeric
  • Orange
  • Black pepper extract

Looking for a little pick-me-up you can throw back when cold and flu bugs are trying to get you down? Greenhouse Juice Company has the answer.

Their Fiery Ginger immune shot is a highly concentrated superfood blend chock full of everything your immune system needs to kick bugs to the curb. The ingredients are all certified USDA organic and chosen for their supportive effects.

Ginger and fermented ginger bring a host of anti-inflammatory properties and probiotics to reduce symptoms and increase your body’s ability to heal while supporting gut health. Turmeric is included for its immune-system-supporting powers and comes with black pepper extract to help you absorb more of it. And orange and lemon extract add plenty of vitamin C and help round out the flavor for a tart, spicy shot of get-over-it!

Greenhouse Juice Company has an entire line of amazing wellness shots, including those meant to support energy, sleep, free radical reduction, and collagen production. Our only gripe about these drinks is that they are only available in shots not in full drink form.

Best Superfood Blends: Ko

KOS Superfood Blend in I Love You Berry Much antioxidant flavor.
Photo courtesy of Kos

Key Ingredients:

  • Spirulina
  • Whole fruits and veggies
  • Prebiotics
  • Functional mushrooms

We’ve always been partial to products that utilize whole-food, superfood ingredients. Not only do these offer all the nutrients, antioxidants, and phytochemicals superfoods are famous for, but they deliver them alongside the cofactors our bodies need to utilize them. That potent combination is just one reason we love Kos Organic Superfood Blends.

Each of these powdered superfood products utilizes whole-food ingredients. And each of those ingredients is specially chosen for the awesome power it imparts to the human body.

Currently, Kos has six different functional superfood drink powders to choose from: a calming blend, an energizing caffeine blend, a greens blend, an antioxidant blend, golden milk, and a mushroom coffee blend. 

Each of these awesome products is USDA organic, made in a GMP-certified facility, and 100% plant-based. And, compared to your typical greens powder blends, these ones are pretty dang tasty.  

When it comes to how to enjoy these powders, you have many options. You can mix them with water or plant-based milk, into smoothies, or add them to your daily protein shake. 

Best Tea: Herbaly

Herbaly Wellness Collection blend.
Photo courtesy of Herbaly

Key Ingredients:

  • Sencha leaf
  • Lavender petals
  • Dandelion root
  • Tulsi (Holy Basil)
  • Ginger root
  • Turmeric

Long before the term functional beverage was coined, the original functional drink was already popular worldwide. Of course, I’m talking about tea. For centuries loose leaf teas have provided valuable nutrients, phytochemicals, and antioxidants without added flavors, sweeteners, or dyes.

Today, Herbaly connects that past to today’s advancements in superfood nutrition to bring us a line of functional teas for every need.

Their Wellness Collection blend (ingredients listed above) is the perfect well-rounded tea for all-around better health. They also offer teas for targeted support, including products for blood sugar, heart, sleep, detox, and mood.

Each bag is made with vegan, organic, GMO-free, sugar-free, and all-natural ingredients. There are no added sweeteners or flavor enhancers, just pure, loose-leaf tea and all the good plants have to offer. If you aren’t a fan of tea, Herbaly may not be the best option for you. But for tea drinkers looking to step it up to the next level, here it is.

Each tea can be enjoyed hot or cold. In addition to loose-leaf functional teas, Herbaly also offers a long line of supplements and herbal extracts.

Best Brain Support: Noobru

Noobru Advantage in Strawberry Lemonade flavor.
Photo courtesy of Noobru

Key Ingredients:

  • Ashwagandha
  • B vitamins
  • L-theanine
  • Piperine
  • Huperzine-A

Looking for a way to support cognition, brain function, and healthy aging? Noobru is a focused functional drink powder geared toward brain health and longevity. 

This easy-mix powder combines the best of what science and nature have to offer. 

Ashwagandha joins forces with L-theanine, BioPerine, N-acetyl L-tyrosine, and vitamin B6 to help you destress and encourage mental clarity and harmony. Huperzine A, phosphatidyl serine, alpha GPC, and choline bitartrate have all been studied extensively for their brain-protecting and nourishing abilities. And added vitamin B5 and sulbutiamine bring natural energy to you and your brain.

This powder comes in just one flavor, strawberry lemonade. It’s meant to be mixed with water for an easy-drinking, nutrient-packed pick-me-up.

While we typically prefer products that utilize whole-food ingredients, it’s hard not to like what this drink mix has to offer. All of the ingredients come with numerous independent studies supporting their roles in brain health and in protecting against cognitive decline. And, like so many other users, I’ve noticed a positive change in my memory and energy levels since starting it.

Best Tabs: Superfoods Company

Superfoods Company Superfood functional beverage tablets.
Photo courtesy of Superfoods Company

Key Ingredients:

  • Burdock root
  • Matcha
  • Elderberry 
  • Milk thistle
  • Ginseng 
  • Green tea

Looking for a functional beverage you can easily take with you wherever you go? Superfoods Company’s Superfood Tabs are designed to travel, allowing you to turn any glass or bottle of water into a hard-working functional drink.

Not only are these fun, fizzy tabs packed with nutrition but they are specially designed to help you reach your weight management goals. 

Matcha and green tea help encourage natural weight loss while ginger, wheat grass, and aloe vera support healthy digestion and metabolism. This blend also includes powerful detoxifiers including milk thistle, goji berry, and dandelion to clear away toxins and help you feel your best. 

Because it comes in tablet form, this convenient functional drink contains a longer list of inactive ingredients than we would prefer. But the product is GMO-free, sugar-free, and gluten-free. Plus, it’s made right here in the USA.

These Superfood Tabs come in three great flavors: mixed berry, strawberry lemonade, and peach mango. They dissolve in minutes and provide a delicious, fizzy drink alternative. 

In addition to this awesome superfood option, Superfood Company also carries an ashwagandha powdered drink to support a positive mood and decrease stress.

Best Gel: Healthycell

Healthycell Daily Essentials gel.
Photo courtesy of Healthycell

Key Ingredients:

  • Essential vitamins and minerals
  • Amino acids
  • Essential fatty acids
  • Choline

If your goal for consuming functional beverages is to fill gaps in your nutrient intake, then this awesome gel option from Healthycell is what you need. 

A multivitamin and then some, this convenient gel pack can be taken a number of ways. You can squeeze it directly into your mouth, add it to water to create a tasty beverage, or add it to your favorite smoothie. 

In addition to essential vitamins and minerals, Healthycell’s multivitamin packs also contain amino acids, essential fatty acids, and more to support all-around health. Compared to capsules and tablets, the nutrients in these gel packs are more readily absorbed. And unlike gummies, they contain less than one gram of carbs and are sweetened only by stevia.

The multivitamin packs are available in two types, bioactive essentials and vegan essentials (ingredients listed above). These awesome gel packs are also available in focused blends to support healthy sleep, focus, immunity, cardiovascular health, and mobility. 

You won’t find any whole-food ingredients in this functional beverage option, but you’ll find all the essentials your body needs in one convenient delivery system.

Healthycell is offering our readers a Buy one, get one at 50%. Use code Bogo50

Hydrate Smarter

When it comes to the absolute best functional beverage, there really are too many options to choose just one. 

If you need focused support to help you through illness or just to keep you going, Greenhouse Juice Company has the power shots you want. If, on the other hand, you’re after whole-food packed powder with many blend options to meet your needs, Kos Organic Superfood Blends is the way to go. But, if you’re more of a traditionalist, you can’t go wrong with Herbaly Functional Teas.

Whichever of the above functional beverages you decide on, one thing is certain: You’re going to feel better hydrating with these than you will with any traditional beverage.

Sara Seitz

About the Author

Hi and thank you for wanting to get to know me and my passions.

I’m a professional freelance writer with decades of experience learning about and living a green, clean life.

I grew up in Colorado under the influence of three generations of knowledgeable women who knew their way around the garden. I graduated from Colorado State University with a bachelor of science in biology and a minor in English. A year before graduation, my life was upended by an unexpected diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes.

Facing the reality of living with an incurable autoimmune disease I left to reflect hard on my lifestyle. While this type of diabetes cannot be cured or treated with diet, I was certain that focusing on her health and fueling her body with clean food would help her better manage her condition. As a lifelong animal lover, it wasn’t difficult for me to transition fully to a vegan diet.

Inspired by the changes I felt after going vegan, I sought out a community of like-minded plant-based eaters, gaining knowledge and experience that would fuel my future career.

In 2018, I brought my daughter into the world. Wanting the opportunity to be home to raise her, I decided to pursue a career as a freelance writer, starting my own company in 2019. http://penandpostwriter.com

Today, I’m lucky to have a long list of clients who pay me to write about my many passions. At the top of that list is gardening and eating a clean diet for the sake of my health, the planet, and all the animals I love.

When I’m not constructing articles for clients, you can find me wrist-deep in dirt in my vegetable garden, hiking with my dogs, or back in front of the computer creating imaginative worlds in my quest to become a published fiction writer. More articles by Sara.

sara@cleangreensimple.com