What are plant-based toners and are they healthy?

WHealth-focused beverages have come a long way from the highly problematic “detox” teas of the last decade. We drink gut-friendly kombucha (heck, we’ve even tried making our own), crave cold beer no matter the temperature, drink vinegars, and wake up dreaming of frothy, longevity-boosting matcha lattes every day. However, we have our eyes on a new type of health-promoting beverage: plant-based toners. This new category of drinks claims to do everything from quell anxiety, improve digestion, naturally improve mood, and help with concentration.

If you’ve never heard of plant-based toners, chances are you’ve seen them in the beverage aisle of your local Whole Foods or other health food store. Many leading toner brands (such as Goldthread and Sunwink, both pioneers in the category in the United States) are based on herbs. They are formulated by herbalists to include specific spices and adaptogens intended to improve your energy levels, gut health, and feelings of stress or anxiety. Interestingly, many of these toners are inspired by ancient recipes and remedies from around the world. But do these plant-based toners really work? We caught up with Jessica Bippen, MS, RD, of Nourished By Nutrition, to get the inside scoop.

An RD’s thoughts on plant-based toners

“I love seeing more functional ingredients go mainstream,” says Bippen. “I also appreciate that many of these wellness toner brands are creating ways for people to consume these ingredients in an effortless and enjoyable way.”

Bippen says these beverages can serve as functional additions to your diet depending on their ingredients and any particular concerns you may have, whether that means improving your mental clarity, digestive regularity, or both. Plus, he likes that many major brands offer these functional ingredients, like herbs, spices, and adaptogens, without using too much added sugar. However, Bippen notes that calling these beverages “plant-based tonics” seems like something of a marketing ploy, since your favorite cup of tea, coffee, and other tonics are also naturally plant-based.

“Wellness ingredients like adaptogens are hotter than ever, but I’m here for it,” says Bippen. “Plants are powerful and even small amounts can have an impact in terms of health. However, most of the known benefits require a larger dose than simply drinking a tonic.”

Bippen says that, for example, research shows you need three to five cups of green tea to start reaping its health benefits, and it also needs to be a consistent part of your daily or weekly routine to reap the longevity rewards. long term. run. The same is true for any other beverage that promotes wellness. “Adaptopens takes its time to help bring the body back into balance for it to take effect,” she says. “That doesn’t mean you won’t see results or feel good after drinking a tonic. In any case, you will be well hydrated.”

Bippen says it’s important to note that since these drinks are made with some pretty powerful herbs and spices, and many don’t have a lot of added sugar, they may not be worth the investment if you don’t enjoy the herbal and earthy flavors. . While she’d rather take adaptogenic supplements and drink a homemade tea toner or elixir, Bippen says they’re still great on-the-go options, and if she likes the taste, they can certainly be part of her regular shopping list. However, these drinks can be quite expensive, so she stresses the importance of only buying them if you really enjoy the taste.

How to Shop for Herbal Toners Like a Dietitian

Bippen says shopping for plant-based tonics is pretty easy considering most brands available don’t use a lot of added sugar, making them a better choice than kombucha or those prebiotic sodas in many cases. However, he says it’s still important to read the labels on these drinks before you buy them, especially if you’re sensitive to sweeteners like stevia, monk fruit or erythritol, which are often used to make up for a lack of added sugar. .

Goldthread Hawaiian Ginger Elixir (6 pack) — $38.00

Ginger fans will love this selection from Goldthread Tonics, featuring a delicious blend of Hawaiian ginger, jasmine flower, coriander seed, lemongrass, orange peel, and Madagascar vanilla. It is designed to boost digestion, immunity, and energy levels. Most, if not all, of their ingredients are organic.

Sunwink Hibiscus Mint Unwind (12 pack) — $45.00

We already love Sunwink’s Detox Ginger Tonic for helping with healthy digestion, but after the last few years we’ve had it, the Hibiscus Mint flavor is satisfying for both our taste buds and our brains. Hibiscus offers antioxidant properties, while mint offers a digestive and anti-inflammatory boost, and the addition of adaptogens help bring a sense of calm to our hectic work days. Bonus: All of Sunwink’s beverages are organic.

Recess Mood Strawberry Rose (12 pack) — $45.00

This mood-enhancing toner is also a great supplement for anyone looking to increase their intake of magnesium, as well as B vitamins. It’s also a great choice for those looking to dive into the world of plant-based toners, since it has a base of sparkling water with herbal supplements and adaptogens. Recess Mood Strawberry Rose is packed with a blend of magnesium, offering 15 percent of your daily needs per can, ginseng, lemon balm, and L-theanine to keep you calm and content on the craziest of days.

Kin Euphorics Lightwave (4 pack) — $22.00

An excellent choice for those looking to cut down on their alcohol intake, Kin Euphorics offers a variety of plant-based alcoholic alternatives and tonics that will still elevate happy hour beyond a club soda with lime. Plus, the Lightwave strain is packed with a blend of botanicals, adaptogens, and nootropics that will help you focus while managing stress and boosting brain function.

These products are independently selected by our editors. Making a purchase through our links may generate a commission for Well+Good.

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