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Post: You are what you drink

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You are what you drink
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What does science say about the ingredients in functional beverages?

Functional beverages — or drinks promoted as offering mental or physical benefits beyond hydration — are growing in popularity around the world. Hundreds of companies have jumped into the market, hoping to get some buzz with trendy and sometimes unfamiliar ingredients.

Here are some of the latest ones found in functional beverages and what scientists say about them.

ADAPTOGENS Bottles of kombucha tea on sale in Paris in 2022.

Photo: AFP What are they? Plants and mushrooms that may help your body respond to stress, anxiety and fatigue or enhance feelings of well-being. Examples include American and Asian ginseng (an herb), ashwagandha (an evergreen shrub), eleuthero (a shrub), Rhodiola rosea (a flowering plant) and chaga (a mushroom).

What does the science say? The Cleveland Clinic says adaptogens are known to trigger chemical reactions that can return the body to a more balanced state. Side effects from adaptogens are rare but depend on the plant. Studies show that adaptogens work best for a short duration (less than six months) because the body can build a resistance to them, making them ineffective over time. NOOTROPICS The symbiosis of yeast and bacteria called kombucha to prepare the Kombucha tea, a fermented tea from China, in Paris in 2022.

Photo: AFP What are they? Also known as “smart drugs,” nootropics are substances that can improve human thinking, learning and memory. Among the most common nootropics are caffeine, L-theanine (an amino acid found in tea), […]

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