Sip your way to a stronger immune system, a revitalised mind, and a better mood with some of these tried and tested natural health drinks.
Firefly natural tonics
Advertised as ‘natural drinks’ with no added nasties and ranging from 100-113 calories per 330ml bottle, these refreshing drinks come in a range of flavours and are blended with active botanical extracts such as Green Tea, Ginger & Kola nut, so take your pick. The RRP is between £1.39 and £1.95 in the UK which is very reasonable considering the ingredients and health benefits of the drinks, and available from Waitrose, Holland and Barrett's and other independent health stores. My previous assumptions on health drinks and flavoured waters were that they were full of sugar, but these Firefly tonics contained no more than 8g carbohydrates (sugars), a surprising difference.
As a sucker for packaging, I was delighted with my line up of brightly coloured old style retro milk bottles, making the drinks exciting before I’d even popped open a lid. This collection of thirst-quenchers are entirely natural, made up of purified water, fruit juices and botanical extracts. There’s no caffeine-laced sugar rush when you sip from one of these bottles – just subtle flavours, quietly doing you good.
Peach and Green Tea
As the first drink to try, I took an apprehensive sniff of sweet, succulent peaches. The smell is definitely stronger than the taste, as the first sip revealed a light, refreshing texture - nothing too syrupy. It has a delicate peach flavour, a hint of grape juice and an underlying taste of green tea. And for some, a nice change to the normal citrus and berry drinks you get.
Grapefruit and Passionfruit
Not a huge fan of grapefruit, it took a while to warm to this flavour. It is quite punchy with the sharpness of grapefruit, but refreshing and clears your pallet causing your to literally 'sharpen up', with a satisfying aftertaste of rosemary and passionfruit.
Lemon, Lime and Ginger
I’m a freak for anything with lemons in, so this flavour was unbelievably satisfying, refreshing and very tasty. Think homemade lemonade with a hint of ginger. This one tasted the most natural, and consists of zingy lemons and limes brimming with a punch of ginger, dandelion and burdock.
These drinks are both quite high in sugar at 25g, but do contain 50% of your recommended daily allowance of 8 vitamins and minerals all designed to support the normal function of the immune system. The amount of scientific research gone into the two flavours is impressive, and remains free from gluten, wheat, lactose, caffeine, added sugar, artificial sweeteners or preservatives. The drinks retail at £1.79 for 330ml, and are available at Whole Foods Market, Nutri Centre, and Holland & Barrett branches. I described the texture as 'syrupy' in one article for a magazine which the Mune team took issue with as apparently they were trying to 'distance' themselves from those adjectives. My answer? USE LESS SUGAR!
The smell of Manuka honey is very overpowering, to a point of being off-putting. The flavour holds a hint of cherry and black elderberry underneath the strong honey tones. With the consistency and taste of a watered down cold remedy, if you love honey, give this one a go.
The Mune Revive drink contains 88 calories of spring water enhanced with coconut, pineapple, blood orange, lemon grass and nettle, and 50% of your RDA from a host of vitamins. It smells of pure pineapple juice, and is so strong that I couldn’t taste the blood orange or lemongrass. As a water replacement, both flavours were quite sweet but I can see it proving useful after exercise or on a hangover.
Sirco is a 100% fruit juice that contains Fruitflow, a natural, active ingredient from tomatoes (but doesn't taste of them!) that keeps your heart healthy from the first day you drink it. Sirco and Fruitflow has been scientifically proven to help maintain cardiovascular health and benefit circulation of the blood, reducing risk of DVT. Despite being high in sugar, containing 26.5g and 125 calories per 250ml serving, the 62 5-star reviews on Amazon can’t be wrong. As well as being healthy for your heart, it contains 1 of your 5 a day, provides a source of vitamin C, and contains no added sugar, artificial flavourings, preservatives or artificial colours.
Apple and Blueberry/ Orange and Passionfruit
The first whiff of the Apple and Blueberry flavour reminds me of tinned tomatoes, but once drinking, it has a strong flavour of apple juice - and not the watered down sort, and an after-taste of blueberry. Turns out it has 51% apple juice from concentrate, with added grape juice, lemon juice and blueberry juice.
The Orange and Passionfruit flavour is refreshing and citrus-y, with an equal balance of both main ingredients. It’s very sweet, but as a replacement for your morning fruit juice, it’s pretty darn good.