Need a Boost? Try These Clean Energy Drinks

Need a Boost? Try These Clean Energy Drinks

It’s no secret that Americans are chronically tired. According to a Gallup poll, one in three people report struggling to get good sleep.[*] This may explain America’s obsession with energy drinks.  

While energy drinks can certainly give you a boost, the ingredients in many of these beverages can be concerning, with artificial additives and excessive sugar raising red flags for health-conscious consumers. In response, there has been a growing demand for clean energy drinks — alternatives that offer a natural source of energy, without the drawbacks.

So, which energy-boosting beverages are best? Read on to discover the best drinks for those moments when you need a healthy pick-me-up.

What Are Clean Energy Drinks? 

Avoiding ingredients like artificial sweeteners, synthetic colorings, and added sugar has become a top priority for many. Natural energy drinks cater to this preference by using only naturally derived ingredients and limiting or excluding added sugar. 

Excessive sugar consumption, in particular, has been linked to a range of serious health issues, including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, making the absence of added sugars a significant benefit of clean energy drinks.

Natural Caffeine: The Main Player in Clean Energy Drinks 

Caffeine, a naturally occurring compound found in over 60 plants, is the cornerstone of most clean energy drinks.[*

Many energy beverages use synthetic caffeine, which is chemically identical to its natural counterpart. But, natural caffeine has some distinct advantages. It comes bundled with a blend of antioxidants and other beneficial compounds inherent in its source plants.[*][*] These compounds are thought to significantly contribute to the health benefits of beverages containing natural caffeine.[*] 

Moreover, natural caffeine tends to provide a more stable energy release compared to synthetic forms, mitigating the sharp energy spikes, jitters, and crashes often experienced with synthetic forms.[*][*] 

The Best Clean Energy Drinks

Now that you’re familiar with the star behind clean energy drinks, let’s explore which drinks can give you that natural boost.  

#1: Coffee 

No list of clean energy drinks is complete without coffee — the OG energy-boosting beverage. Derived from the roasted seeds of the Coffea plant, coffee is a powerhouse of natural compounds.

Not only is coffee a rich source of natural caffeine, but it’s also one of the biggest sources of antioxidants in the human diet.[*] One review of over 3,000 foods and beverages ranked coffee 11th for antioxidant content.[*

Coffee has been linked to several health benefits, likely the result of the beneficial effects of natural caffeine and its powerful antioxidant content. Drinking 3-4 cups of coffee a day has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease, neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, liver diseases, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and obesity.[*][*][*][*][*][*][*]

#2: Matcha Green Tea 

Matcha green tea has gained widespread popularity for its vibrant color, unique flavor, and impressive health benefits. Like traditional green tea, matcha comes from the Camellia sinensis plant. But, unlike traditional green tea where the leaves are steeped and then discarded, matcha involves consuming the entire powdered leaf, providing a concentrated dose of nutrients and antioxidants. 

Matcha is particularly rich in catechins, a group of antioxidants with potent health-promoting properties.[*] One catechin in particular, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), has been linked to various health benefits, including improved heart health, enhanced metabolism, and reduced inflammation.[*][*]

Matcha contains a moderate amount of natural caffeine, but it also includes the amino acid L-theanine, which has calming and relaxing effects on the brain. This unique combo of caffeine and L-theanine provides a balanced and sustained energy boost, without the jitters or crashes often associated with synthetic energy drinks. 

Matcha can be used to make matcha lattes and matcha green tea. It can also be added to smoothies and baked goods.  

#3: Yerba Mate 

Yerba mate, a traditional South American beverage made from the leaves of the Ilex paraguariensis plant, has gained a loyal following for its distinct flavor and stimulating effects. 

Yerba mate contains caffeine, theophylline, and theobromine — natural stimulants that promote alertness and offer antioxidants.[*] Additionally, yerba mate is packed with beneficial nutrients that support your health, including B vitamins, vitamin C, and minerals like potassium, magnesium, and manganese.[*

Yerba mate can be brewed hot or cold to create an invigorating beverage that can be enjoyed throughout the day.

#4: Black Tea 

Black tea, derived from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world. Like matcha, black tea contains natural caffeine and L-theanine, which provide a smooth and sustained energy boost. 

Black tea is also rich in antioxidants, such as theaflavins and thearubigins, which help protect against oxidative stress and reduce the risk of several chronic diseases.[*][*]

#5: IQJOE 

IQJOE offers a unique twist on the traditional coffee experience. This instant coffee centers on rich, bold Brazilian coffee, but its functionality is what really sets it apart. 

For starters, it has a high caffeine content, offering 200 mg of caffeine per packet. To add to the benefits, each serving is enhanced with 750mg of Magtein® magnesium L-threonate and 8X-concentrated lion’s mane extract

Magtein® is the only form of magnesium shown to cross the blood-brain barrier.[*] As a result, it helps boost clarity, mood, focus, attention, memory, and productivity. Plus, it smooths out the “peaks and valleys” of caffeine.

Lion’s mane, a type of functional mushroom, adds to the synergistic effect with its brain-boosting benefits. This “smart mushroom” is best known for its ability to boost nerve growth factor (NGF) in several animal studies.[*][*] NGF promotes the generation of new neurons, the survival of existing neurons, and the reversal of injury-induced nerve damage. 

Unsurprisingly, healthier neurons appear to improve brain function. In human trials, supplementing with lion’s mane improved performance speed, significantly boosted cognitive functions, and reduced reported stress levels.[*][*]

To make a delicious, clean energy drink, simply pour one packet of IQJOE into 8-12 ounces of hot water, stir until dissolved, and receive a long-lasting, crash-free energy boost! 

IQJOE comes in four sugar-free flavors: Original Black, Vanilla Spice, Toasted Hazelnut, and Caffè Mocha. Not sure which flavor to choose? Try our 16-Stick Variety Pack to find your favorites!


Did you know that fatigue can be a sign of an electrolyte imbalance? It's true! Electrolytes, such as potassium, sodium, and magnesium, play a crucial role in maintaining proper hydration and energy levels in the body. When these electrolytes are out of balance, it can lead to symptoms like fatigue, muscle weakness, and brain fog.

There are lots of electrolyte drinks on the market. While these drinks don’t contain caffeine, replenishing lost electrolytes can make you feel like you drank a cup of coffee! But, traditional electrolyte drinks are usually filled with unhealthy preservatives, added sugar, and artificial colors, flavors, and sweeteners (like aspartame and sucralose). 

That’s why we created IQMIX— a low-calorie hydration mix that contains key electrolytes, Magtein® magnesium L-threonate, and 8X-concentrated lion’s mane extract. 

Each packet contains zero sugar, 10 calories, and just 3 grams of carbs. Compare that to your typical 16-ounce sports drink, which contains between 28 and 38 grams of added sugar—equal to about 7 to 10 teaspoons!

IQMIX is available in delicious flavors, including Peach Mango, Lemon Lime, Blueberry Pomegranate, and Blood Orange, and is lightly sweetened with stevia. If you’re unsure what flavors to pick, try our 8-Stick Sampler

#7: Various Branded Energy Drinks 

There are several energy drink brands on the market, such as Zoa Zero Sugar, Zevia Zero Calorie Energy, Celsius Live Fit, and Hiball Energy. These can be okay in a pinch or for an occasional treat, but many contain questionable sweeteners like sucralose and erythritol.[*][*] Plus, they don’t contain the natural antioxidants and vitamins present in drinks like coffee, matcha, and black tea, or brain-boosting additions like lion’s mane and Magtein®.

An Important Note 

If you almost constantly feel in desperate need of a nap or are relying on multiple energy drinks to get through the day, it’s important to visit your doctor to rule out an underlying health issue. If everything checks out okay, ask yourself these questions:

  • Are you adequately hydrating with water and electrolytes?
  • Are you consuming enough calories and receiving sufficient nutrients?
  • Are you allowing yourself proper recovery time between workouts?
  • Are you getting enough sleep? 
  • Do you have effective ways to manage your stress?

But, if you generally have good energy and experience typical lulls, healthy energy drinks can certainly be a good addition to your routine. Cheers to finding the energy you need to thrive!


Written by Katie Koschalk, a health and wellness writer, certified holistic nutritionist, and certified personal trainer based in California.