The latest functional beverage you might have seen on the shelves is something called a "wellness shot." Typically appearing in little 2-ounce bottles, you'll commonly find them at your local market, or sitting in the cool case at your coffee joint or juice bar. But what are these little wonder drinks that promise everything from energy and mood enhancements to immunity boosts?
Should You Be Taking a Wellness Shot?
Wellness shots are basically condensed and concentrated cold-pressed juices created to boost immunity, give you a jolt of plant-based energy, or naturally reduce bloat and rev your metabolism.
They usually pack a lot of nutrients in a small volume of liquid (typically 2 to 3 ounces). The OG of wellness shots is one made of wheatgrass, but we have come a long way since those first emerged in the1990s.
Today, wellness shots often contain turmeric, ginger, apple cider vinegar, and other vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant-rich ingredients that come from fruits, vegetables, roots and spices. They generally taste strong, bitter with a bit of zing; so brace yourself as you take a small swig.
What Health Benefits Do Wellness Shots Provide?
The benefits of wellness shots are a function of what real ingredients are in the bottle. Nutrients and other ingredients like roots, fruits, flowers, and spices vary between brands and flavors. Ginger, for example, is good to reduce nausea and is inflammatory; turmeric is also good for inflammation and boosts immunity; wheatgrass is loaded with vitamins A, C, and E and is rich in calcium and iron-- all immunity and energy helpers. These are only a few of the typical ingredients you'll find in wellness shots. Still, there is little research that wellness shots have a direct impact on long term health, however, we know these nutrients are good for the body-- many studies have shown that the typical ingredients found in wellness shots have positive effects on your body and your mind.
"Food is our first medicine," reminds Sylvie Beljanski, a health and wellness educator and author of Winning The War on Cancer. "Every time we choose to put something healthy in our mouths, we will nourish our cells, and just as importantly, we save ourselves from the temptation of eating something unhealthy." Beljanski makes a vital point; Oftentimes a functional beverage is a better option than grabbing something like a soda or empty-calorie drink with no nutrients to speak of. After a wellness hit, you may, actually, feel invigorated and that nutrient dose could be satisfying a craving for a sweet, or deter you from a processed snack or sugary beverage you might have otherwise grabbed.
Health experts advise that the amounts of vitamins and minerals in a wellness shot are usually small, so they should not be a replacement for getting vitamins and nutrients from whole foods or a substitute for taking a multivitamin. All plants on their own have vitamins, minerals, fiber, and health-boosting phytochemicals, so do not assume your wellness shot should replace your salad greens and other healthy plant-based foods.
Whether or not to spend your hard-earned money on wellness shots (it can add up day after day) is a personal choice. A lot of people swear by these tonics; they say their shots have warded off colds, given them more energy, helped them sleep better, and even improved their skin. Everyone is different, so we suggest trying them out and keeping a journal to see how you feel after taking each one, to see if you can quantify a measurable difference in your life. Or simply sip that shot, and know that you're taking one more plant-based step toward being healthy!