The latest functional beverage you may have seen on the shelves is something called a "wellness shot." Typically coming 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 guarantee 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 made to boost immunity, provide you with a jolt of plant-based energy, or naturally reduce bloat and rev your metabolism.
They often pack a ton of nutrients in a tiny volume of liquid (generally 2 to 3 ounces). The OG of wellness shots is one made of wheatgrass, but we have come a long way since those first appeared in the1990s.
These days, wellness shots usually include turmeric, ginger, apple cider vinegar, and other vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant-rich ingredients derived from fruits, vegetables, roots and spices. They typically taste strong, bitter with a little zing; so brace yourself as you take a small swig.
What Health Benefits Do Wellness Shots Offer?
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 differ between brands and flavors. Ginger, for instance, is good to reduce nausea and is inflammatory; turmeric is also good for inflammation and boosts immunity; wheatgrass is packed with vitamins A, C, and E and is abundant 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 effect on long term health, however, we know these nutrients are good for the body-- several studies have shown that the common 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; In many cases a functional beverage is a better option than grabbing something like a soda or empty-calorie beverage with no nutrients to speak of. After a wellness hit, you may, actually, feel energized and that nutrient dose could be satisfying a craving for a sweet, or deter you from a processed snack or sugary beverage you may have otherwise reached for.
Health experts warn 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 don't think your wellness shot should replace your salad greens and other healthy plant-based foods.
Whether or not to spend your hard-earned cash on wellness shots (it can add up day after day) is a personal choice. Plenty 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. Every person is different, so we recommend 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 just sip do that shot, and know that you're taking another plant-based step toward being healthy!