The latest functional beverage you might have seen on the shelves is something called a "wellness shot." Usually appearing in little 2-ounce bottles, you'll usually 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, provide you with a jolt of plant-based energy, or naturally reduce bloat and rev your metabolism.
They often pack a lot of nutrients in a tiny volume of liquid (usually 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 typically include turmeric, ginger, apple cider vinegar, and other vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant-rich ingredients derived from fruits, vegetables, roots and spices. They generally 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 actual ingredients are in the bottle. Nutrients and other ingredients like roots, fruits, flowers, and spices vary 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 loaded with vitamins A, C, and E and is abundant in calcium and iron-- all immunity and energy supporters. These are just a few of the common ingredients you'll find in wellness shots. Still, there is scant research that wellness shots have a direct effect on long term health, however, we know these nutrients are good for the body-- multiple 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 an important point; Oftentimes a functional drink is a better choice than grabbing something like a soda or empty-calorie beverage with no nutrients to speak of. After a wellness hit, you might, actually, feel invigorated and that nutrient dose could be satisfying a craving for a sweet, or deter you from a processed snack or sugary drink you may have otherwise reached for.
Health experts warn that the amounts of nutrients in a wellness shot are generally 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 by themselves 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. Plenty of people swear by these tonics; they claim their shots have prevented 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 one more plant-based step toward being healthy!