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Get A Healthful Boost With These 3 Easy Wellness Shot Recipes

By Rhyan Geiger, RDN

In this article:


Wellness shots have been becoming more and more popular, but what are they? What do they do for our health and are they worth all the hype? 

Wellness shots are usually around two ounces of liquid composed of a blend of herbs and spices found in everyday cooking. These tonics are designed to target and promote specific health benefits depending on the ingredient. 

Specific benefits of wellness shots may include protecting cell health, decreasing inflammation, and even supporting a healthy metabolism. They may also boost immunity, promote weight loss, and increase energy levels. This is because most wellness shots contain ingredients that have health benefits. Most of these ingredients are items found in most kitchens and have been recognized as safe to consume. It is important to mention that even though the ingredients used may provide health benefits it doesn’t make a wellness shot a miracle or a cure-all, though consumers may have positive health effects from the extra dose of vitamins and minerals that wellness shots provide. 

Some of the most popular wellness shots contain ingredients like turmericgingerapple cider vinegarcayenne pepper, and wheatgrass to name a few. These shots can be found at smoothie shops, juice bars, local grocery stores, or even can be made at home. Here are some of the most popular ingredients used and why they may work so well. 

‌‌‌‌Turmeric For Inflammation

Turmeric has had a long history of use in traditional medicine. It is best known for its anti-inflammatory properties that come from curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric. This ingredient produces anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Curcumin is also responsible for giving turmeric its most notable yellow color. 

Unfortunately, curcumin is poorly absorbed in the bloodstream. Adding black pepper when consuming turmeric can help improve the absorption of curcumin. This is because piperine, a naturally occurring compound found in black pepper that helps enhance the absorption of curcumin by up to 2,000%. If choosing a wellness shot with turmeric, be sure it has black pepper added. 

Curcumin—The Best Supplement for Anti-aging: Read more.

Anti-Inflammatory Turmeric Wellness Shot Recipe

Makes 2

Ingredients:

Instructions:

Combine all ingredients into a glass or shot glass, mix it up, and drink. Be sure to stir before drinking as the powder may settle to the bottom of the glass. Makes 2 shots.

‌‌‌‌Ginger For Digestion

Ginger is closely related to turmeric and also has a long history in ancient and traditional medicine. The most popular medicinal use of ginger is in home remedies for stomach discomfort and nausea. Consuming roughly 1-1.5 grams of ginger may help prevent nausea. Some research has shown that enzymes in ginger can help the body break up gases in the GI tract that may be the culprit of discomfort. 

Ginger has also been shown to have a beneficial effect on improving digestion with pancreatic lipase and other enzymes that play a role in digestion. Speaking of digestion, ginger may also help promote bowel regularity. 

Gingerol is the active ingredient in ginger and gives it anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which may help reduce oxidative stress and inflammation in the body. Ginger can be a great addition to the diet especially if you’re looking to help with minor gastrointestinal issues at home. 

8 Health Benefits of Ginger: Read more.

‌‌‌‌Apple Cider Vinegar’s Antimicrobial Benefits

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is made from crushed apples that have been distilled and then fermented. This process creates high levels of acetic acid, which is believed to give apple cider vinegar its antimicrobial and antioxidant health benefits. It said that cider vinegar is approximately 5-6% acetic acid. 

Apple cider vinegar has been most popularly marketed for promoting weight loss and regulating blood sugar levels, which has some promising research behind it. Adding ACV into the diet should start slow. You can start with 1 teaspoon and gradually increase up to 1-2 tablespoons per day. 

Avoid taking apple cider vinegar in excess amounts. Too much apple cider vinegar may cause tooth enamel erosion and possible pharmaceutical drug interactions. 

Don’t Love the Taste of Apple Cider Vinegar? Here Are 6 Reasons to Try ACV Supplements: Read more.

Pom, Apple Cider Vinegar, and Tart Cherry Wellness Shot Recipe

Ingredients:

Instructions:

Combine all ingredients into a glass or shot glass, mix it up, and drink. Makes 1 shot.

Not only does this recipe have benefits from apple cider vinegar but it also provides health benefits from pomegranate juice and tart cherry juice. Pomegranate juice has antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as high levels of vitamin C. This combination is great for boosting immunity and keeping cells healthy. 

Tart cherry juice often comes sweetened, but the best benefits come from unsweetened varieties. Tart cherry juice has been shown to have a positive effect on muscle strength and soreness, which may be great for those who are more physically active. This ingredient is especially popular within the running community. 

‌‌‌‌Wheatgrass For Antioxidants

Wheatgrass is one of the longest-standing wellness shots on the market. Usually, it is consumed in the form of fresh juice but can also come in powdered form. 

Wheatgrass is a sprouted leaf from the wheat plant. Despite the name, wheatgrass is usually a gluten-free food. However, if gluten is a food of concern it’s always best to check with the manufacturer to ensure safety. 

The wide nutrient profile of wheatgrass is what makes it so popular in green wellness shots. It has antioxidant, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties. These can protect against free-radical damage which keeps cells healthy. Not only does it keep your cells healthy it also has ironcalciumamino acids, fat-soluble vitamins, and chlorophyll. These nutrients can aid in digestion and boost the immune system. 

Many other health benefits for wheatgrass do not have sufficient evidence to support the claims. If purchasing wheatgrass, be sure to buy from a trusted supplier. It can also be susceptible to mold and harmful bacteria depending on the growing conditions. 

4 Homemade Natural Energy Drinks to Fuel Your Workout: Read more.

‌‌‌‌Elderberry For Immune Health

Elderberry can be seen most commonly when trying to treat or prevent cold or flu symptoms, but more research is required to prove a benefit there. Though it is inconclusive on the exact amount of antioxidant and antiviral properties that elderberries have, we do know that they likely are a good source of the antioxidants from the rich purple color of the berries. 

We also know elderberries do contain a good amount of fiber. One cup of elderberries, not juiced, has 10 grams of dietary fiber. These berries should be cooked before consuming, as they are very tart when raw and may cause gastrointestinal distress such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. When purchasing elderberry products, be mindful of elderberry jams and elderberry syrups as they may contain a higher level of sugar. 

The Benefits of Elderberry: Read more.

‌‌‌‌Cayenne Pepper For Metabolism

Cayenne peppers are a type of chili pepper popularly used in cooking to give dishes a little spice. Besides just a spicy flavor, cayenne pepper has many nutritional benefits that come from its active ingredient capsaicin. Capsaicin is the component that also gives peppers the spicy flavor—the more capsaicin, the hotter the pepper will be. 

Capsaicin in cayenne pepper has properties that can boost metabolism but the overall effect is minimal. Research has shown that those who consumed cayenne pepper saw small improvement when compared to those who didn’t. Eating cayenne pepper in small amounts is generally recognized as safe, however, eating too much may cause gastrointestinal discomfort. 

Cayenne Pepper Wellness Shot Recipe

Ingredients: 

Instructions:

Combine all ingredients into a glass or shot glass, mix it up, and drink. Be sure to stir before drinking as the powder may settle to the bottom of the glass. Makes 2.

5 Nutrition-Packed Recipes to Boost Your Immune System: Read more.

‌‌‌‌Takeaway

Overall, wellness shots do provide some health benefits mostly in the form of antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, and metabolism-boosting benefits, but aren’t a miracle tonic. If purchasing premade wellness shots in a store, look on the ingredients list for added sugar. Some wellness shots may contain naturally occurring sugar, but items such as cane sugar, agave, maple syrup or coconut sugar are all added sugar that don’t have high nutritional value and should be limited. Products without added sugar would be the best option, especially if promoting health is the goal of drinking these. 

Before adding any of these to your diet, be sure to consult your healthcare provider. This is important to ensure it is safe and will not cause any accidental harm. 

References:

  1. Shoba G, Joy D, Joseph T, Majeed M, Rajendran R, Srinivas PS. Influence of piperine on the pharmacokinetics of curcumin in animals and human volunteers. Planta Med. 1998 May;64(4):353-6. doi: 10.1055/s-2006-957450. PMID: 9619120. 
  2. Wang S, Zhang C, Yang G, Yang Y. Biological properties of 6-gingerol: a brief review. Nat Prod Commun. 2014 Jul;9(7):1027-30. PMID: 25230520.
  3. Mashhadi, N. S., Ghiasvand, R., Askari, G., Hariri, M., Darvishi, L., & Mofid, M. R. (2013). Anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory effects of ginger in health and physical activity: review of current evidence. International journal of preventive medicine, 4(Suppl 1), S36–S42.
  4. Bode AM, Dong Z. The Amazing and Mighty Ginger. In: Benzie IFF, Wachtel-Galor S, editors. Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition. Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press/Taylor & Francis; 2011. Chapter 7. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92775/
  5. Soltani, E., Jangjoo, A., Afzal Aghaei, M., & Dalili, A. (2017). Effects of preoperative administration of ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe) on postoperative nausea and vomiting after laparoscopic cholecystectomy. Journal of traditional and complementary medicine, 8(3), 387–390. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtcme.2017.06.008
  6. Ho CW, Lazim AM, Fazry S, Zaki UKHH, Lim SJ. Varieties, production, composition and health benefits of vinegars: A review. Food Chem. 2017 Apr 15;221:1621-1630. doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2016.10.128. Epub 2016 Oct 31. PMID: 27979138.
  7. Kuehl KS, Perrier ET, Elliot DL, Chesnutt JC. Efficacy of tart cherry juice in reducing muscle pain during running: a randomized controlled trial. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2010 May 7;7:17. doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-7-17. PMID: 20459662; PMCID: PMC2874510.
  8. He J, Giusti MM. Anthocyanins: natural colorants with health-promoting properties. Annu Rev Food Sci Technol. 2010;1:163-87. doi: 10.1146/annurev.food.080708.100754. PMID: 22129334.
  9. Ulbricht C, Basch E, Cheung L, Goldberg H, Hammerness P, Isaac R, Khalsa KP, Romm A, Rychlik I, Varghese M, Weissner W, Windsor RC, Wortley J. An evidence-based systematic review of elderberry and elderflower (Sambucus nigra) by the Natural Standard Research Collaboration. J Diet Suppl. 2014 Mar;11(1):80-120. doi: 10.3109/19390211.2013.859852. Epub 2014 Jan 10. PMID: 24409980.
  10. Janssens PL, Hursel R, Martens EA, Westerterp-Plantenga MS. Acute effects of capsaicin on energy expenditure and fat oxidation in negative energy balance. PLoS One. 2013 Jul 2;8(7):e67786. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0067786. PMID: 23844093; PMCID: PMC3699483.

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