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What are wellness shots — and are they actually worth it?

Trading tequila for turmeric? Here's what you need to know.
/ Source: TODAY

Wheatgrass shots have been around for so long they’re often used in parodies of healthy living. But as wellness has grown in popularity, they’ve been joined by other "health-boosting tonics" that go down in just a few sips.

These “wellness shots” are essentially condensed versions of cold-pressed juices or drinking vinegars, and they’re meant to provide a quick, easy burst of lots of important nutrients.

But can wellness shots really boost your health?

First of all, if they’re healthy shots like wheatgrass or ginger, there’s definitely no harm in drinking them. And depending on the shot, you’ll be getting an extra dose of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

However, no wellness shot is going to magically transform your health or make up for other poor food choices you make before or after. In other words, apple cider vinegar might have health benefits, but it won’t undo the damage of eating sugary processed foods the rest of the day. I recommend eating a whole food diet and thinking of shots like you would a supplement — helpful, but extra.

Ready to trade tequila for turmeric? Here are the basic nutrition facts on some of the most popular shots at your local (juice) bar.

1. Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar contains zero calories and plenty of antioxidants, but most people drink this one for its supposed ability to jump-start weight loss. For apple cider vinegar, many studies have looked at how drinking it affects blood glucose levels in people with diabetes. Essentially, the studies suggest vinegar plays a role in the breaking down of carbohydrates, particularly starches. Over time, that could contribute to weight loss, but it’s not a direct correlation and there are many other factors that would affect whether or not that happens.

2. Ginger

Ginger is great for digestion, so if you have stomach issues like bloating, this could be the one for you. It also contains powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that can help protect your body from chronic diseases while also contributing to skin health. And a bonus for women: Studies have shown it may help with menstrual pain. If shots aren’t your thing or you want more ways to drink it up, make a refreshing strawberry ginger limeade in the summer or a warm ginger cinnamon hot chocolate in the winter.

3. Turmeric

Turmeric has a reputation as a miracle spice because it’s filled with curcumin, a compound that acts as a powerful antioxidant to fight free radicals while at the same time lowering levels of enzymes that cause inflammation. That’s no joke, considering inflammation is at the root of most chronic diseases. Another genius way to drink turmeric? Try a yummy latte.

4. Wheatgrass

Like microgreens, wheatgrass is touted as a nutrient-dense plant because of it’s small, young status. And in addition to chlorophyll, it is high in many beneficial nutrients, like vitamins A, C and E, as well as iron, magnesium, calcium and amino acids. It also contains the antioxidant glutathione (and vitamins C and E also act as antioxidants). Animal studies have shown it may reduce cholesterol and regulate blood sugar, but many of the other lofty claims people make about the plant are not yet supported by science.

5. Cherry juice

Tart cherry juice is promoted for two main reasons: workout performance and sleep. Studies have shown supplementing with cherry juice may improve strength gains and aid in recovery after exercise, and many elite athletes like long-distance runners swear by it. On the sleep front, like melatonin (or even a hot cup of chamomile!), tart cherry juice shows promise as a natural sleep aid, but its efficacy isn’t conclusive. Either way, cherries (whether tart or sweet) contain powerful antioxidants and have been shown to reduce markers of inflammation in the body, and that’s a really good thing.

For more tips from Keri, check her out on Instagram @nutritiouslifeofficial. For more diet and fitness advice, sign up for our One Small Thing newsletter.