Years ago, I was trying out a hot new gym in my neighborhood with a friend. After an intense exercise class, she convinced me to have a wheatgrass shot with her at the gym bar. I knocked it back, grimacing at the bitter flavor. On the way home ten minutes later, I yelled for her to pull over and threw up at the side of the road. The shot may have been billed as a health-booster, but my body wanted none of it.
“Wellness shots” like wheatgrass are suddenly hot again, with bottled versions sold online and in specialty grocery stores and DIY recipes cropping up on blogs; they promise to boost energy and immunity, detoxify the body, and promote overall wellness in just one or two little ounces. Is this a trend worth trying?
Wellness shots contain ingredients that might help what’s ailing you. For instance, ginger can ease digestive woes, and probiotics may help bolster the immune system if taken regularly. Though there’s some promising research about ingredients like turmeric and apple cider vinegar, evidence is too thin to back up the miracle health claims you’ll read online (vinegar can also erode tooth enamel, so be careful with drinking it). The shots do contain several different kinds of fruits and vegetables, but the amounts are typically so small that vitamin and mineral amounts may not be very high, so they’re not a substitute for taking a multivitamin.
In short, wellness shots aren’t magic bullets. They don’t make up for a crummy diet or poor sleep habits. Detoxification claims are also dubious—our livers do that job for us, without special drinks. And keep in mind that the energy boost some shots promise might simply be coming from caffeine. Wellness shots can also be expensive: several dollars per little bottled shot, making it a pricey daily habit.
There’s no harm in trying a wellness shot (but check to be sure any herbs it contains such as ginseng don’t interfere with medication you’re taking). And heck, they’re certainly better than traditional shots! They may also make you feel better in the moment if you’re under the weather or especially sleepy. Otherwise, a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can do wonders for your health as well—and might taste better too.