The winter season brings the holidays and festive fun, but along with that, it's the season for colds and flu. And this year, we have COVID-19 added into the mix.
As we move into colder, darker days, staying healthy is a must. The good news: you can give your immune system an extra advantage with today's hottest health trend: wellness shots. Sipping these tiny, tasty "shots" of nutrient-rich juices, spices, and herbs will give you immune-boosting vitamins and herbs. Added to your daily wellness routine, it's a powerhouse immunity boost.
Commercially prepared wellness shots can cost more than $4 (and we've seen them cost as much as $8) for a two-ounce bottle. But you can make a big batch of your favorite wellness shots at home for a fraction of that price using healthy, natural ingredients that you may already have in your kitchen.
What's more, you can power up your wellness shots with immune-boosting additives like high-quality CBD. Below is a guide to making your CBD-infused wellness shots by mixing and matching popular ingredients from your supermarket or natural food store.
What's a Wellness Shot?
Wellness shots are taking the health and fitness world by storm. They're very small, highly concentrated concoctions made from an array of nutrient-rich ingredients, and they're widely praised by fitness and wellness advocates for their ability to deliver a potent brew of vital vitamins, minerals and other nutrients, without racking up a lot of extra calories.
The current wellness shot craze builds on the popularity of an old wellness staple, nutrient "shots" made from wheatgrass, and a few other ingredients added for taste. Now, though, wellness shots come in all kinds of flavors and nutrient combinations, although most of them are built around a core set of ingredients that includes apple cider vinegar, turmeric, and pepper.
Wellness shots sound healthy, but are they? Some nutrition experts say that wellness shots are too small to make a considerable contribution to your overall daily nutrient intake, but they can pack a more powerful nutritional punch, more than an equivalent glass of fortified juice.
A wellness shot can have significantly fewer calories than that glass of juice, too, but these little drinks aren't calorie free – and depending on ingredients, some two-ounce wellness shots can contain over one hundred calories a 2 ounce serving!
Other wellness experts point out that an extra boost of vitamins and minerals is never a bad idea, especially during times of stress. Wellness shots aren't a substitute for a healthy diet that's rich in fruits, vegetables, and healthy oils, but they are usually made with these and other ingredients that have documented health properties, so they can add nutrients that you might otherwise be missing.
How to Build Your Best Wellness Shot
To make your own wellness shots, you'll need a few basics and a willingness to try different combinations of fruits, veggies, and spices.
We think a juicer works best to blend your ingredients because it immediately produces a pulp-free drink, but you can also use a blender and strain the resulting mixture to eliminate pulp and other materials. Other useful tools include a grater and pepper grinder.
Start With the Essentials
Wellness shots can taste sweet, spicy, or tart – or any combination of these. But just about all of them are built around three nutrient-rich, natural ingredients:
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar, or ACV, has been a home remedy staple for years, and now it's one of the stars of the modern wellness movement. ACV is made from fermented apples that have been further treated with friendly bacteria to create acetic acid, the ingredient that seems to be responsible for its health benefits.
ACV contains potassium and some amino acids and antioxidants, and research suggests it can help balance blood sugar levels and lower cholesterol. ACV may also help the skin by destroying surface bacteria and balancing skin pH.
Turmeric, especially its main active ingredient curcumin, has plenty of documented health benefits. This golden spice is a natural anti-inflammatory that can be as effective as some prescription medications, and it can boost the activity of natural antioxidants.
Along with those benefits, turmeric can boost heart health and elevate levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF, a chemical that supports memory and cognition. That's why some research suggests turmeric can help delay or reverse dementia and other kinds of memory loss. Turmeric may also play a key role in preventing or slowing the development of certain cancers.
Turmeric is a potent natural healer on its own, but black pepper can boost curcumin absorption by 2000 percent!
3. Black or Cayenne Pepper
Pepper has been called the king of spices, and with good reason. Ordinary black pepper has a long list of health benefits.
It's rich in piperine, a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound that appears to improve brain function, help balance blood sugar, support digestive health, and even fight cancer. Piperine is the ingredient that boosts the body's absorption of curcumin.
Cayenne pepper is another pepper variety with plenty of health benefits. It's rich in capsaicin, a compound that boosts metabolism, improves digestive health, and may even lower the risk of some cancers. Capsaicin is also a powerful pain reliever often found in topical ointments and balms for sore muscles and joints.
Add Fresh Vegetables or Fruits
To build your wellness shot, start with fresh fruits or vegetables – or a combination of these – to suit your taste. Create a tangy, citrusy shot with Vitamin C-rich lemons or oranges, or blend with cranberries, blueberries, or other vitamin-rich fruits. Adding fruits will deliver a huge shot of immune-boosting terpenes, like the essential oil limonene, from lemons.
Blend pineapples or apples with turmeric or apple cider vinegar, or combine antioxidant-rich spinach or celery with lemon and green apples for a green shot base. Try sweeter veggies like beets and carrots for plenty of Vitamin C and A.
Experiment With Herbs and Spices
Boost the health benefits of your homemade wellness shots with a variety of immune-boosting herbs and spices that can blend well with fruits, veggies, and the Big Three of ACV, turmeric and pepper. Grate fresh ginger into your wellness blend for digestive health and cold relief, or add immune-boosting cinnamon to a sweeter shot.
Add a little honey or maple syrup to taste if you like, but avoid artificial sweeteners and plain sugar.
Consider Adding CBD
CBD, or cannabidiol, can add an extra boost to the benefits of your DIY wellness shots. This compound, which is derived from hemp or marijuana, works with the body's natural system of cannabinoid receptors to balance the body's many subsystems, support the immune system and regulate mood.
Add a few drops of high-quality CBD oil or a balanced ratio of THC to CBD from a tincture. Add this to any wellness shot recipe to support your immune system, relieve anxiety, and promote overall wellness. If you choose to add a tincture with THC, mind your dosage!
Individual responses to CBD and THC can vary, so start small and gradually increase the amount you add until you reach the desired effects. Look for pure tinctures and concentrates without added ingredients from quality retailers and brands.
This DIY recipe will make 4 shots. For the holidays, I'm making this wellness shot and leaving it on several neighbor's doorsteps in a cute mason jar with a holiday note.
- 1/2 a ripe pineapple
- 2 small lemons
- 1/4 cup chopped, peeled fresh tumeric (much tastier than the ground spice!)
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh ginger
- a pinch of cayenne (or to your taste)
- 2 full droppers of CBD tincture
- 4 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (I like the Bragg brand)
- 5 tablespoons of raw, local, organic honey
Blend or juice all ingredients together. Strain out pulp and other solids. Most wellness shot recipes don't require added liquids, but you may want to add some sparkling water if the result is too concentrated or filtered water.
Refrigerate the mixture in a sealed container, or decant it into smaller shot-size bottles for a consistent serving size.
It's always best to eat your veggies and take your vitamins. But as we move into the winter season, a zesty, spicy wellness shot can kick-start your day – and give your immune system that extra boost for the holidays and beyond.