The latest functional beverage you may have seen on the shelves is something called a “wellness shot.” Often coming 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? And, carrying a price tag of between $3 to $6 a shot, are they worth it?

Should You Be Taking a Wellness Shot?

Wellness shots are essentially condensed and concentrated cold-pressed juices designed to boost immunity, give you a jolt of plant-based energy, or naturally reduce bloat and rev your metabolism.

They often pack a ton of nutrients in a small volume of liquid (typically 2 to 3 ounces). The OG of wellness shots is one made of wheatgrass, but we have come a long way since those first appeared in the1990s.

Now, wellness shots typically contain turmeric, ginger, apple cider vinegar, and other vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant-rich ingredients derived from fruits, vegetables, roots and spices. They typically taste strong, bitter with a bit of zing; so brace yourself as you take a small swig. The taste team here at The Beet tried a number of best-sellers report our findings below.

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 example, is good to reduce nausea and is inflammatory; turmeric is also good for inflammation and boosts immunity; wheatgrass is packed with vitamins A, C, and E and is rich in calcium and iron--all immunity and energy helpers. 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 longterm health, however, we know these nutrients are good for the body—many studies have shown that the common ingredients found in wellness shots have positive effects on your body and your brain.

“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 hits an important point; Oftentimes a functional beverage is a better option than grabbing something like a soda or empty-calorie beverage with no nutrients to speak of. After a wellness hit, you may, in fact, feel energized and that nutrient dose could be satisfying a craving for a sweet, or deter you from a processed snack or sugary beverage you may have otherwise reached for.

Health experts warn that the amounts of vitamins and minerals in a wellness shot are typically 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 on their own have vitamins, minerals, fiber, and health-boosting phytochemicals, so don’t think your wellness shot should replace your salad greens and other healthy plant-based foods.

What Are Some of the Best Wellness Shot Brands Out There?

1. Vive Organic: Every Vive shot is a fresh and concentrated blend of plants, herbs and natural nutrients to give you an immunity boost, cellular restoration, natural energy or even a mood uptick. They offer all organic ingredients and no additives. With a wide range of flavors, they are each delicious, with a perfect amount of zing.

Find in stores or online:

Price: $46.99 for a case of 12 online. (Retail price varies)

2. GT’s Kefir Probiotic Shots: GT offers its own take on a wellness shot packed with probiotics. Crafted with raw young coconuts and premium raw veggies, they promise a daily dose of powerful probiotics for an added boost of digestive and immune system support. There are six creative flavors to choose from.

Price: Varies depending on retailer ($2.99 - $4.99)

3. KOR Shots: Organic and raw nutrient-filled shots come direct from sunny Malibu, California. They are cold-pressed in small artisanal batches and each shot is made from locally sourced produce handpicked from small farms in Malibu and Hawaii. With a wide range of flavors, you won’t regret downing one of these on the regular.

Find in stores or online:

Price: $45 for a case of 12 online. (Retail price varies.)

4. Suja Functional Shots: From the popular San Diego-based cold-pressed juice brand comes wellness shots in a variety of flavors. Their plant-powered beverages are organic, never GMO and always free of preservatives, fillers and chemicals.

Find in stores or online:

Price: $69 for a case of 20 online. (Retail price varies.)

The Final Verdict?

Whether or not to spend your hard-earned cash on wellness shots (it can add up day after day) is a personal choice. Many people swear by these tonics; they say their shots have warded off colds, given them more energy, helped them sleep better, and even improve their skin. Everyone 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!

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