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Let’s Do Shots

Is tipping back a hit of juice better for your body than a blended cold-pressed beverage?

Stop by any horticultural hotspot (our vernacular for Juice Bar) and you’ll see as much swilling from diminutive plastic cups as you will from the standard size. Shots of juice, often called boosters or wellness shots, are always on the menu — at juice trucks that shill on the sidewalk in NY, hip setups from Santa Monica to West Hollywood in LA, and even at mainstream Jamba Juices, where the masses go for Big-Gulp-size smoothies. So we’re wondering, what’s in it for us when we abbreviate a cold-pressed beverage down to its essence? And is a pure, concentrated shot better than a blended juice?

In a word, sometimes. A shot acts like a medicinal tonic — a potent dose of nutrients in a tiny cup. “Straight shots are great because they're a pure and direct delivery of the benefits of the food without the added sugars that can be found in blended juices,” says Dr. Frank Lipman, Integrative & Functional Medicine Physician and founder of Eleven Eleven Wellness Center in Manhattan. “When a juice is blended, it’s usually designed to be more palatable by adding in high quantities of sweet juice and that can become a problem because people end up really loading up on concentrated sugars, which can lead to weight gain.” This is an issue particularly if you tend to add blended juice drinks to your regular diet, increasing caloric load. Not so with a shot. And while shots may not always be as tasty going down, the benefits are certainly sweet. Here, a few of the heavy hitters:

acai
1

Açaí

A well-established beauty elixir and superfood, acai is arguably one of our best Brazilian imports (no offense Supermodels). Consistent hits of the dark purple juice can improve your skin, hair, and nails thanks to the protein, antioxidants, polyphenols, and essential fatty acids (omegas 3, 6, and 9) it packs. It’s more tart than blueberry juice but not as pucker-worthy as pomegranate.

ginger
2

Ginger

The great stomach settler, this spicy tonic acts as a digestive and alleviates bloating and gas as it calms. It’s also known for upping immunity and fending off the common cold. It’s not for the faint of heart, though. Ginger’s got quite the kick when undiluted. Sip it at the first signs of distress, gastrointestinal or respiratory.

beet
3

Beetroot

A hit provides a rich dose of antioxidants and nutrients—Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C, and folic acid to name a few. Studies show ingesting beetroot provides a kick too—a surge of energy at the end of a workout, due to the natural nitrates it contains. And the effects may be cumulative, so shoot it for stamina. But keep it to a shot a day, since beets are higher in sugar than the others listed here, notes Lipman.

wheat grass shot
4

Wheat Grass

Pressed from those ubiquitous little patches of grass found on juice bar counters, this alkalizing tonic contains chlorophyll, amino acids, endless vitamins (from A to B-Complex to K) plus minerals. But it’s the chlorophyll that’s said to have a deep cleansing effect because it’s similar in makeup to the hemoglobin in blood. Tipping it back may increase energy, boost immunity, and curb your cravings.

bee pollen
5

Bee pollen

Beauty-wise it’s said to improve skin’s glow and elasticity, and as far as nutrition goes bee pollen earns superfood cred. It’s high in calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron, and Vitamin B, plus protein, which may be why it’s said to help regulate appetite. It can be turned into a shoot-able booster by adding it to some form of liquid like coconut water.