This awesome post was written by Alina Islam, a wonderful Certified Nutritional Practitioner from Toronto, Canada. She is a writer, speaker and nutritional consultant. You can read more of her work at AlinaIslam.com or follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
It seems every health food store, juice bar or hipster café I venture into these days carries a line of ‘health’ or ‘immunity’ shots, and I’m glad to see that this trend is catching on! In case you haven’t seen them, the basic idea goes something like this: based on a specific function (e.g. liver health) a health shot or elixir is created using healing foods, herbs, and spices and sold in a small bottle. For example, I recently had a liver shot that consisted of lemon, cayenne, ginger, milk thistle, flax, turmeric, apple cider vinegar, orange and flax oil. It tasted and felt amazing.
I swore to recreate the mixture at home, until I realized I didn’t have milk thistle in my kitchen. I also didn’t have a juicer, so how would I juice the ginger? Or squeeze in some fresh orange juice? It felt like a lot of work, and I quickly reconciled to just spending the five dollars and buying it instead.
While making these shots at home is a fantastic idea, for most of us living a time and budget-strapped life, this is unlikely to turn into an everyday habit…and we all know that lasting health rests on the foundation of making lasting habits. That being said, I’m a big proponent of consuming simple, cost and time effective, easy-to-commit to ‘health shots’ that only require 1-ingredient, but still pack a big punch.
As a Holistic Nutritionist, these are the top 3 health shots I turn to in my kitchen.
Top 3 Health Shots
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Apple Cider Vinegar
Blood Sugar Balance + Weight Loss
Apple cider vinegar has been well documented across multiple studies for being able to assist diabetics by helping balance blood sugar levels. This is because apple cider vinegar can block the digestion of starch (not all, but some) in a meal, which leads to a much smaller rise in blood sugar levels. And as we all know, balanced blood sugar is the key to managing cravings, increasing insulin sensitivity, and thereby improving any weight loss efforts.
How to take it: 1-2 Tbsp. in ¼ cup water (or as much as you’d like) in the morning, at bedtime or before a large (starch-heavy) meal
Energy + Anti-Aging
While the best way to consume this is the fresh juice itself, luckily we can also get it in powder form at most (if not all) health food stores. The reason to love wheatgrass is simply because it’s one of the most nutrient dense leafy greens out there: high in vitamins, minerals, protein, chlorophyll and phytonutrients, it does everything from boosting our energy levels, immune function, skin health and assists with blood building and detoxification.
How to take it: Take one serving of the powder (noted on product label) with water or add to a smoothie. This is best taken on an empty stomach.
Strong Digestion + Skin Health
Lemon water is a ritual that I ask all my clients to start doing first thing in the morning, because the benefits are very quick to see. When drinking it on an empty stomach, it helps stimulate the secretion of bile (our body’s natural laxative), which helps us go to the bathroom first thing in the morning. It also supports the liver (the detox powerhouse in the body), thereby promoting clear skin. You might also notice yourself going to the bathroom a little more often, since it’s a mil diuretic. On the upside, it helps reduce any bloating and water retention.
Lastly, it’s a fantastic source of Vitamin C, which produces collagen to build our skin, hair and nails, nourishes our adrenal glands in times of stress (um, always), aids in iron absorption for energy, and boosts immune function.
How to take it: Squeeze ¼ – ½ lemon into a cup of hot water and drink on an empty stomach in the morning to get the most benefits. Since lemon water can be harmful to enamel on the teeth, be sure to rinse your mouth afterwards (or drink it before brushing your teeth!)
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