Experts agree that there’s great value in starting the day off right. Yes, “right” looks different for everyone, but it’s the habits that form our routines–from exercising to simply making the bed–which can make or break the day ahead.
As well as sleep quality, our diets have a huge impact on how we feel during the day. Fluctuating blood sugar levels can impact our mood, so a well-balanced breakfast (or fasting, if that works better for you) is key, but there are additional nutrition-boosters that can help create a healthy mindset before you embark upon the daily grind.
For me, that’s a wellness “shot.” I wrote about my newfound ritual of taking an apple cider vinegar shot each morning earlier in the year. A nutritionist hack to help balance blood sugar levels and offset the sugar spike caused by carbohydrate-rich meals, taking a couple of teaspoons in a novelty shot glass (it’s just not the same in anything else) before I start my day has helped stave off hunger in between meals.
There are other brilliant shots to try, too. I’m not talking about those you can buy, premade, in your local grocery store chain–always check the label, and a lot of these contain added sugars and don’t offer many health benefits. Homemade blends are much better, and while they won’t overhaul your health, they are a nice ritual.
Here are three expert-approved shots worth taking now.
3 wellness shot recipes to try now
Coffee lover? Why not try a shot of matcha, instead? “I’m a big matcha advocate as it contains L-theanine as well as caffeine,” says nutritionist Eve Kalinik. “L-theanine helps to blunt the effects of caffeine, which can help with maintaining calm and focus, plus it doesn’t give the same jittery feeling that some people get with coffee.” It’s also high in a catechin antioxidant called EGCG, which offers anti-inflammatory benefits and may support cognitive health.
To reap the many nutritional benefits of the green stuff, it’s essential to buy a “ceremonial” matcha, which is of higher quality than the cooking-grade stuff that’s best used in recipes. “My go-to is by Lalani & Co, and I also enjoy Ancient & Brave’s collagen and lion’s mane blend, for extra cognitive benefits.”
Ginger & lemon
As well as being anti-inflammatory, ginger and lemon can help promote good digestive health, boost hydration, prevent feelings of nausea and bolster immunity thanks to potent antioxidant properties. The duo is also said to help reduce the risk of cardiovascular and liver diseases, and while you can steep them together to make an infusion, they make a brilliant, fiery shot, which quickly energizes mind and body.
“I blend a big chunk of fresh ginger with some fresh lemon juice and a little water (just enough so that it blends up) and then I put it in the fridge–it lasts a few days,” says Rhian Stephenson, nutritionist, naturopath and founder of Artah. “In the morning, I do a shot of it with cayenne pepper, which is super stimulating. It’s particularly brilliant in the winter.”
Apple cider vinegar
One of the hottest ingredients of the year, apple cider vinegar is fantastic for your digestion, blood sugar management, and bloating, plus it has antimicrobial properties. ACV containing the “mother” is also said to have probiotic power, meaning a shot of it in the morning can benefit gut health. All you have to do is mix one to two tablespoons with a little water. Always make sure to follow your shot with more water to prevent tooth enamel erosion. I love Bragg’s, which has all sorts of blends, for added anti-inflammatory benefits.
This article was originally published on Vogue.com.