This is my go-to immunity booster shot recipe. There isn't a single food that will "boost" your immune system, but the ingredients in this recipe have been proven to support immune health!
Fresh ginger, turmeric, black pepper, lemon juice, honey, cinnamon, and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Can't you just feel your immune cells thanking you already?
When to make an Immune Booster Shot
Make this to keep your immune system in tip-top shape during flu season, if you're fighting off an illness, or the week of an important event when you can't afford to get sick.
I hope you enjoy and stay well!
Why You'll Love This Recipe
DIETITIAN RECOMMENDED - this immunity booster shot is jam-packed with ingredients I encourage you to include in an overall healthy eating pattern to support your immune health. As a bonus, many of the ingredients in this drink also help with digestive health. Did you know that 70% of your immune system is in your gut?
EASY - the ingredients list on this one is straightforward and all you do is mix them in a glass! Make a double batch for additional doses.
TASTES GREAT - the best part about this immunity booster is that even though it might not LOOK like it tastes great, it really does! It's a little bit sweet, a little bit spicy, and the perfect amount of zesty.
INEXPENSIVE - wellness shots at a juice bar or prepackaged at the grocery store tend to be quite pricy. Save your money! It's so much cheaper to make an immune booster shot like this at home. You probably have a lot of the ingredients in your kitchen already!
I will share the recipe first, and then give you the low-down on the ingredients and how they support your immune system.
Let's get into it!
Ingredients in Immunity Booster Shot
*Be sure to check the recipe card at the bottom for exact ingredient measurements and full recipe.
Raw, local honey: using local honey is best for immunity against allergens in your area, but any honey will do!
Warm water: (to dissolve honey)
Fresh lemon juice: I recommend using fresh lemon here. The bottled lemon juice doesn't taste as good. Lemon provides a nice dose of ascorbic acid.
Orange juice or juice of half a fresh orange: for a little sweetness and Vitamin C.
Raw, unfiltered "from the mother" Apple Cider Vinegar: be sure to get "from the mother" because that's where the beneficial bacteria are.
Ginger Root (or ¼ teaspoon ground ginger): I finely chop my ginger because I don't mind chewing it, but you can grate it or even use ground ginger. 🙂 Ginger is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory ingredient.
Ground turmeric: one of the Top 10 Benefits of Turmeric is that it is antimicrobial. This makes it a great addition to immune system boosters like this recipe!
Black pepper: piperine in black pepper helps your body absorb turmeric.
Cinnamon: for a bit of sweetness!
Cayenne Pepper: for a bit of spice!
Fresh Garlic Clove: if you want to kick it up a notch.
Fresh Lime Juice: if you love citrus and the lemon and orange just aren't enough, add some fresh lime juice to the mix!
Directions for Immunity Booster Shot
Step 1: In a small glass, mix the honey and warm water until the honey is dissolved.
Step 2: Add the lemon juice, orange juice, apple cider vinegar, turmeric, black pepper, cinnamon, cayenne and freshly grated ginger (+ optional garlic and lime juice if using). Whisk the ingredients together and drink immediately for best results.
Hint: you can also drink this like a hot tea by adding warm water.
Expert Tips for Immunity Booster Shot
- Be sure that the Apple Cider Vinegar you use says "from the mother"
- If you want to lower the sugar content, take out the orange juice.
- The ginger and spices will sink to the bottom of the glass. This is normal. Re-distribute by stirring it!
Variations and Substitutions
Vegetable juices - if you have some veggie juice lying around, feel free to add a splash to this immune shot.
Sweeter - do you like your juice shots a little sweeter? Add a splash of organic pineapple juice or the juice of other fresh fruits like mango or pomegranate.
Fridge: I recommend drinking it right away, but you can keep this immune booster shot in the fridge for 1-3 days.
It is normal for the spices and ginger to sink to the bottom. If this happens, simply stir before drinking!
Immunity Booster Shot Nutrition
Let’s break down the ingredients in this immunity booster shot and how they help support your immune system. As always, I'm giving you the breakdown based on science, research, and my experience as a dietitian.
Honey has a multitude of health benefits. For the purpose of this article and this immunity booster shot recipe, let’s focus on its effect on the immune system.
Honey has been shown to have antibacterial activity on many bacterial pathogens and fungi. So it may just help you fight off common bacteria. In addition, honey is high in antioxidants. Antioxidants have been shown to increase certain immune responses. You can see why people add honey to tea or immunity booster shots like this one!
Citrus fruits like oranges and lemons are loaded with Vitamin C. Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that your body can’t make on its own. This means that you have to get it from your diet.
Vitamin C supports the cell function of both parts of your immune system, the innate and adaptive parts. Vitamin C is a micronutrient that is important in helping your immune system function to its full potential! Plus, it is an antioxidant which means it also helps to fight off free radicals in the body.
One note on Vitamin C: According to the Mayo Clinic, the daily recommendation for Vitamin C is 75 mg per day for women and 95 mg per day for men. It’s easy to meet these needs from eating foods high in Vitamin C, so you likely don’t need a supplement. And while Vitamin C isn’t necessarily the key to preventing or treating a cold or COVID, it’s important to make sure you are getting enough because deficiencies can decrease your immunity.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is made from crushed apples when the sugar is fermented. Let’s address the elephant in the room first. Is ACV really a probiotic? Technically, no. However, since it is made from fermented apples, it is considered a probiotic food since probiotic foods are food items that have been fermented. Essentially, this means that while ACV may have probiotic benefits, it should be part of a diet high in other foods containing probiotics, which are important for a healthy gut microbiome.
The main compound in ginger that has medicinal properties is called gingerol. Gingerol is a phenolic compound in the oil of ginger that gives it a distinct flavor. According to the Textbook of Natural Medicine, gingerol has both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that contribute to an immunity booster shot. Both are hugely important to maintaining a healthy immune system.
Interestingly, ginger also has antimicrobial properties which is another reason I love adding it to immune boosters. In a world where more people are becoming antibiotic resistance, ginger and garlic have been studied as there is an increased interest in the natural antimicrobial properties of both. More studies are needed, but there is proof that both ginger and garlic may be protective against certain bacteria and fungi. Food is so cool, right?
Turmeric is that orange powder you see in many curries and soups. You might have even given turmeric tea or golden milk a try! It is a close relative of ginger and has been used for hundreds of years in both recipes and for medicinal purposes in some countries.
The active ingredient in turmeric is a polyphenol called curcumin. Curcumin has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. This is what makes it an important ingredient in an immunity booster shot.
Want to know a trick to really get the bang for your buck when it comes to the anti-inflammatory and immune boosting benefits of turmeric? Combine it with black pepper!
There is a substance in black pepper, piperine, which can help your body’s absorption of turmeric. In fact, when combined with turmeric, piperine has been shown to increase bioavailability by 2000%.
Garlic (optional for immunity booster shot)
Garlic contains a compound called allium sativum. When garlic is crushed, sliced, or chewed, the allium turns to an active compound called allicin which has been shown to enhance the functioning of the immune system. Allicin activates some of your immune cells including macrophages and lymphocytes.
Immunity Shots final thoughts
While no single food or recipe will give you superhuman immunity, eating a well-balanced diet high in nutrient-rich foods and low in pro-inflammatory foods like the ultra-processed stuff can help support your body. It's also important to get enough sleep, stay hydrated, manage stress, and move your body.
A final word: while these ingredients support immune health, always talk with a doctor or dietitian about your health goals, and make sure you do your research to decide what is best for you. Additionally, these recommendations are for foods, not supplements. Often, supplements aren’t necessary since you can get your dose of these immune-boosting ingredients by adding foods containing them to your daily diet.
Looking for other nourishing recipes? Try these!
LOOKING FOR NUTRITION EDUCATION?
Here are some of my educational posts you may enjoy!
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do! I would love to hear from you! If you made this recipe, please leave me a review below or tag me in a photo or story on Instagram....I LOVE knowing there’s people out there trying out my recipes! 🙂 IG: @mallorythedietitian.
Immunity Booster Shot Recipe with Ginger and Turmeric
- 1 teaspoon honey (raw, local)
- 1 tablespoon warm water (to dissolve honey)
- Juice of ½ a lemon
- 2 tablespoon orange juice (or juice of freshly squeezed orange)
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (raw, "from the mother")
- 1 teaspoon ginger root (grated or finely chopped)
- ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
- dash black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- dash cayenne pepper
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- Juice of ½ a lime
- In a small glass, mix the honey and warm water until the honey is dissolved.
- Add the lemon juice, orange juice, apple cider vinegar, ginger, turmeric, black pepper, cinnamon, cayenne (+ optional garlic and lime juice if using). Whisk the ingredients together and drink immediately for best results.
- Hint: you can also drink this like a hot tea by adding warm water.
References: Mayo Clinic, Hopkins Medicine, Healthline, Journal of Immunology Research, Nutrients, Mind Body Green, Synthetic and Systems Biotechnology Journal, Textbook of Natural Medicine, Pharmacognosy Research, Journal of Dairy Science