A healthy image – what is it?
Winter is just around the corner, the corona pandemic still has us firmly in its grip. Many people now want to arm themselves against infections. Ginger is considered to strengthen the immune system, so the selection of ginger shots is correspondingly large – small bottles of juice mixes containing ginger. Some of them are advertised with promising slogans such as “immune power for your day” or “support your immune system”. What is this? What makes these trendy drinks special? Do small shots make a big impact?
Ginger shots in the test: prices around 6-80 euros per liter
We tested 19 ginger shots for the pungent properties of ginger and vitamin C content. We tasted them too. Tested: Shots from retail brands like Lidl and Rewe, pharmacies like Rossmann and dm, classic juice purveyors like Voelkel and Rabenhorst, and startups like Kraftling and Kloster Kitchen. The price range is huge: a liter ranges from 5.60 to 78.50 euros.
From distinctly spicy to fairly mild
In addition to the essential oil, ginger contains various pungent substances, such as gingerols and shogaols, which are responsible for the typically hot taste. Our analysis showed that the sharp content of the frames differed significantly. The following tends to apply: the spicier the ingredients, the more intense the ginger flavor and the hotter the drink. Shots with a low spicy content taste rather bland. And: The high spiciness indicates that not only was a relatively large amount of ginger used in the shots, but also fresh ginger. Because ginger loses its pungency during storage and processing. The way the shots are made also affects the level of sharps.
Lots of ginger doesn’t mean lots of spiciness
The sharp content is not mentioned on the products. Labels only indicate the amount of ginger in the drink. Test bites consist of about 10 to 34 percent ginger juice or pieces, with the rest mostly fruit juice. But our analysis results show that a lot of ginger does not produce a lot of pungent substances by itself.
- According to the ingredient list, the Bangs shot has the highest ginger content in the test, but its pungent content is only in the middle. It doesn’t taste spicy either. According to the provider’s website, the wound is pasteurized. This heating to preserve the shot may account for the relatively low sharp content. With a price of 29.80 euros per liter, it is one of the most expensive in the test.
- Rewe ginger shot contains the spiciest ingredients. It also has the most intense ginger flavor. This shot was not heated. A liter costs around 16 euros.
- Shots with less ginger also contain relatively few pungent substances.
Ready-made ginger shots, which are cold-pressed and unheated, usually contain a lot of spice, have a fresh ginger note and taste distinctly hot – like a shot rewe 15.90 a liter. It also brings a lot of added vitamin C. Organic ginger shot Always organic 5.60 euros per liter. It convinces with its taste and gives several shots in one large bottle. If you drink ginger shakes often, it’s best to make your own (check out our ginger and turmeric shake recipe). This saves money and waste. Fresh ginger also provides most of the ingredients.
Homemade ginger shots add spiciness
In the laboratory, we compared the bitter content of the finished shot with four fresh, homemade shots. Each fresh bite contained 20 percent ginger. We used tubers from different countries. The result: only three cold-pressed shots from Rewe, Kraftling and Kale and Me contain as many hot ingredients as homemade. On average, however, homemade shots contain nearly a third more pungent substances than six unheated ready-made shots – and even twice as much as the other heated shots in the test, according to our analysis.
Fresh ginger tea is less spicy than shots
In addition, we also brewed fresh ginger tea. In terms of spicy content, it is significantly inferior to the shots, because we only sliced the ginger for tea, as is customary. This means that fewer ingredients are used for the infusion than finely chopped ginger as in shots.
Test results for 19 ginger shots 12/2021
Unclear: How healthy are ginger snaps
And how healthy is it now? Ginger shakes are food, not medicine. We have no studies on the health effects of injections. Ginger root itself is also used medicinally. As a medicinal agent, there is evidence that ginger relieves symptoms of motion sickness and mild gastrointestinal distress (What Ginger Does for Health). But: “The fact that ginger protects against or even prevents colds has not yet been investigated in any human study,” says Matthias Melzig, professor of pharmaceutical biology at Freie Universität Berlin.
Evidence for the effectiveness of ginger in laboratory studies
After all, laboratory studies show that ginger has antiviral, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. “In summary, the available data show that the immune system can be positively influenced,” says Melzig. Especially pungent substances are anti-inflammatory, while the essential oil of fresh ginger is responsible for the antiviral effect. Therefore, Melzig recommends giving preference to fresh ginger preparations over ready-made products. In shots heated during production, less volatile essential oil is expected. This also applies to sharps, as our test shows.
Tip: Ginger shots are quick and easy to make yourself. Try our recipe for Ginger Turmeric Shot.
Vitamin C in Ginger Snaps: Effects on the Immune System
Vitamin C has been scientifically proven to support the immune system. Some frames bring a lot of it, as our analyzes show. In the test, three products are advertised with the health claim “Vitamin C contributes to the normal functioning of the immune system” – which is allowed. This includes Kale and Me. This is misleading: Vitamin C was not detectable in this image. True Fruits, on the other hand, offers too much of a good thing: in a 60 milliliter serving, adults consume more vitamin C than they need on a daily basis.
Ginger brings little vitamin C
The vitamin C in shots comes either from ingredients such as acerola, camu camu (berry) and sea buckthorn, or from the antioxidant ascorbic acid. Ginger itself does not provide much vitamin C: 100 grams provides only 5 milligrams. For comparison, oranges contain 45 milligrams of vitamin C per 100 grams. Seven shots in the test contained no vitamin C.
Tip: No one needs to buy expensive ginger shots for vitamin C. For example, one red pepper a day is enough to cover the daily requirement. Most people are well supplied with the vitamin. The body does not store it. It excretes excess vitamin C.
Some shots contain more sugar than cola
Test’s ginger shots are mostly based on apple juice, two on orange juice. This is important for taste, pure ginger juice is very hot. Therefore, it is not usually recommended for pure consumption. Fruit juice brings with it the fruit’s own sugar. Depending on the composition, the sugar content of the shot may be higher than that of cola. True Fruits and Kloster Kitchen have the sweetest bites by far – Kloster Kitchen’s main ingredient is water. Both add agave syrup to their shot.
Tip: Want a change? In our smoothie test, six products were convincing – three from fruit and three from fruit and vegetables. However, ready-made smoothies contain more sugar on average than ready-made ginger shots.
Small bottles create a lot of waste
A typical shot is 60 milliliters. Eight products are also bottled in such a portion, the Kloster Kitchen shot contains only 30 milliliters. Immer Bio offers the largest bottle with 500 milliliters. Whether plastic, glass or can – all packaging is disposable with no deposit. Small non-returnable glass bottles have a particularly bad ecological balance, as their production and transport require a lot of energy.
Tip: You can find out which packaging and how well it can be recycled in our special How sustainable is packaging?