Ginger ale is usually regarded as a drink to cure nausea, but in reality, the advantages of drinking a refreshing glass of ginger ale are much more than that. Not only is it yummy and refreshing, can be a good mixer in cocktails, but has other kinds of health benefits, including improving blood circulation and reducing muscle pain! If you have been sipping on this delicious drink without knowing what a magical elixir it is for your health, you’re in for a treat. Here are the health benefits of ginger ale you must know.
What is ginger ale?
Ginger ale is made by mixing carbonated water, sugar, and ginger flavouring. The key ingredient is ginger, which gives the beverage its distinctive taste. Health Shots got in touch with Garima Goyal, dietitian, to understand the various varieties of ginger ale.
“There are several types of ginger ale available, and they can vary in terms of sweetness, spiciness, and ingredients,” she says. Some common variations include the classic version, moderately sweet with a balanced ginger flavour, Dry Ginger Ale is less sweet compared to regular ginger ale, with a crisper, dryer taste. Golden ginger ale is a type that may have a deeper, more intense ginger flavour and sometimes a darker colour. Besides these, there is spicy ginger ale and a diet or sugar-free ginger ale as well.
What are the benefits of ginger ale?
While ginger ale is primarily a beverage enjoyed for its refreshing taste, it can offer some potential health benefits, particularly when made with real ginger.
1. Helps in digestion
Ginger has long been used to alleviate digestive issues like nausea, indigestion, and bloating. Ginger ale made with real ginger may provide mild relief. This study, published in Food Science and Nutrition, points to the fact that ginger can be termed as a gastroprotective agent and has many digestive benefits.
2. Reduces nausea
Ginger is known for its anti-nausea properties, making ginger ale a potential remedy for motion sickness, or general queasiness. The study mentioned above also states that ginger can help alleviate morning sickness in pregnant women as well.
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3. Contains anti-inflammatory properties
A study published in the International Journal of Preventive Medicine, states that it is anti-inflammatory in nature and can reduce muscle pain as well. Ginger has been suggested to help alleviate menstrual pain and discomfort for some women. Additionally, the anti-inflammatory effects of ginger may offer relief to individuals with arthritis by reducing pain and improving joint function.
4. Improves blood circulation
Ginger helps improve blood circulation, potentially benefiting heart health. This study published in Current Molecular Pharmacology, states the cardioprotective properties of ginger. It is also helpful in lowering blood sugar.
5. Supports your respiratory system
Ginger is known to have warming properties. This often helps resolve issues such as congestion and cough.
6. Rich in antioxidants
Ginger is rich in antioxidants. This helps combat oxidative stress and protect the body’s cells from damage.
7. Cancer Prevention
A published in , states that, Ginger and its active components including 6-gingerol and 6-shogaol exert anticancer activities against GI cancer, found a study published in Gastroenterology research and Practice. Ginger’s immune-boosting properties may help the body defend against infections and illnesses.
What are the side effects of ginger ale?
Excessive intake or sensitivity to ginger may lead to some side effects. “Ginger may relax the lower esophageal sphincter, leading to increased acid reflux in some individuals,” says Goyal.
While rare, some individuals may be allergic to ginger, leading to allergic reactions like rash, itching, or breathing difficulties. Ginger’s potential blood-thinning effects may increase the risk of bleeding, especially for individuals with bleeding disorders. “Ginger may lower blood sugar levels and monitoring blood sugar levels is advisable especially in a diabetes patient. Excessive consumption of ginger can have a laxative effect and may lead to diarrhea in some individuals,” explains Goyal.
Pregnant women should exercise caution, as large amounts of ginger may be associated with an increased risk of miscarriage. “Discontinue ginger consumption at least two weeks before a scheduled surgery, due to its blood thinning properties. Some people may experience irritation in the gastrointestinal tract, especially if they have a sensitive stomach,” she says.
How to make ginger ale at home?
- 1 cup fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice
- 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast (optional, for natural carbonation)
- 8 cups carbonated water (club soda)
1. Prepare the ginger syrup
In a saucepan, combine the grated ginger, sugar, and water. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Let it simmer for 5-10 minutes to infuse the ginger flavour. Remove from heat and let it cool.
2. Strain the ginger syrup
Strain the ginger syrup through a fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth into a bowl, discarding the grated ginger solids.
3. Add citrus juice
Stir in the freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice into the ginger syrup.
4. Optional natural carbonation
If you want natural carbonation, dissolve the active dry yeast in a small amount of warm water and add it to the ginger syrup. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes.
5. Mix with carbonated water
In a large pitcher, combine the ginger syrup (with or without yeast) with the carbonated water and stir gently until it mixes well.
6. Chill and serve
Refrigerate the homemade ginger ale for a few hours to chill. Serve over ice and garnish with lemon or lime slices if desired.