Ginger ale is a sweetened carbonated drink made from ginger. Traditionally, ginger ale was prepared from fresh ginger, boiled and cooled water, whey, and cane sugar left to ferment for about a week or two. Ginger ale thus prepared had probiotic properties that were supposed to be healthy for the gut microbiome and immunity.
Modern ginger ale is often made from store-bought ginger syrup, sugar, soda, and water and may not be as healthy as the miracle cure-it-all that your granny prepared and dispensed.
- Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a plant that is native to Asia. The ginger spice comes from the roots or rhizomes of the plant.
- Ginger is known to have healing, repairing, and restorative properties. Most of its benefits come from its essential oil contents—α-zingiberene (23.9 percent) and citral (21.7 percent).
- Most benefits of ginger ale are attributed to its phenolic compounds such as gingerols.
10 uses of ginger ale
Here are ten uses of ginger ale:
- Gastroenteritis (stomach flu): Traditionally made ginger ale contains a significant portion of ginger known for its antiemetic properties. Thus, it helps relieve cramps and nausea associated with gastroenteritis.
- Hydration: Because ginger alleviates nausea and cramps, ginger ale is often used to rehydrate a person recovering from the loss of body fluids due to sweating, vomiting, fever, and diarrhea.
- Hangover: For obvious reasons, ginger ale can help a person recover from a night of too much partying and booze.
- Diabetic gastropathy: Gingerol, a natural component of ginger root, benefits gastrointestinal motility (the rate at which food exits the stomach and continues along the digestive tract). Eating ginger encourages efficient digestion, so food doesn’t linger as long in the gut.
- Nausea and vomiting due to pregnancy: The American Academy of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends ginger as an acceptable nonpharmaceutical remedy for nausea and vomiting.
- Chemotherapy: Many experts believe that drinking ginger ale may take the edge off post-treatment nausea and without some of the side effects of anti-nausea medications.
- Menstrual cramps: High antioxidant levels in freshly made ginger ale, as well as the anti-spasmodic properties derived from its essential oils, may provide some relief against menstrual cramps.
- Sore throat: Studies report that certain compounds in ginger have anti-inflammatory properties. Thus, freshly made ginger ale may help soothe a sore throat.
- Migraine: Many people who have frequent migraines swear that drinking ginger ale makes their pain bearable.
- Bloating and gas: Essential oils present in ginger help sustain the intestinal flora and help cut down frequent bloating and flatulence.
2 types of ginger ale
There are two general types of ginger ale, which include:
- Pale dry ginger ale is less sweet, more acidic, lighter, milder, and highly carbonated.
- Golden, or aromatic, ginger ale is sweeter, less acidic, darker, and generally more pungent.
5 possible side effects of ginger ale
Five possible side effects of ginger ale include:
- Although originally carbonated by fermentation, modern ginger ales are artificially saturated with carbon dioxide gas. This may worsen the acid reflux and bloating.
- Ginger ale may not contain natural ginger. It could be an artificial flavoring and sugar. Artificial coloring agents offer no health benefits.
- Too much ginger may irritate the gut and stomach lining, causing increased acid secretion and inflammation of the stomach lining (gastritis).
- The high sugar content of these drinks may cause weight gain, and insulin resistance, and predispose you to diabetes mellitus.
- Higher doses of ginger may predispose people who are already on blood thinners to an increased risk of bleeding.
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