What is Ginger Ale
Ginger ale is a popular carbonated beverage made by flavoring soft drink with ginger. The main ingredients of ginger ale drink are farm fresh ginger and ginger bug.
These ingredients help in the natural fermentation, and if left untreated for a long time at room temperature then fermentation can also lead to the formation of alcohol.
To tackle this problem, the short brewing period is used for the creation of this fizzy drink.
To create ginger ale fermented ginger is used which makes it fizzy and also adds numerous medicinal properties for which it is known for centuries.By Hisakazu Watanabe – Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2216580
Nutrition Facts of Ginger Ale
It is quite common to think that ginger ale is nothing but just another carbonated beverage with loads of sugar. However, ginger ale does have some healthy compounds such as calcium, iron, copper, and magnesium, etc.
In its natural form, ginger ale is very low in sugar but it is common for the manufacturers to add sugar to this drink to make it a pleasant drink.
It doesn’t have any fat or cholesterol from which we all are so worried.
It also lacks fiber and protein though.
Benefits of ginger ale can be best enjoyed when you brew it at home ( later in this article, we will cover the brewing method). Ginger ale available in the market especially the artificially flavored one is not what we are looking for. Those are high in sugar and artificial flavors and have almost nutritional value.
Health Benefits of Ginger Ale
There are several health benefits of ginger ale. These benefits are because of ginger, a natural herb with medicinal and culinary benefits.
Let’s take a look at some of the major benefits of ginger ale.
(1) Improves Cardiovascular Health
Ginger is very beneficial for our heart and improves our cardiovascular health. It is a wonderful anticoagulant that minimizes the formation of blood clots, which could otherwise increase the risk of heart stroke.
The anticoagulant nature of the ginger also aids in lowering the level of bad LDL cholesterol in our body.
Ginger produces warmth in the body which relaxes our blood vessels, improves blood flow and thus minimizes the risk of various cardiovascular problems such as heart attack, heart stroke and coronary artery disease.
(2) Provides Anti-Inflammatory Benefits
Ginger is anti-inflammatory in nature which means it is very effective for providing relief from the pain and inflammation caused by inflammatory diseases such as arthritis, rheumatism, and gouts, etc.
This anti-inflammatory benefits of ginger are mainly because of the presence of an active compound called “Gingerols” in it. It inhibits the production of prostaglandin which is responsible for causing inflammation in the body.
Ginger helps reducing the pain, swelling and the stiffness associated with the inflammation.
Being a natural compound, it is a healthier choice.
On the other hand, NSAID drugs ( used for the treatment of inflammatory diseases) such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and indomethacin, etc. can cause severe issues such as kidney damage, high blood pressure, and stomach ulcer.
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(3) Improves Digestive Health
Ginger is very beneficial for our digestive health. It stimulates the production of saliva, digestive juices, and bile juice and helps our body to digest food efficiently.
When our food is well digested, it minimizes the risk of gastrointestinal problems such as indigestion, abdominal pain, irritable bowel syndrome, gas and bloating, etc.
It also improves our metabolism which means it speeds up the rate at which food gets properly digested by our body.
In a study conducted on 24 healthy individuals, it was observed that just consuming 1.2 grams of dried ginger powder before the meal accelerated the speed of emptying of the stomach by 50 percent.
It is also effective against heartburn, the sharp burning sensation that occurs when the stomach acid moves upwards towards the esophagus.
Gingerol present in the ginger stimulates and as well as controls the production of stomach acid.
(4) Effective Against Nausea And Vomiting
Ginger is very effective for treating morning sickness during pregnancy, and also nausea caused due to chemotherapy.
If your stomach is upset, then it can take care of that too because of the natural compounds present in it.
This benefit of ginger ale is also due to the active compound called “Gingerol” in it.
(5) Good During Pregnancy
The ginger ale drinks that we get from the market are loaded with sugar which is a big no, especially during the pregnancy stage.
Consuming too much sugar during pregnancy can hurt the cognitive development of the baby and also increases the risk of gestational diabetes.
For this reason, doctors advise us to limit our ginger ale intake.
Also, some soft drink brands add caffeine to the ginger ale to make it an energy drink.
Pregnant women are advised to limit their caffeine intake, and for this reason, you should away from such ginger ale drinks.
However, if you are drinking home-brewed ginger ale and there is no conflicting ingredient such as sugar and caffeine involved, then drinking ginger ale during pregnancy is a great choice.
It helps with the morning sickness during pregnancy, and the other compounds such as magnesium, calcium, iron, and copper, etc. help in maintaining a healthy pregnancy.
During pregnancy, it is suggested to drink ginger ale ( home brewed) occasionally and after having a word with your doctor about the same.
(6) Good For Preventing And Treating Ovarian Cancer
Another advantage of ginger ale is its ability to prevent and treat ovarian cancers.
This benefit is because of the gingerols that aids in destroying the ovarian cancer cells.
The anti-cancer properties of the gingerol help with the apoptosis, which is also known as programmed cell death.
Gingerol modifies the DNA of the cancer cells and leads them to self-destruction.
By using the same technique, gingerol can also help in the treatment of colon cancer.
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(7) Protection From Free Radical Damage
Ginger ale is very beneficial for protecting our cells and tissues from the oxidative damage caused by the free radicals.
Free radicals are the unstabilized ions produced in our body during various metabolic reactions. As these are unstabilized, so they steal electrons from the neighboring molecules and while doing so, it causes oxidative damage to our cells and tissues.
This benefit of ginger ale is because of its antioxidantal properties. The antioxidants in the ginger ale combats with the free radicals stabilize them and thus prevents them from causing oxidative stress to our body.
Free radical damage is bad for our body and may increase the risk of central nervous system diseases like Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular problems, autoimmune and respiratory problems, age-related macular degeneration, increased risk of various cancers and premature aging.
(8) Increases Body’s Warmth
Ginger has a warm tendency which means it increases the heat and warmth in the body. Because of this property, it is very effective for protecting our body from cold.
The active compounds present in the ginger helps in dilating blood vessels, improves blood flow and thus supports other better biological functions.
It also helps in improving cardiovascular and circulatory health.
The warming nature of the ginger protects our body from hypothermia and also from other medical condition that may arise due to cold weather such as pneumonia, frostbite, etc.
(9) Effective Against Menstrual Problems
Regular intake of ginger ale is very beneficial for women experiencing menstrual problems. Because of its ability to dilate blood vessels and improves blood flow, it prevents the formation of blood clots during menstrual bleeding. The anti-inflammatory properties of ginger ale provide relief from period cramps.
However, it should be noted that ginger is known to stimulate menstruation flow. It is most suitable for women that experience irregular periods.
For a regular and heavy period, it is better to avoid it.
(10) Dissolves Kidney Stones
The kidney is a vital organ that acts as a natural filtration system and removes toxins, waste and excess water from our system. Additionally, it also maintains electrolyte balance in our body, maintains overall fluid balance and creates hormones that produce red blood cells, regulates blood pressure and promotes bone health.
Taking care of this vital organ is very important for healthy living.
Sometimes our kidneys develop kidney stones due to the excessive accumulation of calcium, oxalate and uric acid in our body.
It restricts the proper functionality of the kidneys.
Small kidney stones automatically pass out of the urine, but once they get bigger in size, it can cause pain, vomiting, nausea, recurring urinary tract infections and as well as damage to kidneys and ureter.
Consuming ginger ale on a regular and moderate basis is an effective natural remedy for dissolving kidney stones.
This benefit is mainly because of the rhizome of the ginger. It contains antioxidants, gingerols, shogaols, zingerones, and ketones derivates that aids in dissolving kidney stones.
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Side Effects Of Ginger Ale
Although ginger ale has a lot of benefits, there are also some side effects that you should keep an eye on.
(1) May Cause Gastrointestinal Problems
In general, ginger ale is good for our stomach and as well as for overall gastrointestinal health and provides relief from various gastrointestinal problems such as abdominal pain, stomach bloating, indigestion and flatulence, etc.
However, a large intake of ginger ale over a short period can give rise to gastrointestinal problems such as heartburn, diarrhea, mouth irritation and severe burping.
(2) Anticoagulant Risk
Ginger is a natural anticoagulant which means it helps in dissolving blood clots, and as well as slows down the formation of blood clots. This is useful for people with cardiovascular problems as the formation of blood clots in the arteries increases the risk of heart failure, and the anticoagulant nature of the ginger improves blood circulation.
However, there is a downside to this. The prolonged use of ginger ale may dilute your blood level to an extreme level so much so that the natural healing of the wounds also becomes a difficult task. It should be noted that blood clots are not a problem as they are formed to stop bleeding from the wounds. They turn into a problem only when they start forming inside of an artery or vein.
And, if you are about to go under the knife, then it is advisable to stop consuming ginger ( or any other anticoagulant) 3 weeks prior surgery ( and as well as 3 weeks post-surgery) for timely healing of the wounds.
Also, if you are already taking medications for preventing blood clots, then you should keep an eye on your ginger ale intake as the anticoagulant properties of it may worsen the situation.
(3) May Cause Allergic Reactions
All the glories and benefits of ginger ale go down the drain if you are allergic to them. Ginger ale may cause allergic reactions in some people and if you are one of them, you should avoid ginger ale at all cost.
Some of the common allergic reactions caused by the ginger ale are breathing difficulties, swollen tongue and lips, choked throat and itchy rashes in the body.
(4) May Cause Uterine Contractions
The main ingredient of the ginger ale is ginger, which is a natural herb that provides many benefits.
However, it is also famous for causing uterine contractions and for this reason, pregnant women are advised to be cautious of ginger consumption during the pregnancy stage.
In a small amount, ginger is good for treating nausea and vomiting during pregnancy, but in large doses, it can cause premature termination of the pregnancy.
It is advisable to consult with your doctor about the same.
(5) Worsen Gallbladder Issues
Ginger ale is known for improving digestive health as it improves the secretion of bile juice in our body. Bile juice plays an important role in digestion as it breaks down fats into fatty acids which are much easier to digest.
However, if you are suffering from gallbladder diseases, then excessive consumption of ginger ale can have an adverse effect on your health as ginger is known to worsen the gallbladder issues.
Gallstones, which are solid particles formed in the gallbladder by the solidification of the bile juice ( caused by the high cholesterol level or high bilirubin level) generally stay inside the gallbladder. However, when the bile juice is produced in excessive quantity ( because of ginger ale), then the risk of gallstones being stuck in the bile duct increases tremendously.
This is very dangerous as the gallstones stuck in the bile duct may block bile flow, and may cause severe pain and inflammation in the right upper abdominal quadrant, jaundice and nausea. Immediate surgery is needed to resolve the issue.
(6) Interaction With Anesthesia
Any surgery is incomplete without the use of anesthesia, and ginger ale is known to react with certain anesthetic agents.
For this reason and as well as because of their anticoagulant nature, it is advised to stop drinking ginger ale three weeks prior to surgery as otherwise it can lead to internal bleeding and slowed healing.
(7) May Cause Heart Palpitation
High doses of ginger in ginger ale cause heart palpitation. This happens to be one of the most dreaded side effects of ginger ale. Consumption of ginger in any form can trigger an arrhythmia if consumed in very high quantities.
One of the most dreaded side effects of ginger ale is the risk of causing heart palpitations when consumed in excessive quantity.
How To Make Ginger Ale At Home
Making ginger ale at home is very convenient and cost-effective. It is advisable to make ginger ale at home instead of consuming those available in the market because of a couple of reasons such as control over the quality and quantity of the ingredients, no excessive sugar, and no caffeine.
To make ginger ale at home, you will need the following ingredients
- Thinly Sliced fresh organic ginger- 1½ cup
- Lemon Juice- ½ cup
- Brown Sugar- ½ cup
- White Sugar-1 cup
- Club Soda- 1 Liter
Steps involved in the production of ginger ale are as follows:-
- For making ginger ale, take one cup of water and add sliced ginger, brown sugar, and white sugar to it, and then boil the mixture in a saucepan. Stir the solution frequently and ensures that both sugars get dissolves completely.
- Once the sugar is dissolved, lower the flame and keep cooking the mixture for a minimum of 15 minutes. In this step, the mixture will turn into a syrup.
- Strain the mixture, and let the mixture cool down at normal temperature. Let it cool naturally without the use of a fan or air conditioner.
- Add lemon juice to the solution and mix well.
- At the final step, add club soda to the mixture and stir well.
This way you can have 8 glasses of fresh ginger ale and that too without the risk of any kind of adulteration or unwanted substances like caffeine or preservatives.
Difference Between Ginger Ale And Ginger Beer
Ginger ale and ginger beer are both very refreshing beverages on their own. Both can be with other drinks to make mocktails or cocktails. They may share a common flavor, but they aren’t quite exactly the same.
Ginger ale has a lighter and a sweeter bounce to it while the ginger beer is more robust. Now, the question is, if they are both use ginger, fizzy water, and sugar, then what sets them apart?
Both ginger ale and ginger beer are refreshing beverages that use ginger as the main ingredient. These both drinks are widely combined with other drinks to make cocktails and mocktails.
They even have a similar flavor, but the noticeable difference is that the ginger ale has a lighter taste with little sweetness added to it, but the ginger beer is strong and vigorous.
Some other differences between ginger ale and ginger beer are as follows
- Ginger beer was initially made as an alcoholic beverage with the use of ingredients such as fermented ginger, water, and sugar. On the other hand, ginger ale is a non-alcoholic beverage.
- Ginger ale is basically a ginger-flavored sweetened soft drink, but on the other hand, ginger beer is strong, spicier and less carbonated than the ginger ale.
- The earliest mention of ginger beer is from 1809 in England, and at that time it was a farmhouse staple, an alcoholic beverage made from fermented ginger, honey and lemon juice. Later, nonalcoholic ginger beer became popular.
- Ginger ale first emerged in the mid 19th century in present-day Northern Ireland. Earlier it was known as the golden ginger ale because of its reddish color.
Frequently Asked Questions About Ginger Ale
Does Ginger Ale Contain Caffeine?
Unlike most of the carbonated soda drinks, ginger ale does not have caffeine. Most of them contain carbonated water, lemon or lime, and sugar.
According to the USDA that is the U.S. Department of Agriculture, ginger ales generally contain 29 grams of sugar and 133 calories per serving.
In general and in ideal condition ginger ale doesn’t have any caffeine added to it. It is basically a carbonated beverage with ginger as the main ingredient and lemon and sugar used as additional ingredients.
However, with that being said, you should always take a look at the ingredients mentioned on the ginger ale bottle.
Some companies do add caffeine to ginger ale and sell it as an energy drink.
Which Is Better, Ginger Ale or The Ginger Beer?
Well, it mainly depends on the purpose you would like to consume them. If you are behind the health benefits, then it is better to go with the ginger ale as most of the store-bought ginger beer doesn’t even use actual ginger these days.
They are made by using ginger flavoring. Additionally, to preserve the natural taste of the ginger ale, use of natural ginger is a must.
So, you are more likely to get the benefits from ginger with the ginger ale, and not from the ginger beer.
A better choice will be to make ginger ale at home. It will be completely natural and you will have complete control over the ingredients, and you will be able to make it as per your liking ( after some trial and errors).
Can Ginger Ale Make You High?
Ginger ale is a nonalcoholic beverage which means it can’t make intoxicated even in your dreams. However, there are a couple of side effects that may arise when the ginger ale is consumed in large quantity. By drinking too much ginger ale, you may feel bloated and as well as experience difficulty with the visuals. It can also lead to acidity and vomiting.
Does Ginger Ale Help In Weight Loss?
Ginger ale is not an ideal choice for weight loss. On the contrary, excessive intake of ginger ale ( in the hope of weight loss) may cause weight gain because of the preservatives and sugar added to it.
Why Do People Drink Ginger Ale When They Are Sick?
Because the active ingredients, mainly the gingerol is very beneficial for providing relief from nausea and vomiting experienced during the sickness. It also has many other health benefits as explained earlier in this article.
However, if you have chosen to drink ginger ale during sickness then it is advisable to make ginger ale at home.
The commercially produced ginger ale available in the market is not as effective as the homemade ginger ale because in market ginger ale, use of natural ginger is decreasing and artificial ginger flavoring is taking its place.
The information contained in the post is for general purpose only and shouldn’t be considered as medical advice or as an alternative to medical advice. Although I’ve tried my best to keep the information contained in this post as accurate and updated as possible, I make no guarantee of the accurateness of the same.
P.S- Consider sharing this post, if you find it useful and/or interesting.
Bharat Sharma is a Delhi-based writer who loves reading and writing research-based topics revolving around health, fitness, and nutrition. His love for writing started during his teenage and continues till date. After his graduation, he worked for GE Money, and IBM, but later found his true love i.e. blogging.