You might have heard ginger green tea hailed as a powerful health drink, capable of everything from facilitating weight loss to cleansing your body of toxins. But before you go jumping on the bandwagon of trying a green tea and ginger detox, you should take a moment to check the facts.
Yes, ginger green tea is a great source of antioxidants and may offer a few health perks, but there’s little evidence to support all the claims made about it. More importantly, you should not be counting on green tea and ginger to detox your body.
Benefits of Ginger Green Tea
Ginger and green tea are two natural products that are often highly regarded for their health benefits. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics notes that any type of tea has small amounts of the minerals potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, copper and zinc, as well as polyphenols, which act as antioxidants and help reduce the risk of certain diseases.
Green tea has more antioxidants than black tea, but much less caffeine, which is beneficial for those who are sensitive. According to the USDA, one cup of green tea has about 28.4 milligrams of caffeine, compared with the 47.4 milligrams found in black tea and the 95 milligrams in a cup of coffee.
As the National Institutes of Health explains, green tea is often touted for having such beneficial effects as improving mental alertness, addressing digestive symptoms, relieving headaches and promoting weight loss, but there's little scientific evidence to support any of these claims.
Ginger, a spice commonly added to green tea, is also praised for its health benefits. According to Harvard Health Publishing, ginger might relieve the symptoms of motion sickness, help arthritis inflammation, protect against colorectal cancer and ovarian cancer, and even boost the immune system. To gain benefit, you need to consume only a small amount — about 1/8 teaspoon — but you should consume it regularly rather than sporadically.
Any negative green tea and ginger side effects are generally related to the caffeine in green tea, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, if you consume it in enormous quantities.
However, considering that green tea has only 29 milligrams per serving and the recommended upper recommended limit of caffeine is 400 milligrams, you would have to consume a huge amount of green tea in a short period of time. If you did, you might see such symptoms as nervousness, restlessness, sleep disturbances, loose stools and other gastrointestinal problems, nausea, abdominal pain, heartburn, dizziness and muscle pain.
Harvard Health Publishing notes that ginger could interfere with blood thinners and diabetes medications, and the National Institutes of Health adds that some people might experience mild abdominal discomfort, heartburn, diarrhea and gas.
Read more: How Much Green Tea Should You Drink Per Day?
Trying a Ginger Green Tea Recipe
Because of their alleged health properties, green tea and ginger are often included in products or dietary plans that are touted to detox or cleanse the body. Don't be too quick to believe these claims, however. As the Cleveland Clinic states, the body's organs, including the liver, kidneys and skin, do a sufficient job of breaking down toxins on their own. There's no need to replace solid food with green tea to help your body heal from daily living.
And although you might lose some weight from replacing meals with ginger green tea, you're very likely losing water weight instead of fat. The National Institutes of Health emphasizes that drinking large quantities of water or herbal tea and cutting out food can cause electrolyte imbalances and be more harmful than good.
While a green tea and ginger detox or cleanse would be a bad option, it would be a healthy choice to enjoy ginger green tea as an afternoon pick-me-up, a complementary drink alongside a meal, or even in the morning in place of your coffee.
Although you might have a ginger green tea recipe of your own you want to try, the easiest way to make a cup of it is to bring water on the stovetop to a full boil. Pour over a green tea bag in a cup and allow it to steep for two to three minutes before adding 1/8 teaspoon of ginger and 1/4 teaspoon of honey. Stir and enjoy.
As long as you enjoy ginger green tea as part of a healthy diet — that is, without drinking it as a substitute for any meals — and don't count on it to be a cure-all, you can get a boost of antioxidants and possibly even enjoy a few other health benefits, too.
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: “The Health Benefits of Tea”
- National Institutes of Health: “Green Tea”
- Harvard Health Publishing: “Can Everyday Spices Make You Healthier?”
- National Institutes of Health: “Ginger”
- National Institutes of Health: “‘Detoxes’ and ‘Cleanses’: What You Need to Know”
- Cleveland Clinic: “Are You Planning a Cleanse or Detox? Read This First”
- USDA: "Green Tea"
- USDA: "Black Tea"
- USDA: "Coffee"