Ginger ale is a classic soft drink that combines the medicinal properties of ginger root with the sugar and carbonation of a soda beverage. Although traditional ginger ales contained a significant portion of ginger – a known anti-emetic and alleviator of nausea – some modern brands use artificial ginger flavorings and sweeteners in place of the real herb. For best results, compare the ingredients of the different types of ginger ale and choose an all-natural brand that includes ginger root in the ingredients.
Ginger ale products that don't contain real ginger may also create a calming effect on the stomach due to their carbonation. As the ginger ale enters your stomach, the air bubbles may cause an alleviating effect. However, the Mayo Clinic website warns that individuals experiencing symptoms of bloating and excess gas may worsen their condition by adding carbonated beverages to their stomach. Avoid ginger ale if you are experiencing these symptoms, and try to find ginger ale products that are caffeine-free and low in sugar to prevent further irritation of the stomach.
Ginger and Nausea
According to the University of Maryland Medial Center, two studies have linked the consumption of ginger root to a possible reduction in nausea and vomiting symptoms following surgery. Studies aside, ginger root has been used medicinally in teas and powdered medicine for more than 2,000 years in China and India, where it is frequently prescribed as a digestive aid and remedy for upset stomach, diarrhea and nausea. Ginger ales made using real ginger may also have a beneficial effect on these conditions.
Ginger Ale and the Stomach
The MedlinePlus website recommends ginger ale along with other clear liquids, such as water and fruit juices, to help replenish fluids following diarrhea or vomiting. As a reliably lighter beverage than other soft drinks, ginger ale offers the benefit of restoring fluids to the body during intense upset stomach spells that may lead to dehydration. Ginger ales made with real ginger have the added benefit of anti-emetic properties, reducing the urge to vomit.
Avoid ginger ale if you are hyperglycemic or unable to consume sugary beverages. Some individuals may experience rare allergic reactions to ginger, and may experience symptoms such as heartburn or nausea. Keep your consumption of ginger root to 4 g or less a day, which can vary in servings depending on the amount of ginger in your chosen product. Talk to your doctor about the possible ramifications of taking ginger ale before adding regular servings to your diet.
Is This an Emergency?
- The Mayo Clinic; Bloating, Belching and Intestinal Gas: How To Avoid Them; Apr. 23 2011
- The University of Maryland Medical Center; Ginger; Steven Ehrlich; Nov. 17 2008
- Indian Journal of Pharmacology; Ginger As An Antiemetic In Nausea And Vomiting Induced By Chemotherapy: A Randomized, Cross-Over, Double Blind Study; S. Sontakke; Jul. 7 2002
- MedlinePlus; Nausea and Vomiting; Oct. 20 2009