There seem to be healthy drink options everywhere you look — think smoothies, kombucha and coconut water.
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But what about a ginger shot? The popular wellness drink can aid in digestion, boost your immune system and may reduce your blood sugar levels.
Ginger shots are typically made with ginger root that’s either pressed into a juice or blended into a liquid with orange or lemon juices.
“Fresh ginger can be spicy when consumed,” says registered dietitian Candace O’Neill, RD, LDN. “So, normally, other beverages are added in to make it more palatable and to prevent gastric reflux.”
And many ginger shots, which can be bought in most stores or online, may contain other ingredients like turmeric, echinacea and probiotics to increase the amount of benefits you can get.
“Turmeric is another anti-inflammatory rich food like ginger,” says O’Neill. “So, adding that in with ginger may compound the health benefits so you can consume multiple nutrients at one time.”
O’Neill shares the benefits of ginger shots, plus how to make your own version at home.
Ginger shot benefits
Ginger is a flowering root plant, and when you drink a ginger shot, you’re consuming the root, called the rhizome, that’s been pressed or juiced. Ginger contains vitamin C, magnesium and potassium. Here are some other ginger shot benefits.
Helps with digestion
In the past, you may have reached for a ginger ale when your stomach was upset, but the real, fresh ginger found in ginger shots is a better option to help with your digestion.
“There are certain enzymes in ginger that can help with bloating, help ease constipation and help with nausea,” says O’Neill. “If you’re dealing with IBS symptoms, this may help to reduce some of your symptoms.”
Ginger can also help with morning sickness and even cancer-induced nausea and vomiting.
Thanks to ginger’s anti-inflammatory and antibiotic properties, a ginger shot may help ease pain. And you can credit this benefit to gingerol, an active ingredient found in ginger.
“Research shows that gingerol reduces the activity and synthesis of pro-inflammatory compounds, which are associated with pain,” explains O’Neill.
Studies also show that ginger helps with long-term pain relief rather than immediate pain relief.
“It’s important to note that if you’re taking ginger, you won’t notice immediate pain relief like you would if you take ibuprofen or acetaminophen, but it’s something that may help dull the pain long-term and reduce chronic signs of inflammation,” she adds.
Boosts your immune system
While ginger touts anti-inflammatory and antibiotic properties that can boost your immune system, it also contains antiviral and antibacterial properties that can help keep you healthy.
And though ginger contains vitamin C, it isn’t a large amount. So, that’s why some ginger shots will include lemon juice or orange juice — to boost your vitamin C intake.
“Consuming these nutrients together can help to boost your intake of immune-fighting foods,” says O’Neill.
Reduces your blood sugar levels
People with Type 2 diabetes generally don’t make enough insulin. But ginger may play a role in regulating insulin production, which can help keep your blood sugar levels stable.
“There is some evidence that it may improve insulin sensitivity and it may reduce some enzymes in the body that break down carbohydrates and increases glucose metabolism,” notes O’Neill.
Aids in weight loss
Are you constantly on a “diet” and exercising to lose a few pounds? Research has shown that ginger can decrease your hunger and increase how many calories you burn during digestion. Bottom line? Ginger may aid in weight loss.
“Ginger contains compounds that may increase the thermic effect of food, which increases the calories burned to break down food,” explains O’Neill. “However, solely adding ginger to your diet will mostly not result in significant weight loss. In studies, they found it only increased calorie burn by about 50 calories.”
Ginger may also increase ghrelin, a hormone that controls hunger levels and could reduce appetite and help you to feel less hungry.
If your doctor has been on you about your high cholesterol — which can lead to heart disease — you may want to look into ginger and its many benefits.
“Ginger may help to reduce total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides,” says O’Neill.
But O’Neill also says that while there’s research on this topic, more is needed to fully understand ginger’s effects on cholesterol.
Ginger shots risks
While ginger may sound like an amazing ingredient, it can potentially cause heartburn for some people.
“It’s best to have ginger juice diluted to prevent any digestive symptoms from consuming it,” recommends O’Neill. “If you have a sensitive digestive system, start with a small portion, 0.5 to 1 ounces, before increasing intake.”
Ginger at high doses can also be a mild blood thinner.
“If you’re thinking about including ginger in your diet, you should talk to your doctor, especially if you’re on blood-thinning medication,” says O’Neill.
Ginger shots vs. ginger supplements
You may be already including ginger in your diet in the form of supplements.
“If you’re on a ginger supplement, it’s not necessary to take a ginger shot,” states O’Neill. “You’re more than likely getting a more potent dose from the supplement.”
While there isn’t a recommended amount of ginger you should consume daily, O’Neill says that too much can cause nausea and gastric reflux for some.
How to make ginger shots at home
Ready to give ginger shots a try? While there are many options available for purchase, you can make ginger shots at home. O’Neill shares her ginger shots recipe with us:
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, from about 3 to 4 large lemons
- 1 cup orange juice or 3 oranges juiced
- 2 ounces fresh ginger
- 1 to 3 teaspoons honey
- 1 to 2 dashes cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- Dash black pepper
- Peel ginger and chop into small pieces.
- Add all ingredients to a high-powered blender.
- Pour mixture through a fine-mesh strainer to squeeze any residual liquid from pulp.
- Store liquid in a large container. To drink, measure 1- to 2-ounce portions at a time.
This recipe will make about six to eight shots and will keep in the refrigerator for three to five days.
“If you’re immunocompromised, these juices aren’t pasteurized, so they could go bad quicker and you could get sick from it,” cautions O’Neill.
And if taking a spicy shot of ginger doesn’t sit well with you, there are other ways to get your dose of ginger.
“If you don’t like the taste of a ginger shot, you can still use ginger with other cooking methods to get its health benefits,” says O’Neill. “Include ginger in a smoothie to disguise the ginger flavor. You can even add it to meals as a seasoning or marinade. Ginger flavors taste great in Asian or Indian cuisines.”