How to drink Ginger Ale Properly
It’s that time of year again where many of us are victim of stomach bugs and we are finding ourselves over bowls of soup and sipping ginger ale. As much as we believe we are nursing ourselves and our children back to health, we tend to make a few mistakes along the way which may actually upset our bodies more. It’s bad enough when we misdiagnose something for another, and treat it as so, it only makes it worse until the proper care is given, but the most common mistakes I see people do is buy the wrong brands of ginger ale and serve the correct ones incorrectly.
Traditionally, you can either eat ginger as a delicacy, use it as a medicine, or take it as a spice. It has been advocated as a treatment for an upset stomach at least since the days of the Greek doctor Dioscorides. Now we have carbonated sodas such as Ginger ale which is a common home remedy for nausea and vomiting of people suffering from food poisoning, gastroenteritis, morning sickness or the complications of chemotherapy. It is also used by NASA astronauts for space sickness.
Ginger is a carminative, which means it helps to expel gas from the stomach or intestines, one of the main reasons for stomach upset. Gas can be extremely painful, in fact many cases of those who bring themselves to the emergency for severe stomach cramping find out that they only had intense gas pains. Ginger, or ginger ale also soothes tissues and relaxes cramping and is beneficial as an anti-inflammatory and general digestive aid as it helps to promote the body’s formation of enzymes and good bacteria in the gut, but it has to be consumed correctly.
Many people find it soothing to the stomach and an easy way to replenish their fluids and electrolytes, which are the salts and minerals such as chloride, calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium that conduct electricity and help power your cells. Proper balance of electrolytes is critical for muscle coordination in your heart and also crucial for your nerves and brain to function.
Regardless of ginger’s effect, most ginger ales contain little or no real ginger. However, the ale is easily digestible, which makes it a soothing drink that is likely to stay down along with any other clear soda because it doesn’t contain the dark dyes. However, the soda has to flat and no longer be carbonated. Of course if you replace ginger ale made with real ginger, with another clear soda, the effects won’t be the same as the key ingredient is ginger.
My choice of ginger ale is always either Vernors, or Canada Dry when an upset stomach arrives. Where I live, a cheaper brand of soda, Faygo, is a more popular choice due to the price and quantity value, but it contains no real ginger, just added sugars and artificial flavors which causes more of an upset stomach later. It is very critical to read labels of anything before you put it in your body, and carbonated beverages is one.
Naturally, we reach for the cooler when purchasing something to drink, but when an upset stomach is pulling you towards ginger ale, it’s best to get one that hasn’t made it to the cooler yet, or allow one that has; to warm. If you are someone who suffers from digestive issues or stomach aches quite often, it’s good to always keep warm ginger ale in stock at home, warm in a shelf of course, so when discomfort arrives, the ginger ale is almost automatically ready to be sipped. I say sipped with emphasis, and I will explain later.
Drinking ginger ale flat and warm is crucial when trying to calm an upset stomach because carbonated drinks can cause gas bubbles to form in the stomach, which may further disturb an upset digestive system. For this reason, you should especially never drink ginger ale straight out of the can. Always allow it to sit at room temperature until the fizz has disappeared. To speed up the process, you can also stir the carbonation out, but make sure to continue to stir until there is no more fizz. You can also pour it from one glass into another several times to hasten the release of the carbon dioxide into the air. When it tastes “flat”, it is safe and ready to consume.
Another reason to drink ginger ale warm, or any other beverages when feeling nauseas is because, very cold liquids can shock the digestive system and further upset the stomach. You should also not drink ginger ale or other liquids until at least an hour after you have vomited. To rehydrate after vomiting, sip lukewarm water and see if it will stay down. After this, if the vomiting slows or subsides, you can graduate to ginger ale.
Slowly sip it to avoid overloading pressure on your stomach. Frequent small sips are more effective than infrequent long drinks. Do not rely on your thirst alone to judge how often you should drink, but if the thought, taste or smell of the ale increases your nausea, wait until later. However, after you can keep it down, take a sip every 20 to 30 minutes to begin replenishing your fluids.
An upset stomach is usually accompanied by diarrhea which can also be calmed by ginger ale. When you feel the onset of diarrhea about to occur, with or without stomach nausea, you can blame your failure to include not only enough water, but ginger in your diet. The reason is that certain kinds of compounds found within ginger are an active agent that works against forms of diarrhea.
So next time you have an upset digestive system and are feeling sick, sip warm, no longer carbonated ginger ale, made with real ginger and not just artificial flavors.