Is eating ginger chews good for you?

Quick Answers

Ginger chews provide several potential health benefits, including:

– Reducing nausea and vomiting
– Aiding digestion
– Lowering blood sugar levels
– Reducing inflammation
– Acting as an antioxidant

However, more research is needed to confirm some of these benefits. Ginger chews are likely safe for most people when consumed in moderation.

What are ginger chews?

Ginger chews are candies that contain ginger root or ginger flavoring. The chews have a strong, spicy ginger taste and fibrous, chewy texture.

Ginger root is the underground stem (rhizome) of the ginger plant. It has been used for centuries in traditional medicine practices like Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese medicine to treat conditions like stomach upset, nausea, and arthritis pain.

Today, ginger chews and other ginger supplements are popular for their potential health benefits. The compounds in ginger, especially gingerol and shogaol, are believed to be responsible for its therapeutic effects.

Potential ginger chew benefits

Here is a summary of some of the main health benefits associated with eating ginger chews:

1. May reduce nausea

Ginger has long been used as a natural remedy for nausea and vomiting. Studies show it may help reduce nausea from motion sickness, pregnancy, and chemotherapy treatment.

The exact way ginger works to treat nausea is not fully understood. However, experts believe its active compounds like gingerol may have effects on the digestive system and brain regions that control vomiting.

In one review of 12 studies with over 1,200 pregnant women, taking 1-1.5 grams of ginger significantly reduced nausea. Ginger also reduced vomiting episodes in early pregnancy.

Ginger chews may provide an easy way to get a concentrated dose of ginger to decrease nausea symptoms. However, more clinical research is needed specifically on ginger chews.

2. May aid digestion

Ginger has carminative properties, meaning it may help relax the intestinal tract and promote healthy digestion.

Compounds like gingerol and shogaol are believed to increase bile, gastric juices, and digestive enzyme secretions. This helps food move through the gut more efficiently.

Some research indicates ginger may provide relief for dyspepsia (indigestion) and IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) symptoms like bloating, gas, stomach pain, and constipation.

Chewing ginger candy could support healthy digestion by stimulating saliva, gastric juice, and enzyme production. The fiber in ginger chews could also add bulk to stools and promote regularity.

3. May help lower blood sugar

Studies indicate ginger may support blood sugar control in people with diabetes and prediabetes. Ginger supplements for 8-12 weeks have been shown to significantly lower fasting blood glucose and HbA1c (a marker of long-term blood glucose levels).

Ginger may improve insulin sensitivity, support insulin production, and inhibit enzymes involved in carbohydrate digestion. These effects combine to reduce blood sugar spikes after meals.

While most studies have used concentrated ginger powder, eating chewy ginger candies in moderation may provide mild blood sugar-lowering benefits as well.

4. Anti-inflammatory properties

Chronic inflammation contributes to numerous diseases and aging. Ginger contains anti-inflammatory compounds like gingerol that may help inhibit inflammatory responses.

In particular, research shows ginger may reduce inflammatory markers linked to osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. This could be why ginger is anecdotally said to ease joint pain.

While studies often use highly concentrated ginger extracts, ginger chews may also supply anti-inflammatory gingerols at lower concentrations that provide protective effects over time.

5. May act as an antioxidant

Ginger demonstrates antioxidant activity in studies. This means it helps counter oxidative stress from free radicals that can damage cells and DNA.

The antioxidant gingerols are thought to suppress reactive oxygen species (ROS) that promote oxidative damage. This could potentially protect against chronic diseases associated with oxidative stress like cancer, heart disease, and neurodegenerative disorders.

More human research is needed to determine optimal ginger intakes for antioxidant benefits. But regular, moderate consumption of ginger chews could help increase antioxidant capacity.

Potential side effects and risks

For most healthy adults, eating moderate amounts of ginger chews is considered safe with a low risk of side effects. However, some potential side effects and considerations include:

– Heartburn – Ginger may aggravate symptoms in those with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
– Mouth irritation – Ginger’s spiciness may irritate mouth sores or ulcers.
– Blood thinning – High intakes may increase bleeding risk in people taking anticoagulant medications.
– Allergic reaction – Ginger may cause allergy symptoms like rash, itching, or trouble breathing in sensitive individuals.

Pregnant women should be cautious with ginger intake and consult their doctor, as some sources advise avoiding amounts over 1 gram per day.

People with diabetes or taking medications should also consult a healthcare professional before increasing ginger intake significantly.

Recommended ginger chew dosage

There is no official recommended daily intake for ginger. However, studies showing health benefits typically use around 500mg to 1 gram of ginger root powder per day.

This would equate to roughly:

– 2-4 standard ginger chews
– 1-2 teaspoons (2-4 grams) of fresh grated ginger
– 1⁄4-1⁄2 teaspoon (0.5-1 gram) of dried ground ginger

Higher doses around 1.5-2 grams may be used for treating nausea or digestive issues, but should be discussed with your doctor.

Consuming up to 4 grams (1 teaspoon) of ground ginger per day or 10 grams (2 teaspoons) of fresh root is generally recognized as safe for most healthy adults. Exceeding these amounts long-term is not recommended without medical supervision.

Keep in mind that dosage can vary substantially depending on factors like the ginger content and preparation method. Refer to individual product labels for the suggested serving sizes and ginger contents.

How to incorporate ginger chews into your diet

Here are some simple ways to add ginger chews into your daily routine:

– Carry a small bag of ginger chews in your purse or bag to help fight motion sickness or nausea when traveling.
– Keep a stash in your desk drawer at work for a quick afternoon snack.
– Add ginger chews to your nightstand to help ease post-dinner indigestion or stomach discomfort.
– Offer ginger candies to friends and family after big meals to support healthy digestion.
– Take ginger chews before flying or car trips prone to motion sickness.
– Use ginger chews as a natural way to boost saliva production instead of sugary candies.
– Mix ginger chews into homemade trail mixes or energy balls along with nuts and dried fruit for an anti-inflammatory boost.

You can consume ginger chews as needed throughout the day. Most products recommend taking 1-3 chews at a time, 3-4 times per day. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated as well.

Types of ginger chews

There are many brands and types of ginger chews available. Here are some of the most common:

Candied ginger chews

These chews consist of soft, syrup-covered pieces of ginger root. They have a very gingery, spicy-sweet flavor.

Brands like The Ginger People make traditional candied ginger chews sweetened with ingredients like organic cane sugar or agave. The actual ginger content varies from around 10-30%.

Ginger hard candies

Ginger hard candies have a firm, brittle texture and intensely spicy ginger taste. They are sweetened with sugar or honey and flavored predominantly with ginger oil or powder.

Popular brands like Chimes, Culinary Treasures, and Gin Gins make ginger disks, lollipops, and hard candies shaped like ginger roots. They typically provide 500-2000mg of ginger content per serving.

Ginger soft chews

Ginger soft chews have a dense, chewy texture similar to gummy candies. They are sweetened with fruit juices, purees, or natural sweeteners.

Brands like Prince of Peace, Natural Vitality, and The Ginger People offer soft ginger chews in flavors like lemon, peach, and raspberry. These provide 100-500mg ginger per chew.

Medicated ginger chews

Some ginger chews contain added medicinal or herbal ingredients for specialized benefits. For example:

– Motion sickness ginger chews add B vitamins for nausea.
– Digestive ginger chews add probiotics, fennel, peppermint.
– Ginger with turmeric chews add curcumin for anti-inflammatory effects.
– Ginger with honey chews add immune-boosting propolis.

Popular medicated brands include Queasy Drops Anti-Nausea Ginger Chews and Zand Herbalozenge Ginger Chews.

How to make homemade ginger chews

It’s also easy to make homemade ginger chews using just a few simple ingredients:

Basic ginger chews recipe

– 1 cup water
– 1 cup organic cane sugar
– 1/4 cup fresh grated ginger
– 1 tablespoon lemon juice
– 1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Combine water, sugar, and grated ginger in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes until thickened slightly.
2. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice and salt. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes.
3. Pour mixture onto a parchment lined baking sheet and spread evenly into a 1/4 inch layer. Allow to set at room temperature for 12 hours until firm.
4. Cut into 1-inch chews and coat edges in sugar to prevent sticking. Store in an airtight container.

You can customize this recipe by adding ingredients like ground ginger, cayenne, turmeric, honey, or molasses to enhance the flavor and health benefits.

The bottom line

Ginger chews provide a convenient way to get a concentrated dose of ginger’s beneficial compounds like gingerol and shogaol.

Research suggests ginger chews may aid nausea, digestion, blood sugar control, inflammation, and antioxidant status when eaten in moderation. They are also delicious and easy to incorporate into your daily routine.

However, more human studies are needed to establish ideal dosages and back up some of gingers proposed benefits and mechanisms. Excessive intake may also cause side effects in some individuals.

Overall, enjoying a few ginger chews per day can be a smart addition to a healthy, balanced diet and lifestyle, especially if you struggle with nausea or digestive issues. But the benefits likely depend on the individual and should not replace medical treatment if needed.

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