Ginger ale is a widely consumed drink to treat digestive disorders. It is a classic home remedy, especially for indigestion. But, what are the constituents of ginger ale? Does it contain caffeine in it? Read on to know more about this classic drink.
One of the foremost versions of ginger ale is thought to have come from Ireland – a long time ago, sometime in the 19th century. The current version – popularly sold in stores – is believed to have been made in Canada; not very long ago, sometime in the early part of the 20th century. It is a non-alcoholic beverage (though it is called ale), known for its ability to give refreshment as well as instant energy. It retains almost all the goodness of ginger; its key strengths being anti-inflammatory (reduces swelling and associated pains) as well as anti-emetic (known as a cure for vomiting and nausea caused mainly due to gastrointestinal disorders) capabilities.
Ginger ale – as sold in markets – contains carbonated water with a ginger flavor. It derives its flavor either from natural ginger or through artificial additives. The ale is sweetened with natural sugars or high-fructose corn fluids. As a variation, honey or pineapple is added to this ale to sweeten it. However, conventional ginger ale is a mixture of ginger root, ginger bug (or yeast), water and natural sugar. In the traditional method, the drink is carbonated by the fermentation of ginger bug (yeast). Sugar also serves as a catalyst to the fermentation activity. Ginger ale – its commercial version –is stored for a longer time by adding a derivative of salicylic acid; this in turn renders antiseptic as well as antimicrobial capabilities.
How is ginger ale used?
Ginger ale is used as a remedy for soreness of throat, cough and cold. It is widely used as a cure for motion sickness as well as digestive problems. It is also a great remedy for nausea. As per recent studies, ginger is found to have properties almost similar to vitamin B6. It is used as an addition to punch and other drinks; often as a great substitute for beer. Its physical semblance with beer and champagne makes it go well with other beverages very easily.
With ginger as a key ingredient, the health benefits of ginger also naturally accrue to ale made of it. Its little-known health benefits include (1) enhanced ability to absorb minerals and nutrients; this is done by producing pancreatic and gastric enzymes in increased quantities, (2) helps in the treatment of signs & symptoms of flu and common cold, (3) discourages progression of cancerous cells in your colorectal region; thus helps prevent likely risks of colon and other cancers, (4) control of fatty acids from getting stored into your arteries; thus prevents risks associated with strokes – in the process your immunity levels stand to get a big boost, (5) has the powers to safeguard your body from infections and allergic reactions; for instance – allergies such as rhinitis, sinusitis (chronic infections) as well as dermatitis, (6) makes way for formation of mucus – especially in your respiratory tracts; helps as a remedy for nasal congestion, respiratory infections, etc.
Caffeine content in ginger ale
A 20-ounce (fluid ounce) serving of standard ginger ale has nearly 60 grams of sugar, 60 grams of carbs and 75 milligrams of sodium. Its calorie count stands at about 225. Hence, commercial ginger ale unless listed on the label – does not contain caffeine in it. Many commercial ale makers also specialise in manufacturing caffeine-free ginger ale (diet offering – i.e., with lesser added sugars). Such commercial brands also manufacture caffeine-free tonic water as well as club sodas. Even caffeine-free seltzer water is gaining ground among drinkers.
However, when ginger ale is made with green tea as an additional ingredient, the final form contains caffeine in it. Caffeine finds its way through the use of green tea. You may know green tea does have traces of caffeine. So, it is quite natural for ginger ale to have caffeine content when green tea leaves are added during its manufacture.
Caffeine-free ginger ale is a blessing for carrying mothers
Ginger ale trumps sodas because of its caffeine-free status. Caffeine is a known stimulant; it can increase your heat beat and can build your blood pressure levels. Among pregnant mothers, intake of caffeine is more dangerous as it can transgress the placenta. This action may end up disturbing your fetus with sleep disruptions as well as unnecessary movements inside your womb. Ginger ale is a godsend for pregnant women, especially as American Pregnancy Association advises carrying mothers not to take more than 180 milligrams of caffeine per day. Ginger ale is also a stimulant (very much like caffeine) but without most of the negative effects. Ginger ale also stimulates but does not trigger any medical conditions (both short and long term conditions) usually caused by the consumption of caffeine.
Pregnant women know the discomforts they go through due to morning sickness. Carbonated drinks may have the needful cure for this medical condition. But carrying women are advised against taking sodas; the main reason is commercially sold sodas have caffeine in them. Pregnant women can instead drink ginger ale which is caffeine-free. However, consult with your obstetrician to know whether your health condition allows you to take ginger ale as a cure for morning sickness.
Dietary experiments show ginger ale can control blood sugar levels. During pregnancy, mothers may often see a decrease in their blood sugar levels. It is highly recommended to consume small quantities of ginger ale to restore normal levels of blood sugar. The added benefits of ginger ale include provision of sodium, calcium, magnesium and iron; all these are much-needed nutrients for the health of the fetus as well as the pregnant mother. On top of it all these, the drink does not contain cholesterol or fats. However, the drink is also bereft of proteins or fibers of any form. Its treatment capabilities include ability to relieve inflammation of joints (in conditions such as arthritis), decrease the risks associated with ovarian cancers and – last but not the least – decrease oxidative anxiety or reduce the build-up of stress.
Downside of ginger ale
Food studies reveal that ginger ale may impact your blood clotting process. It has been studied that this drink may work like a blood thinner. In other words, increased and frequent consumption of ginger ale can delay the clotting of your blood. This a cautionary advice for people consuming drugs for blood clotting and related problems.
Higher amounts of sugars in ginger ale can lead to non-communicable disorders such as diabetes (type 2), obesity, hormonal imbalances, etc. Sugars also lead to decays and cavity formation; on the whole, your dental health may suffer if you consume ginger ale in excessive amounts.
Ginger is also known for the pronounced presence of citric acid in it. It has an adverse impact on the enamel of your teeth. This acid can also have a negative effect on your digestive system.
Ginger ale is generally considered to be acidic in nature. Commercially sold variants may have pH value between 3.0 and 4.5. Owing to its excessive acidity, you may need to take your doctor’s advice about how much ginger ale can you consume per day. If you are a carrying mother, this is all the more important – as an increased and frequent intake of ginger ale can trigger a few other side effects owing to its excessive acidity levels.
So, how to make caffeine-free ginger ale?
Clean ginger by peeling its skin and mince it to finer pieces. Add water to minced ginger and cook it at low heat for some 25 minutes. Remove the pan from stove and let is cool for some 8 minutes. Take a fine mesh and remove the pieces away. Add sugar to the strained solution and heat it (at low heat) for some 8 minutes. After this, take the pan from the stove and let it cool to room temperature. You can serve it with lemon juice and syrup added to it. It tastes better if served with ice. You can store it in your refrigerator and can preserve it for upto 10 days.
Home-made ginger ale has much less calorie content than those available in commercially sold ginger ale. This is the reason why it is one of the preferred energy drinks – even for people with type 2 diabetes, obesity, other lifestyle-triggered medical conditions, etc.
In sum, commercially sold ginger ale – unless listed on the label – is caffeine-free. Many brands do make caffeine-free ginger ale. If ginger ale has green tea added, it will contain caffeine. Green tea leaves do have traces of caffeine in them. So, it is quite natural for ginger ale to have caffeine content when green tea is added during its manufacture.
Ginger ale is known as an instant provider of energy; a great drink to have after a busy day at work. It is known for its curative properties to treat nasal infections, respiratory problems and allergies in your throat. So, always remember to check the product’s label and see if it contains caffeine before adding it to your shopping cart.