Immune Boosters & Ginger Shots 101
January 23, 2024
Have you heard the hype about ginger for immune support?
Integrative medicine and acupuncture specialist Muftiya Issa, N.D., calls ginger a “miracle herb” that does everything from providing antioxidants and antiviral action to fighting cancer. It's not just a spice; it’s a powerhouse herb that's making waves for its immune-boosting prowess.
Known for its culinary uses, ginger has been recognized for its medicinal properties for thousands of years. Ginger's anti-inflammatory nature helps combat free radicals in the body, comparable to vitamin C. Research proves its efficacy in cancer prevention, pain relief, and managing conditions like migraines, nausea and vomiting.
"Think of ginger almost like a ‘Pacman’ that neutralizes harmful reactive oxygen species (ROS) within the body," says Dr. Issa.
ROS are molecules produced naturally in the body. They play essential roles in cell functions, but when their levels become too high, they can cause damage to cells, DNA, and proteins. Ginger, with its antioxidant properties, helps neutralize these excess ROS, acting as a protective force against potential harm.
What’s a Ginger Shot?
Consuming ginger in the form of a shot is the latest craze. But ginger shots aren't just for the wellness gurus; they're for everyone looking to boost their immune system. A ginger shot is a concentrated beverage made from fresh ginger root typically consumed in a small, potent dose. It's often used as a quick and intense way to experience the health benefits of ginger.
A ginger shot has a bold and intense flavor profile, characterized by a spicy and pungent taste. It delivers a strong kick with a hint of warmth and earthiness. Some people may find it slightly bitter or peppery, but the overall taste is invigorating and may leave a lingering heat on the palate.
You can purchase ginger shots at most grocery stores, but Dr. Issa recommends making them from fresh ginger at home. Follow these steps:
- Select quality ginger: Opt for older and larger ginger roots, which are packed with more health benefits.
- Preparation is key: Peel and chop the ginger into smaller pieces, ensuring you're ready for the juicing process.
- Juicing process: Use a juicer or blender to extract the potent liquid from the ginger. This step is crucial for capturing the full spectrum of ginger's advantages.
- Freshness matters: Consume your homemade ginger shot within an hour to retain its freshness and maximize the associated health benefits.
Tip: Add a splash of lemon and honey to your ginger shot and you've got yourself an antimicrobial, antiviral powerhouse.
Other Ways to Enjoy Ginger’s Health Benefits
Beyond ginger shots, there are many ways to incorporate ginger into your routine and unlock its health benefits. Consider these options:
- Spice up your meals: Add a zing to your dishes by incorporating ginger into stir-fries, soups and various recipes. Its versatility enhances both flavor and nutritional value.
- Soothing ginger tea: Brew a cup of ginger tea by steeping fresh ginger slices in hot water. This timeless remedy not only warms you up but also promotes digestion and overall well-being.
- Ginger in smoothies: Boost your morning smoothie with a hint of fresh ginger. It pairs well with fruits and greens, offering a tasty and nutritious blend.
- Ginger-infused water: Create a refreshing beverage by infusing water with ginger slices. This simple yet effective method adds a subtle flavor while keeping you hydrated.
- Incorporate into baked goods: Elevate the nutritional content of your baked goods by adding ground ginger. It pairs exceptionally well with desserts, bringing a unique twist to your treats.
Who Should Avoid Ginger?
While there are many health benefits to ginger, it’s not for everyone. Certain people should take precautions before using it or avoid it altogether.
“Talk to your doctor before you include anything new in your diet and lifestyle, including herbs," says Dr. Issa. "It's important first to ensure it’s OK to use with whatever medications you’re taking."
This is especially true if you fall into one of these groups:
- Pregnant women: While ginger is generally safe for consumption, pregnant women should exercise caution. Limiting ginger intake to 1.5 grams per day is best to avoid any potential risks.
- People who take blood-thinning medications: If you're already on blood thinners or have cardiovascular issues, have a discussion with your doctor. Ginger has mild blood-thinning effects, and it could interact with certain medications.
- Children: While ginger is generally safe for children, a conservative approach is recommended. A daily dosage of 1 gram ensures that kids reap the health rewards without exceeding safe limits.
“For healthy adults, 3 to 4 grams of ginger daily is the optimal dosage,” says Dr. Issa. “Consuming excessive amounts of ginger can cause health problems, so moderation is key.”
Eating too much ginger might make your stomach feel uncomfortable, give you heartburn, or increase the chance of bleeding, especially if you take blood-thinning medicines. It's important to follow the suggested amounts of ginger in your diet and pay attention to your health.
If you want personalized advice and need to know how much ginger is right for you, talk to your primary care provider. They can give you guidance based on your health and any medical conditions you have.
Next Steps & Resources
- Meet our source: Muftiya Issa, N.D.
- To make an appointment with Dr. Issa or another physician near you, call 732-263-7999 or visit our website.
- Find a healthy eating class or event near you.
The material provided through HealthU is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.