First, why you might want more ginger in your diet
Ginger comes in many forms, but the roots of the ginger plant are what are commonly used both as a spice or ingredient in cooking and for medicinal purposes as a supplement. “Ginger is great for supporting health longevity because it contains compounds known as gingerols and shogaols, which create an antioxidant effect that reduces free radical damage in the body,” Trista Best, MS, RDpreviously said Good + Good.
You can slice or grate fresh ginger add to soups or sauces, use powdered forms as a seasoning on vegetables, garnish a mocktail with candied ginger for sparkle, use pickled variations in poke bowls, drink it as a ginger teaor take it as a supplement.
The root is known to “support digestive health by improving gastric motility and helping relieve bloating and gastrointestinal discomfort by reducing gas production,” says Bonnie Taub-DixRDN, author of Read it before you eat it. “It also has anti-inflammatory properties to help support heart health and relieve symptoms of arthritis,” says Taub-Dix, adding that the root can help soothe nausea and stabilize blood sugar.
When can ginger be bad for you?
While ginger is generally considered safe to ingest and despite all of its benefits, there are instances when someone may want to limit their intake or avoid it altogether, says Kyle Staller, MD, MPHassistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and spokesperson for the American Association of Gastroenterology. (Whether you’re just keeping an eye on your daily intake or deciding to cut it out of your diet altogether, that’s a conversation you should have with a healthcare professional, as individual risks and dosage vary widely, depending on Dr. Staller.)
The most notable concern is for people with bleeding disorders, such as hemophilia, where blood doesn’t clot properly, Dr. Staller says. “Ginger has mild anticoagulant or blood-thinning properties, which means it may increase the risk of bleeding,” he says.
What medication does ginger interfere with?
Due to its blood-thinning nature, anyone taking blood-thinning medications, such as warfarin or aspirin, or anti-platelet medications for heart health, such as clopidogrel, should also exercise caution. “Combining ginger with these medications can potentially amplify the effects and lead to excessive bleeding or bruising,” says Dr. Staller.
Additionally, “Ginger can lower blood sugar, so people with diabetes should monitor their blood sugar closely if they consume large amounts or take ginger supplements,” says Dr. Staller. Although it is recommended that you consult your physician before beginning any supplementation regimen, whether or not you have any potential contraindications, people who are currently taking diabetes medications, such as insulin or oral antidiabetics, who are also taking ginger, should ask their supplier if the dosage of their diabetes medication needs to be adjusted.
It can also potentially lead to complications during pregnancy
Studies also indicate that while ginger is effective in soothing nausea in pregnant women, you will want to limit the amount of ginger you consume during pregnancy because blood-thinning effects may put the mother at increased risk of miscarriage. It’s best to consult a doctor about your options, including ginger, if you suffer from morning sickness while expecting.
Anyone with gastrointestinal issues should also consume ginger with caution.
Those with a history of GERD or acid reflux should watch their ginger intake, as ginger can cause heartburn and worsen acid reflux, says Ruben Chen, MDsports physician and international chief medical adviser to sunrider.
People with high blood pressure should also be wary…but not for the reason you might think.
If you’re wondering: does ginger raise blood pressure? You’re not alone – it’s a frequently asked question about when not to take ginger. But the answer is now. In fact, some studies, such as the 2019 research published in Phytotherapy researchindicated that ginger can lower blood pressure, which in itself is not a concern. However, “if you are taking medication to control high blood pressure, combining it with ginger could further reduce blood pressure levels, potentially causing blood pressure to drop too much,” says Dr. Staller, although additional research are necessary.
How much ginger is too much?
Most people can safely eat ginger every day without overdoing it, but people at risk for excessive bleeding will want to limit their intake to no more than four grams a day, says Dr. Staller. Those with acid reflux issues should split these doses to reduce the gastric side effects of ginger, adds Dr. Chen. Again, anyone with diabetes, bleeding disorders, who takes blood thinners should exercise caution and consult their doctor before adding ginger to their diet. During this time, pregnant women should limit their ginger intake to no more than one gram per day, says Dr. Staller.
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