The common reasons why you might want to avoid consuming ginger

The common reasons why you might want to avoid consuming ginger

mperhaps you know and love eating raw ginger for its ability to amp up the flavor of your spicy tuna sushi roll or perhaps you enjoy the zing of a shot of freshly squeezed ginger to get you going in the morning. Aside from the taste, the health benefits of ginger include improving digestion, boosting immunity, and fighting inflammation. But before you start adding it to your morning smoothie, there are some situations where incorporating the root into your wellness routine isn’t recommended, which is why it’s important to know when not to take ginger.

First, because 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 excellent for promoting 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, RD, previously said Good+Good.

You can slice or grate fresh ginger to add to soups or sauces, use the powdered forms as a seasoning on vegetables, top a mocktail with candied ginger for glow, use pickled variations in poke bowls, drink it in the form of ginger or take as a supplement.

The root is known to support digestive health by improving gastric motility and helping to relieve gastrointestinal bloating and discomfort by reducing gas production, says Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN, author of Read it before you eat it. It also has anti-inflammatory properties to help support heart health and relieve arthritis symptoms, says Taub-Dix, adding that the root can help quell nausea and stabilize blood sugar levels.

When can ginger be bad for you?

While ginger is generally considered safe to ingest and despite all of its benefits, there are instances where someone may want to limit their intake or avoid it altogether, says Kyle Staller, MD, MPH, assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and spokesperson for the American Gastroenterological Association. (Whether you simply keep an eye on your daily intake or decide to eliminate it from your diet altogether is a conversation you should have with a healthcare professional, as individual risks and dosage vary widely, according to Dr. Staller.)

The most noteworthy concern is for those with bleeding disorders, such as hemophilia, where blood doesn’t clot properly, says Dr. staller. Ginger has mild anticoagulant or blood-thinning properties, which means it can increase your risk of bleeding, he says.

What medications does ginger interfere with?

Because of its anticoagulant nature, anyone on blood-thinning medications, such as warfarin or aspirin, or heart-healthy antiplatelet medications, such as clopidogrel, will also want to exercise caution. Combining ginger with these medications can potentially amplify the effects and can lead to excessive bleeding or bruising, explains Dr. staller.

Additionally, ginger can lower blood sugar levels, so people with diabetes should monitor their blood glucose levels closely if they consume large amounts or take ginger supplements, says Dr. staller. While it is recommended that you consult your physician before starting any supplement regimen, whether or not you have potential contraindications, those currently taking diabetes medications, such as insulin or oral antidiabetic medications, who also take ginger, should talk to their provider about whether the dosage of their diabetes medicine should be adjusted.

It can also potentially cause complications during pregnancy

Studies also indicate that while ginger is effective at quelling nausea in pregnant women, you’ll want to limit the amount of ginger you eat while pregnant as the blood-thinning effects can put the mother at a higher risk of miscarriage. It’s best to consult a doctor about your options, including ginger, if you experience morning sickness while expecting.

Anyone with gastrointestinal issues should also consume ginger with caution

Those with a history of GERD or acid reflux should keep a close eye on their ginger consumption, as ginger can cause heartburn and make gastric reflux worse, says Reuben Chen, MD, sports medicine physician and international chief medical advisor at Sunrider.

People with high blood pressure should also be careful, but not for the reason you might think.

If you were wondering: Does ginger raise blood pressure? You’re not alone, it’s a frequently asked question in terms of when not to take ginger. But the answer is now. In fact, some studies, like the 2019 research published in Phytotherapy research, have indicated that ginger can lower blood pressure, which in itself is not a problem. However, if you’re taking medications to control high blood pressure, combining them with ginger could further reduce blood pressure levels, potentially causing your blood pressure to drop too low, says Dr. Staller, although more research is needed.

How much ginger is too much?

Most people can safely eat ginger every day without going overboard, but those who are 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 ginger’s gastric side effects, adds Dr. Chen. Again, anyone with diabetes, bleeding disorders, or takes blood thinners should exercise caution and speak to their doctor before adding ginger to their diet. Meanwhile, pregnant women should limit their ginger to no more than one gram per day, says Dr. staller.

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