Can Ginger Ale Actually Help an Upset Stomach?

Just because mom and dad said so doesn't mean it's true.

young woman drinking a glass of ginger ale
Photo: martinedoucet and Roberta Lazar /Getty Images

Your parents, grandparents, or relatives probably told you that one simple remedy for curing an upset stomach is drinking ginger ale.

Now, there's all kinds of reasons as to why you might feel nauseous—it could be due to a nasty stomach bug, stress, anxiety or even eating something spoiled. If you find yourself reaching for the ginger-flavored soda during those times you maybe wonder why and if it really works.

Why Do You Crave Ginger Ale When You Have an Upset Stomach?

Well, dietitian Andrea Mathis said that since we have been conditioned to think that this beverage is the cure for an upset stomach, we naturally crave it.

She said, "because most of us have been taught to drink ginger ale if we are experiencing an upset stomach, we seem to naturally crave this beverage whenever we are feeling under the weather."

Does Ginger Ale Actually Cure an Upset Stomach?

So, despite what your parents told you, ginger ale does not actually cure an upset stomach. We just blew your mind, right?

Research has shown that fresh ginger root can alleviate nausea. However, commercialized ginger ale contains very little, if any, ginger. It mostly contains sugar, carbonated water, and ginger flavoring.

Therefore, the soda doesn't have the ability to make you feel better. Now, if you're wondering why you've been drinking it all these years and have felt better after, Mathis says it could be the carbonation that's settling in your stomach that's helping.

What to Drink Instead of Ginger Ale For an Upset Stomach?

While you can still drink a cup of ginger ale if you're feeling nauseous, the main thing to remember is the kind of ginger ale that you're drinking.

Since ginger root is what can help to alleviate discomfort, seek out a brand made with real ginger root, even ginger beer would be a better option.

While the age-old ginger ale will always be a classic remedy, you can also try sipping on this honey-lemon ginger tea to calm your stomach.

The Bottom Line

While fresh ginger root has been shown to help alleviate nausea, most ginger ales aren't made with the real deal. But the carbonation in ginger ale may help settle your upset stomach, not to mention the association might be comforting to you. So if drinking ginger ale makes you feel better, by all means keep drinking it. But if you are looking for something stronger, try a drink made with real ginger instead.

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