Ginger Citrus Spritzer

Wow! Five years of school are now behind me. Two years of prerequisites, 2 years of graduate school, and a 9-month dietetic internship has all finally come to an end. Wednesday marked my last day as an intern and the culmination of my time at Bastyr University, a leader in natural health education. My journey was long and my journey was hard, and it truly seems surreal that I am here today. But now I am more than ready to be the change I wish to see in this world. Just one more thing….I still need to pass my board exam. Although it is daunting it seems minor in comparison to all the sweat, tears, and long nights I have already given up to be where I am today. And, soon I will finally be able to call myself a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist!

However, sadly today I cannot toast with a glass of champagne, as I have been dealing with a painful wisdom tooth extraction. Instead I will toast with a fresh ginger citrus spritzer perfect to celebrate this huge accomplishment and to stay cool in the summer heat. Plus its loaded with nutrients to help reduce inflammation and help ease stress!


Most people already know that ginger can help ease nausea and vomiting (1). But did you know that ginger just like turmeric has powerful anti-inflammatory phytonutrients that have shown to reduce pain and swelling by suppressing pro-inflammatory compounds and reducing oxidative stress in the body? Studies have found that 75% of participants struggling with arthritic pain had a reduction in pain and/or swelling (2).

Furthermore, for you ladies out there, a recent study has found ginger to be effective in reducing heavy menstruations. Research has shown that elevated prostaglandin and prostacyclin levels have been found in women with heavy menstrual bleeding. Interestingly, specific compounds found in ginger inhibit the synthesis of these prostaglandins to provide an anti-inflammatory effect and reduce the amounts of blood loss (3).


Unlike other mammals, humans do not have the ability to make vitamin C (4). Therefore it is really important to get enough from you diet as it has many important functions in the body. It acts as a cofactor in multiple enzymatic reactions. For example it plays a crucial role in the synthesis of collagen, it acts as a powerful anti-oxidant protecting our cell membranes, and it is an important vitamin for adrenal health.  Did you know that our adrenal glands especially store really high concentrations of vitamin C?  That is because vitamin C is needed to produce hormones called epinephrine and norepinephrine when someone is responding to stress (4). Therefore, if you are acutely, or more importantly, chronically stressed, you need to make sure you are getting enough vitamin C rich foods in your diet to support your adrenal health as it can easily get depleted! Some foods rich in vitamin C are below…you may be surprised!

Papaya (1 cup)
Bell Peppers (1 cup)
Broccoli (1 cup)
Brussels Sprouts (1 cup)
Strawberries (1 cup)
Pineapple (1 cup)
Orange (1 medium)
Kiwifruit (1 medium)
Cantaloupe (1 cup)
Kale (1 cup)

However something to keep in mind is that the impact of heat and oxygen really affect how much vitamin C content is in a food. The more the fruit or vegetable is exposed to heat and oxygen the less vitamin C will remain. For instance, broccoli stored at room temperature for 6 days can loose almost 80% of its vitamin C and cooking vegetables will rapidly reduce the amount available as well (5). Although it is fine to eat cooked vegetables, just make sure to get in a couple servings of raw fruits and vegetables throughout the day to meet your needs especially if you are stressed emotionally or are feeling like you are getting sick. The National Academy of Sciences recommends that women and men get 75-90mg of vitamin C per day respectively (6). However, if you are stressed you may need more than that.  Just to note, the Tolerable Upper Intake of vitamin C is 2000mg for adults, but if you are eating a whole foods diet, which I recommend for getting adequate vitamin c, you will probably never come close to that upper limit. Just continue to focus on getting multiple servings of raw fruits and vegetables per day and make sure they are as fresh as possible!

So get out your microplaner, and get out your fine mesh sieve, because you are going to want to make a big batch of this delicious tonic! It’s super tasty and easy…and it can help melt the stress away!

Ginger Citrus Spritzer
Makes 4 servings (you can easily double this recipe)

½ cup lemon and lime juice (~ 2 of each)
¼ cup raw local honey
2 thumbs lengths of ginger (2 T grated via microplaner)
1/8th teaspoon cayenne
Generous pinch of Real sea salt
Ice cubes
Sparkling water


Juice your lemons and limes until you have ½ cup of freshly squeezed juice, pour into a glass bowl or large liquid measuring cup. Add the honey and stir until dissolved. Peel the ginger by scraping the skin off with a spoon. Then using your microplaner, grate the ginger into a fine pulp. Measure 2 tablespoons of this pulp and add to your mixture. Then add the cayenne and the generous pinch sea salt and stir until dissolved. Pour the mixture into a sealable mason jar and allow to sit at least 4 hours of over night in the refrigerator. This ensures the best flavor.

Then place a fine mesh sieve over a large glass bowl and pour the mixture into the sieve. With the back of a large spoon scrape/push the ginger pulp back and forth against the sieve until no more juice remains and the pulp is dry. Discard the pulp and pour the remaining clear tonic into a sealable mason jar for storage. Keep in the refrigerator.

Now fill up a large glass with ice cubes, pour over 2 tablespoons of the ginger citrus tonic, and top off with sparkling water. And if you want to get extra fancy, swap the water with some champagne.

1. Viljoen E, Visser J, Koen N, et al. A systematic review and meta-analysis of the effect and safety of ginger in the treatment of pregnancy-associated nausea and vomiting. Nutrition Journal. 2014;13(20):1-14.
2. WHF. Ginger. Accessed June 19, 2015.
3.Kashefi F, Khajehei M, Alaviniia M, et al. Effect of Giner (Zingiber officinale) on Heavy Menstrual Bleeding: A Placebo-Controlled, Randomized Clinical Trial. Phytother Res.  2015;29:114-119.
4. Patak P, Willenberg HS, Bornstein SR. Vitamin C is an important cofactor for both adrenal cortex and adrenal medulla. Endocr Res. 2004;30(4):871-875.
5. WHF. Vitamin C. Accessed June 19, 2015.
6. Linus Pauling. Vitamin C. Accessed June 19, 2015.

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