I travel a lot. When I was on the road full time, there were months I’d give over 40 presentations in 30 days across dozens of cities. My speaking schedule is still fuller than I’d like (especially now that I can save lives online in my jammies!), but I do love meeting folks face to face. One problem I’ve always had, though, is motion sickness. Whether in planes, trains, or automobiles I’ve struggled my whole life getting nauseated in moving vehicles
As a physician I can prescribe myself an array of powerful anti-nausea drugs, but I’ve always strived to find natural remedies for myself and my patients to avert the risks of side-effects (which take the lives of more than 100,000 Americans every year).
As I noted in my video Dangerous Advice From Health Food Store Employees, ginger has been found to be an effective remedy for nausea. Though used for thousands of years in traditional healing systems (in India it’s known as maha aushadhi, meaning “the great medicine”), ginger wasn’t proven to reduce nausea until 1982 when it beat out Dramamine in a head-to-head test in volunteers spun blindfolded in a tilted rotating chair. Ginger is now considered a nontoxic broad-spectrum antiemetic (anti-vomiting agent) effective in countering nausea during motion sickness, pregnancy, chemo, radiation, and after surgery.
I’ve tried nearly every ginger candy, chew, syrup, tea, ale and gum on the market and found them to be uniformly wimpy. At the other end of spectrum I’ve cringed on an eye-watering variety of fresh ginger extracts and glycerites. I needed to find something that packed a punch without actually burning my mouth. That’s how this recipe was born:
Lemon-Ginger Apple Chews
- 1 whole peeled lemon
- 1 hand of ginger
- 1 finger of turmeric root (omit for use during pregnancy)
- 4 apples, thinly sliced
Liquify the lemon, ginger, and turmeric in a high speed blender. Coat the apple slices with the blended mixture and place in a dehydrater until desired chewiness. I like them a little moist, but they can be also be dehydrated further into crispy apple chips for longer storage. For me, a few pieces eaten about 20 minutes before travel works wonders.
I imagine mangoes would work well too. Please let me know in the comment section below if you come up with any yummy variations.
Ginger is generally considered safe during pregnancy, but the maximum recommended daily dose of fresh ginger during pregnancy is 20 grams (about 4 teaspoons of freshly grated). More than that may have uterine-stimulating effects. So those using these to combat morning sickness should spread this recipe out over several days. There is insufficient safety data regarding the use of turmeric during pregnancy, and so the turmeric should be omitted from the recipe for use for morning sickness. And because of the soluble oxalates in turmeric, even if not pregnant I wouldn’t recommend eating more than a half a batch a day.
Ginger also has all sorts of other wonderful properties. See for example Plants vs. Pesticides and Amyloid and Apple Juice. Reducing Radiation Damage With Ginger And Lemon Balm from my volume 13 DVD should be up on NutritionFacts.org in a month or so.
Dried apples are pretty amazing in their own right. See Dried Apples Versus Cholesterol. Make sure to cut off brown spots (Fungal Toxins in Apples) and leave them unpeeled (Apple Skin: Peeling Back Cancer). Which apple may be best? I just use whatever I can find at my local farmer’s market, but feel free to check out my video The Healthiest Apple. And if you’re wondering why the lemon? You probably missed Which Fruit Fights Cancer Better?
-Michael Greger, M.D.
If you take any plant, burn it to ash, throw the ash in a pot of water, stir it around, skim it off and then let the water evaporate, you’ll be left with a white residue at the bottom known as pot ash. It has been used since the dawn of history for everything from making soap, glass, fertilizers, and bleach. It was not until 1807, when a new element was discovered in this so-called “vegetable alkali.” They called it pot ashium—potassium. True story, which I bring up only to emphasize the most concentrated source in our diet, plants.
Every cell in the body requires the element potassium to function. As I detail in my 2-min. video 98% of American Diets Potassium Deficient, for much of the last 3 million years or so, we ate so many plants that we probably got 10,000 mg of potassium in our daily diet. Today, we’d be lucky to get 3,000.
Less than 2% of Americans even get the recommended minimum adequate intake of 4,700 a day. To get even the adequate intake, the average American would have to eat like 5 more bananas worth of potassium a day. 98% of Americans eat potassium deficient diets because they don’t eat enough plants.
Why do we care? A review of all the best studies ever done on potassium intake and it’s relationship to two of our top killers, stroke and heart disease, was recently published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. A 1600 mg per day higher potassium intake was associated with a 21% lower risk of stroke. That still wouldn’t get the average American up to the minimum adequate intake, but it might be able to wipe out a fifth of their stroke risk. The paper concludes: “These results support recommendations for higher consumption of potassium-rich foods to prevent vascular diseases.”
What does “potassium-rich foods” mean? Find out in my 2-min. video 98% of American Diets Potassium Deficient. Hint: bananas don’t even make it into the top 50 sources!
People eating plant-based diets are often asked where they get their protein (and have to explain that plants are the preferred source). Maybe they should then ask where people eating conventional diets get their potassium–or their fiber for that matter *see Relieving Yourself of Excess Estrogen). For more on what we evolved to eat, see Paleolithic Lessons.
The banana listing reminds me of a similarly humorous finding about the levels of eyesight-saving nutrients in eggs versus greens. See Egg Industry Blind Spot.
Bananas are also kind of pitiful antioxidant-wise (see Best Berries and Which Fruit Fights Cancer Better?). Is it worth going out of our way to eat plants with the most antioxidants, though? See Anti-Inflammatory Antioxidants to find out.
-Michael Greger, M.D.
Image credit: 24oranges.nl / Flickr