Orange, ginger and blueberry cheesecake and does ginger really help with nausea?

Orange blueberry ginger cheesecakeI tend to get obsessed with particular ingredients and at the moment I am loving the combination of orange, ginger and blueberries. I used this combination in a cheesecake made with cream cheese and ricotta cheese, in an ‘ice ‘cream’ made with frozen coconut milk and Greek yoghurt and in a slice made with coconut flour and coconut cream. The orange and blueberries are mildly sweet and the ginger provides an extra zing.

So I am sure you have heard that ginger can ease nausea. I wondered if there was any actual scientific evidence to support this idea. I found a systematic review and meta-analysis published in 2014 in the Nutrition Journal. A meta-analysis combines data from previous studies and attempts to identify patterns using a common statistical measure shared among the studies. This review examined studies that assessed the effectiveness of ginger (Zingiber officinale) in the treatment of nausea and vomiting of pregnancy, commonly referred to as morning sickness. Only randomized controlled human trials were included. The authors looked at 12 studies that met their strict criteria after excluding 173. The dosing in these studies consisted of any form of orally administered ginger eg. fresh root, powder, tablets and tea, and the number of participants ranged from 26 up to 291.

Seven studies compared ginger to a placebo and all studies reported an improvement in nausea symptoms. The authors’ meta-analysis of 2 of the studies showed a statistically significant decrease. Four of the studies included in this review compared ginger to vitamin B6 for improving nausea symptoms. Although all four studies reported that ginger improved nausea symptoms compared to vitamin B6, meta-analysis failed to show a statistically significant difference. Two of the studies also compared ginger to currently used anti-nausea medications and while both studies reported improvements with ginger, no statistically significant differences could be detected. No major side effects or adverse events were reported in any of the studies (1).

I found another review published in 2013 in the journal Nutrition Reviews by Marx et al. This study specifically looked at published research from randomized controlled trials and crossover trials (subjects receive a sequence of different treatments) that evaluated the efficacy of ginger in the prevention of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV). The authors reviewed seven studies, which had sample sizes ranging from 30 participants up to 576 participants. Typical dosing regimens in these studies consisted of 1-2 grams of ginger divided into 4-8 capsules consumed over 1-10 days.

The results of the studies included in this review were mixed. Two of the seven studies reported no benefit, three reported some benefit on either acute nausea or acute and delayed nausea and vomiting and two reported that ginger performed as well as current anti-nausea medication (2).

It seems that ginger can offer some relief from nausea symptoms during pregnancy and following chemotherapy compared to taking nothing at all, however, ginger does not offer any improvement over other current treatment options. Because ginger has no side effects, it may be a safer option during pregnancy.

Whether ginger assists with nausea or not, it is delicious when combined with orange and blueberries in a cheesecake, ice cream or slice, so give this flavour combination a try.

Orange, ginger and blueberry cheesecake

Ingredients

Base

¾ cup walnuts

2 tablespoons homemade coconut butter or coconut oil

10 drops vanilla liquid stevia

1 tablespoon fresh orange juice

¼ cup coconut milk

¼ cup coconut flour

Filling

1 tub extra light cream cheese

½ cup ricotta cheese

½ cup coconut cream

Juice from 1 orange

Rind from ½ an orange, finely grated

¼ cup stevia

1 heaped teaspoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1 egg

1/3 cup frozen blueberries

Method

Base

  • Add the walnuts and coconut butter/oil to a food processor. Process until the walnuts resemble the texture of coarse crumbs. Tip the walnuts into a large mixing bowl.
  • Add the remaining ingredients and mix well to combine. The mixture should be quite thick and firm.
  • Press the base into a round baking tray lined with baking paper with wet hands.
  • Bake in the oven for 15 minutes at 160°C. Remove and allow to cool while you make the filling.

Filling

  • Add the cream cheese, ricotta cheese, coconut cream, orange juice, orange rind, stevia, ginger and cinnamon to a food processor and process until a smooth, even consistency is achieved.
  • Add the egg and process to combine. Add the blueberries and process briefly so that the blueberries are roughly chopped.
  • Pour the filling over the base and bake in the oven for 45 minutes at 160°C or until the cheesecake is firm.
  • Allow to cool completely then chill in the fridge before serving. I chilled this cheesecake overnight.Orange blueberry ginger ice cream

Orange, blueberry and ginger ‘ice cream’

Ingredients

250ml coconut milk

1 cup low fat Greek yoghurt

1 orange, peeled and cut into quarters

1 teaspoon ground ginger

5 drops vanilla liquid stevia

¼ cup blueberries

Method

  • Freeze the coconut milk and Greek yoghurt in ice cube trays or small containers.
  • Remove the frozen coconut milk and Greek yoghurt from the small ontainers if you did not use ice cube trays. Running hot water over the bottom of the containers will assist with this. Roughly chop the frozen coconut milk and Greek yoghurt with a sharp knife.
  • Gradually add the frozen chunks to a food processor, processing until the chunks are smooth.
  • Add the chopped orange, ginger and stevia and continue processing until the mixture is smooth.
  • Add the blueberries and briefly process to roughly chop the blueberries.
  • Divide the ‘ice cream’ between two bowls and freeze for an extra 30 minutes before serving for a firmer texture.
  • Sprinkle with some almonds to serve.

Orange ginger blueberry sliceOrange, ginger and blueberry slice

Ingredients

1 orange, peeled and cut into quarters

2 tablespoons homemade coconut butter

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

½ cup reduced fat coconut cream

1/3 cup sunflower seeds (I had these in the cupboard so I thought why not try them in this slice for some extra texture)

1 teaspoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ cup stevia

½ cup coconut flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ cup frozen blueberries

1 egg

Extra shredded or desiccated coconut to sprinkle on top

Method

  • Add the orange and the coconut butter into a food processor. Process until the orange is pulverized.
  • Add the coconut cream, vanilla extract, sunflower seeds, ginger, cinnamon and stevia and continue processing until the sunflower seeds are coarsely ground.
  • Meanwhile, mix the coconut flour and baking powder together in a large mixing bowl.
  • Pour the orange mixture in with the dry ingredients and mix to combine. Add the egg and blueberries and mix in.
  • Pour the slice mixture into a 20cm x 20cm baking tray lined with baking paper. Sprinkle with shredded or desiccated coconut and bake in the oven at 160°C for 40mins.
  1. Vilijoen, E., Visser, J., Koen, N. and Musekiwa, A. (2014). A systematic review and meta-analysis of the effect and safety of ginger in the treatment of pregnancy-associated nausea and vomiting. Nutritional Journal. 13: 20.
  2. Marx, W., Teleni, L., McCarthy, A., Vitetta, L., McKavanagh, D., Thomson, D. and Isenring, E. (2013). Ginger (Zingiber officinale) and chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting: a systematic literature review. 71: 245-254.

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