Unveiling the Unforeseen Health Perks of Gingerbread: Expert Nutritionist Reveals Surprising Benefits


Festive Gingerbread: Surprising Health Benefits of this Holiday Treat

Despite being made of cookies, your festive gingerbread house might have some surprising health benefits. Gingerbread, which has been made into little men and built into Christmassy shapes for hundreds of years, contains a number of ingredients that are actually great for you, according to nutritionist Hazel Flight, the head of the Nutrition and Health program at Edge Hill University in Ormskirk, Lancashire, England.

Stock image of a gingerbread house. The ingredients in gingerbread may have surprising health benefits. Credit: iStock / Getty Images Plus

Ginger: More than Just a Flavoring Agent

Ginger has long been used in traditional medicine, aiding with digestion and helping to alleviate nausea in cases of illness and travel sickness. A 2020 paper in the journal Nutrients analyzed the health benefits of ginger and found it to be effective in alleviating nausea and vomiting, improving digestive function, reducing the risk of colorectal cancer, and exhibiting anti-inflammatory functions. Other research has suggested that ginger may also help fight off cold and flu symptoms, ease arthritis, and alleviate menstrual pain.

Molasses: A Nutrient-Rich Sweetener

Gingerbread also contains molasses, a dark, thick syrup rich in vitamin B6, magnesium, potassium, iron, calcium, and antioxidants. These nutrients are essential for bone and hair health, preventing anemia, and protecting the body’s cells against damaging free radicals, which can lead to genetic mutations.

Cinnamon: A Multi-Benefit Spice

Cinnamon, another major ingredient of gingerbread, has a wide variety of benefits to the human body. Besides being an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic, and antimicrobial compound, cinnamon has been reported to have activities against neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. It can also help reduce cholesterol, blood pressure, and improve dental hygiene.

Stock image of cinnamon sticks
Stock image of cinnamon sticks. Cinnamon has a number of health benefits. Credit: iStock / Getty Images Plus

Nutmeg: A Powerful Spice for Health

Nutmeg, used in small amounts when baking gingerbread, has been found to be linked to reduced inflammation and heart health benefits. According to a 2023 paper in the journal Scientific African, nutmeg contains biomolecules of high medicinal properties that can be harnessed for the development of new therapeutics, especially against drug-resistant bacterial infections.

So, all in all, despite gingerbread’s high levels of sugar and butter, it might end up helping you in ways you didn’t realize this Christmas. The combination of ginger, molasses, cinnamon, and nutmeg brings together not just the traditional festive flavors, but also a range of potential health benefits.

Uncommon Knowledge

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.


Micheal Kurt

I earned a bachelor's degree in exercise and sport science from Oregon State University. He is an avid sports lover who enjoys tennis, football, and a variety of other activities. He is from Tucson, Arizona, and is a huge Cardinals supporter.

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