Ginger is among the healthiest (and most delicious) spices on the planet. It is loaded with nutrients and bioactive compounds that have powerful benefits for your body and brain.
Here are 11 health benefits of ginger that are supported by scientific research.
- IT CAN REDUCE YOUR RISK OF DIABETES
Scientists have linked some active compounds in ginger with improvements in insulin and metabolism. While some chemical compounds in ginger may decrease over time, the drying process enhances other beneficial ones.
- GINGER CONTAINS GINGEROL, A SUBSTANCE WITH POWERFUL MEDICINAL PROPERTIES
Ginger is a flowering plant that originated from China. It belongs to the Zingiberaceae family, and is closely related to turmeric, cardomon and galangal.
The rhizome (underground part of the stem) is the part commonly used as a spice. It is often called ginger root, or simply ginger.
Ginger has a very long history of use in various forms of traditional/alternative medicine. It has been used to help digestion, reduce nausea and help fight the flu and common cold, to name a few.
Ginger can be used fresh, dried, powdered, or as an oil or juice, and is sometimes added to processed foods and cosmetics. It is a very common ingredient in recipes.
The unique fragrance and flavor of ginger come from its natural oils, the most important of which is gingerol.
Gingerol is the main bioactive compound in ginger, responsible for much of its medicinal properties. It has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.
- ITS A NATURAL WAY TO RELIEVE PAIN PERIOD:
Out of all the research done on ginger’s pain relieving properties, results shows it helps with menstrual pain the most. Sipping ginger tea can also soothe nausea during that time of the month.
However, if you usually take acetaminophen or ibuprofen, it may not work as well.
Check with your doctor before trying any supplement in extract or pill form, since it may interact with other medications you are taking.
- IT CAN ALSO CURB MORNING SICKNESS
And speaking of an upset stomach, pregnant women in particular should take note: Ginger may help reduce symptoms of morning sickness! In fact, research supports the safety and efficacy of ginger during pregnancy, with some improvement in symptoms when compared to a placebo.
- GINGER IS ANTI-INFLAMMATORY: REDUCE MUSCLE PAIN AND SORENESS
Ginger has been shown to be effective against exercise-induced muscle pain. In one study, consuming 2 grams of ginger per day, for 11 days, significantly reduced muscle pain in people performing elbow exercises.
Ginger does not have an immediate impact, but may be effective at reducing the day-to-day progression of muscle pain. These effects are believed to be mediated by the anti-inflammatory properties.
It also helps with osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is a common health problem. It involves degeneration of the joints in the body, leading to symptoms like joint pain and stiffness.
In a controlled trial of 247 people with osteoarthritis of the knee, those who took ginger extract had less pain and required less pain medication.
- IT HELPS IN THE TREATMENT OF CHRONIC INDIGESTION
Chronic indigestion (dyspepsia) is characterized by recurrent pain and discomfort in the upper part of the stomach.
It is believed that delayed emptying of the stomach is a major driver of indigestion.
Interestingly, ginger has been shown to speed up emptying of the stomach in people with this condition.After eating soup, ginger reduced the time it took for the stomach to empty from 16 to 12 minutes.
In a study of 24 healthy individuals, 1.2 grams of ginger powder before a meal accelerated emptying of the stomach by 50%.
- GINGER CONTAINS A SUBSTANCE THAT MAY HELP PREVENT CANCER
Cancer is a very serious disease that is characterized by uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells.
Ginger extract has been studied as an alternative treatment for several forms of cancer.
The anti-cancer properties are attributed to 6-gingerol, a substance that is found in large amounts in raw ginger.
In a study of 30 individuals, 2 grams of ginger extract per day significantly reduced pro-inflammatory signalling molecules in the colon.
However, a follow-up study in individuals at a high risk of colon cancer did not confirm these findings.
There is some, albeit limited, evidence that ginger may be effective against pancreatic cancer, breast cancer and ovarian cancer but more research may be needed to ascertain this fact.
- GINGER PROTECT AGAINST ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE
Oxidative stress and chronic inflammation can accelerate the aging process. They are believed to be among the key drivers of Alzheimer’s disease and age-related cognitive decline.
Some studies in animals suggest that the antioxidants and bioactive compounds in ginger can inhibit inflammatory responses that occur in the brain.
There is also some evidence that ginger can enhance brain function directly. In a study of 60 middle-aged women, ginger extract was shown to improve reaction time and working memory.
There are also numerous studies in animals showing that ginger can protect against age-related decline in brain function.
Ginger is one of the very few “super foods” actually worthy of that term.