Ginger is among the healthiest (and most delicious) spice on the planet. Ginger is a flowering plant that originated in 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. It is enriched with nutrients and bioactive compounds that have powerful benefits for the human body.
Here are 11 health benefits of ginger that are supported by scientific research:
1) Ginger Contains Gingerol, a Substance With Powerful Medicinal Properties.
It has been used to help digestion, reduce nausea and help fight the flu and common cold. Gingerol is the main bioactive compound in ginger, responsible for much of its medicinal properties. It has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effect.
2. Ginger Can Treat Many Forms of Nausea, Especially Morning Sickness.
Ginger may also relieve nausea and vomiting after surgery, and in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy: 1 to 1.5 grams of ginger can help prevent various types of nausea. This also applies to sea sickness, chemotherapy-related nausea, nausea after surgery and morning sickness.
3. Ginger May Reduce Muscle Pain and Soreness
Ginger has been shown to be effective against exercise-induced muscle pain. Ginger does not have an immediate impact, but may be effective at reducing the day-to-day progression of muscle pain.
4. The Anti-Inflammatory Effects Can Help With Osteoarthritis.
There have been studies performed that show ginger to be effective at reducing symptoms of osteoarthritis, which is a very common health problem.
5. Ginger May Drastically Lower Blood Sugars and Improve Heart Disease Risk Factors
This area of research is relatively new, but ginger may have powerful anti-diabetic properties. Ginger has been shown to lower blood sugar levels and improve various heart disease risk factors in patients with type 2 diabetes.
6. Ginger Can Help Treat 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. Ginger appears to speed up emptying of the stomach, which can be beneficial for people with indigestion and related stomach discomfort.
7. Ginger Powder May Significantly Reduce Menstrual Pain.
Menstrual pain (dysmenorrhea) refers to pain felt during a woman’s menstrual cycle. One of the traditional uses of ginger is for pain relief, including menstrual pain. In one study, 150 women were instructed to take 1 gram of ginger powder per day, for the first 3 days of the menstrual period. Ginger managed to reduce pain as effectively as the drugs mefenamic acid and ibuprofen. Ginger appears to be very effective against menstrual pain when taken at the beginning of the menstrual period.
8. Ginger May Lower Cholesterol Levels
High levels of LDL lipoproteins (the “bad” cholesterol) are linked to an increased risk of heart disease. The foods you eat can have a strong influence on LDL levels.
In a 45-day study, of 85 individuals with high cholesterol, 3 grams of ginger powder caused significant reductions in most cholesterol markers.This is supported by a study in hypothyroid rats, where ginger extract lowered LDL cholesterol to a similar extent as the cholesterol-lowering drug atorvastatin. Both studies also showed reductions in total cholesterol and blood triglycerides. There is some evidence, in both animals and humans, that ginger can lead to significant reductions in LDL cholesterol and blood triglyceride levels.
9. 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. There is some, albeit limited, evidence that ginger may be effective against pancreatic cancer, breast cancer and ovarian cancer. More research is needed.
Ginger contains a substance called 6-gingerol, which may have protective effects against cancer. However, this needs future study.
10. Ginger May Improve Brain Function and 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. Research performed on 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. The studies suggest that ginger can protect against age-related damage to the brain. It can also improve brain function in elderly women.
11. The Active Ingredient in Ginger Can Help Fight Infections
Gingerol, the bioactive substance in fresh ginger, can help lower the risk of infections. In fact, ginger extract can inhibit the growth of many different types of bacteria. It is very effective against the oral bacteria linked to inflammatory diseases in the gums, such as gingivitis and periodontitis.
Fresh ginger may also be effective against the RSV virus, a common cause of respiratory infections.
Ginger/Lemon Detox Tea Recipes
- 4-6 thin slices raw ginger (or more, depending on how strong you want it!)
- 1 1/2 – 2 cups water
- juice from 1/2 lime, or to taste (optional, but delicious)
- 1-2 tbsp honey or agave nectar, or to taste (also optional but delicious).