Ginger is a flowering plant whose rhizome (ginger root or simply “ginger”) is widely used as a spice or a folk medicine. The root or underground stem (rhizome) of the ginger plant can be consumed fresh, powdered, dried as a spice, in oil form or as juice.
Ginger, a common ingredient in Asian and Indian cuisine, is among the healthiest and delicious spices on earth. It is loaded with nutrients and bioactive compounds that have powerful benefits to our health.
Ginger has been used for its medicinal properties for centuries and it has been proven to have so many health benefits, ranging from healthier skin, reducing inflammation, balancing blood sugar and supporting good heart health.
In this revealing article, I will be sharing with you 10 proven health benefits of ginger, it nutritional profile and risk and warning in consuming too much ginger.
Ginger has been long used as a sea sickness remedy and there may be some evidence that it may be as effective as prescription medication for nausea and pregnancy-related nausea commonly called morning sickness.
According to AuthorityNutrition, a 12 studies that included a total of 1,278 pregnant women, 1.1 – 1.5 grams of ginger was said to have significantly reduced symptoms of nausea. However, ginger had no effect on vomiting episodes in this study.
Despite the fact that ginger is considered safe to consume, talk to your doctor before taking large amounts if you are pregnant. There are beliefs that large amounts can raise the risk of miscarriage, but there are currently no studies to support this though.
Drinking ginger tea during cold weather is a good way to keep warm. Ginger is diaphoretic, which means that it promotes sweating, working to warm the body from within.
You can make ginger tea at home by slicing 20 to 40 grams of fresh ginger and steep in a cup of hot water. You can add one spoon of honey or a slice of lemon to add flavor plus additional benefits such as Vitamin C.
This is a common health problem which involves degeneration of the joints in the body, leading to symptoms like joint pain and stiffness.
Studies have shown that ginger has anti-inflammatory effect on osteoarthritis, which can lead to less pain and reducing other symptoms of osteoarthritis.
#4: Digestive Issues
Ginger appears to be effective against dyspepsia (chronic indigestion). It is believed that delayed emptying of the stomach is a major driver of indigestion. However, ginger has shown to speed up emptying of the stomach in people with this condition.
The phenolic compounds in ginger are known to help relieve gastrointestinal irritation, stimulate saliva and bile production and suppress gastric contractions and movement of food and fluids through the GI tract.
Dysmenorrhea, commonly referred to as ‘menstrual pain’, refers to pain felt during a woman’s menstrual cycle. Ginger has been found to reduce these symptoms.
In one study, 83% of women taking ginger capsules reported improvements in pain symptoms compared to 47% of those on placebo.
In another study carried out at the University of Georgia involving 74 volunteers, it was found out that daily intake of ginger supplement reduced exercise-induced muscle pain by 25%. This herbal tea found here is very effective in treating menstrual and ulcer pain.
#6: High Blood Sugar
Diabetes is a metabolic condition that some people are born with and others may develop over time. It affects the way people produce or respond to insulin, which in turn affects the way your body processes sugar.
For years, ginger has been shown to help reduce blood sugar levels and help regulate insulin response in people with diabetes.
According to a Healthline report, a 2014 animal study was carried out with obese rats with diabetes and were given cinnamon and ginger. These rats experienced a wealth of benefits, including;
- reduced body weight
- reduced body fat mass
- decreased blood sugar levels
- increased insulin levels
In another study in 2015, ginger powder supplements was shown to help improve fasting blood sugar. Participants in this study were given 2 grams of ginger everyday for 12 weeks. At the end of the study, researchers found that people in this group also experienced lower levels of:
- hemoglobin A1c
- apolipoprotein B
- apolipoprotein A-1 and
These are major risk factors for heart problems and studies found that ginger might help protect against this problem.
In another recent 2015 study of 41 participants with type 2 diabetes, 2 grams of ginger powder per day lowered fasting blood sugar by 12%.
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IMPORTANT NOTICE: You shouldn’t consume more than 4 grams of ginger per day. Consult your doctor before consuming ginger if you are diabetic.
Cancer is an uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells. Although more research is needed, but it has been shown that ginger extract has been effective as a treatment for several forms of cancer.
The anti-cancer properties are attributed to 6-gingerol, a substance that is found in large amounts of raw ginger.
According to a report from AuthorityNutrition, 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. More research is needed to actually prove these claims.
#8: High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a common disease in which blood flows through blood vessels (arteries) at higher than normal pressures. For years, ginger has been used to lower blood pressure in people living with this condition.
The chemical compound in ginger is a potent blood thinner and anti-inflammatory agent that can help you reduce your blood pressure. You can try commercial organic ginger teas, or make your own from ginger root. Simply chop the root into small pieces and boil for about five minutes. You can also use sliced or grated ginger to spice up any dish.
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Ginger is anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal. Gingerol, the bioactive substance in fresh ginger, can help lower the risk of infections.
Ginger is very effective against the oral bacteria linked to inflammatory diseases in the gums, such as gingivitis and periodontitis. In fact, ginger extract can inhibit the growth of many different types of bacteria.
It may also be effective against the RSV virus, a common cause of respiratory infections.
#10: Cholesterol Levels
Your total cholesterol level is the overall amount of cholesterol found in your blood. It consists of low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and high-density lipoproteins (HDL). LDL is also called “bad” cholesterol because it blocks your blood vessels and increases your risk of heart disease.
The major factor that influences this problem is the food we eat. So you need to watch what you take into your body.
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.
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How to Incorporate Ginger into Your Diet
- Add fresh ginger into your next smoothie or juice
- Add fresh or dried ginger to your next stir-fry or homemade salad dressing
- Steep peeled fresh ginger in boiling water to make your own ginger tea
- Use fresh or dried ginger to spice up any fish recipe.
- You can even add it to your soup (grind it along with your tomatoes and pepper) or add little ginger powder to your beans (as one of my friends usually does).
Ginger – Nutritional Profile
Ginger provides a variety of vitamins and minerals and are listed below for your information:
- Carbohydrate – 17.77 g
- Dietary Fiber – 2 g
- Protein – 1.82 g
- Sugars – 1.7 g
- Sodium – 13 mg
- Vitamin B6 – 0.16 mg
- Calcium – 16 mg
- Iron – 0.6 mg
- Vitamin C – 5 mg
- Potassium – 415 mg
- Magnesium – 43 mg
- Phosphorus – 34 mg
- Zinc – 0.34 mg
- Folate – 11 mcg
- Riboflavin – 0.034 mg
- Niacin – 0.75 mg
Figures above are per 100g of ginger.
Risks and Warnings
Although, many studies showed that ginger could be of benefit to our overall health, you should take precautions when consuming it.
Do not consume more than 4 grams of ginger per day. Although side effects are rare, it’s possible to experience heartburn, diarrhea, and upset stomach if you eat ginger in large amounts.
Pregnant women should speak with their doctors about recommended use. It’s typically thought that pregnant woman shouldn’t eat more than 1 gram of ginger per day.
Speak with your doctor if you’re taking any blood-thinning medications. Ginger can also have blood-thinning effects, which can increase your risk of excessive bleeding.
You should also consult your doctor if you’re taking any blood pressure medications. Ginger can lower your blood pressure, which can cause irregular heartbeats.
Here you have it, 10 proven health benefits of ginger for your wellbeing. Do you take ginger? Do you feel or see any health benefit in your body while taking ginger? Or you have any question regarding ginger and your health? Share with us using the comment form below.