Originating from Southeast Asia, ginger is one of the world’s healthiest vegetables (or spices). As a part of the Zingiberaceae family, ginger is related to cardamom, turmeric, and galangal. The underground part of the stem, known as the rhizome, is mostly used as a spice. Whether used in fresh, dried, or powdered form, ginger offers many health benefits to the human body.
Here are some of the most prominent benefits of ginger.
Has Powerful Anti-Inflammatory Effects
For ages, ginger has been used in many forms of traditional and alternative medicine. Gingerol is the most important component of ginger that gives it its unique flavor and fragrance. This chief bioactive compound is what is responsible for most of the ginger’s medicinal properties.
Ginger has potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. For example, according to research, it helps reduce oxidative stress resulting from excessive quantities of free radicals present in the body.
Can Treat Nausea
Ginger is great for preventing all types of nausea. It helps relieve feelings of nausea and vomiting for those undergoing certain surgeries and helps with chemotherapy-related nausea. However, ginger is most effective at relieving nausea experience during pregnancy, specifically morning sickness.
It’s important to remember that you must consult a doctor to find out the recommended quantities of ginger to consume during pregnancy.
May be Used for Weight Loss
Studies conducted on humans and animals have revealed that ginger is an effective ingredient for weight loss. A 2019 study suggests that incorporating ginger in a diet helps boost weight loss and reduces the waist-hip ratio in overweight or obese people.
Another study conducted in 2016, comprised of 80 women, revealed that ginger helps reduce blood insulin levels alongside the body mass index (BMI). Ginger aids in weight loss probably because it helps reduce inflammation and increase the number of calories burned.
Can Lower Blood Sugar
Although not much research has been done in this area, the research conducted until now suggests that ginger contains powerful anti-diabetic properties. A 2015 study on those with type 2 diabetes revealed that consuming ginger powder daily reduced their fasting blood sugar by almost 12%. Ginger was also shown to significantly increase hemoglobin, a marker for long-term blood sugar levels.
Is Great for Chronic Indigestion
Chronic indigestion includes symptoms such as pain in the upper portion of the stomach. The delayed emptying of the stomach is typically believed to be the chief cause of chronic indigestion. Studies revealed that ginger helps empty the stomach very quickly, reducing indigestion problems.
However, it is also important to note that ginger has the same impact on those without indigestion problems. Consuming ginger generally leads to the accelerated emptying of the stomach.
May Lessen Menstrual Pain
A majority of women around the world experience severe pain during their menstrual cycle. Generally, nothing seems to be of much help during this time, but studies have revealed the menstrual pain-relieving effects of ginger.
A recent study revealed that ginger proved to be far more effective than a placebo and almost as effective as other pain-relieving drugs. Although the research findings on the impact of ginger on menstrual pain have been quite promising, more research is required in the field.
May Help Prevent Cancer
Ginger has been suggested to have an impact on several types of cancer. Gingerol, a prominent property of ginger, is known for its anti-cancer properties. A study conducted on those with colorectal cancer revealed that the consumption of just a few grams of ginger extract per day led to a considerable reduction in the pro-inflammatory molecules.
A few studies have also concluded ginger as an effective ingredient against gastrointestinal cancers, including liver and pancreatic cancer. While there is some evidence in this regard, it is believed to be quite limited. Some research studies have also shown ginger to be effective against ovarian and breast cancer. However, overall more research is required in this field.
May Improve Brain Function
Chronic inflammation and oxidative stress are two of the chief contributors to premature aging. These factors are believed to be amongst the major drivers of Alzheimer’s and cognitive decline due to aging. Research conducted on animals suggests that the bioactive compounds and antioxidants present in ginger reduce the inflammatory responses of the brain.
Some evidence also suggests that ginger helps improve brain functions, such as working memory and reaction time. Many studies on animals also showed the potential of ginger to protect against age-related brain function decline.
Can Help Fight Infections
With its amazing medicinal properties, gingerol, an active substance of ginger, can help lower the risk of infections. According to research, the ginger extract helps control the growth of many types of bacteria. A 2008 study revealed that ginger effectively controlled oral bacteria, leading to inflammatory gum diseases, such as gingivitis. Another research revealed that fresh ginger is quite effective against the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).
The Bottom Line
Ginger is a popular spice that is packed with some great nutrients and bioactive compounds. The benefits of ginger, including its impact on your brain and body, are unlimited. This superfood can be incorporated into your diet through what you eat and drink. From cooking dishes that include ginger, such as ginger chicken, to having fresh ginger tea, you can easily include this great spice in your everyday diet.