What is ginger?
Ginger belongs to the same family as turmeric and cardamom. Native to Southeast Asia, India, and China, ginger is an integral component of the region’s diet and is valued for its aromatic, culinary, and medicinal properties.
Although we may be more familiar with recipe favorites like gingerbread or ginger biscuits, ginger is more than just a flavoring – it’s been used for its medicinal properties throughout the ages.
Benefits of ginger may include:
1. May be used to treat fever or cold
2. May reduce sickness
3. Topically applied it may relieve pain
4. Has anti-inflammatory qualities
5. May calm the digestive system
6. May support heart health
7. May lower blood pressure
8. May lower blood sugar
9. May support the liver
10. May reduce menstrual pain
11. May aid in weight management
Nutritional profile of fresh ginger:
4g serving of fresh ginger provides:
• 2 kcals / 8 kJ
• 0.1g protein
• 0.3g carbohydrate
• 0.1g fibre
• 17mg potassium
6 Proven Health Benefits of Ginger are:
1. Contains gingerol, which has potent medicinal properties
Ginger has a long history of use in various forms of traditional and alternative medicine. It’s been used to aid digestion, reduce nausea, and help fight the flu and common cold, to name a few of its purposes.
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. It’s responsible for many of ginger’s medicinal properties.
Gingerol has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. For instance, it may help reduce oxidative stress, which results from having too many free radicals in the body.
2. Relieves Nausea and Upset Stomach
One of the most well-known health side effects of ginger is its ability to relieve nausea. Whether it’s from motion sickness, migraines, morning sickness, or general stomach problems, ginger helps calm an upset stomach.
It does so with its anti-inflammatory properties, better digestive responsiveness, and hormones that regulate blood pressure to calm the body.
3. Has anti-inflammatory properties
The fresh root is rich in volatile oils that contain active components, these include gingerol. This potent anti-inflammatory compound is believed to explain why people with osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis who consume ginger regularly experience reductions in their pain levels as well as improvements in mobility.
4. It May Be Effective for People With Diabetes
Supplementing with ginger may be a helpful way for people with type 2 diabetes to improve their blood sugar control and reduce their risk of heart disease.
In a 2020 study that included 103 people with type 2 diabetes, the participants who were supplemented with 1.2 grams of ginger per day for three months experienced a greater reduction in total cholesterol and fasting blood sugar levels compared to those who took a placebo.
A 2022 review also found that ginger supplementation led to significant reductions in fasting blood sugar, the long-term blood sugar control marker hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), and both systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels in people with type 2 diabetes compared to control groups.
5. It May Support Weight Loss
Although diet and physical activity are the most important factors in reaching and maintaining a healthy weight, research suggests that ginger supplements may help encourage weight loss in some people.
A 2019 review that included 14 studies found that supplementation with ginger significantly reduced body weight and waist-to-hip ratio in people with overweight or obese. The waist-to-hip ratio is a measurement that compares your hip size to your waist size. A higher ratio indicates more abdominal fat, which is linked to increased disease risk.
Researchers think that ginger may help stimulate weight loss by enhancing fat burning, inhibiting fat absorption in the digestive tract, and reducing appetite. Although these findings are encouraging, more research is needed to understand how ginger impacts body weight and weight loss efforts.
6. Can help treat chronic indigestion
Ginger may help manage indigestion by speeding up the passage of food through the stomach.
Functional dyspepsia is when a person has indigestion — with symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, feeling too full, belching, and nausea — for no clear reason. It often occurs with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
In one study, scientistsTrusted Source found that consuming a ginger and artichoke preparation before eating a main meal significantly improved the symptoms of indigestion in people with functional dyspepsia, compared with taking a placebo.
How to Take Ginger
Ginger is available in many forms, such as capsules, tablets, powders, and liquid supplements. When you take ginger depends on what you’re hoping to treat. For example, in the 2020 study that found that ginger supplements were effective in reducing blood sugar and cholesterol in people with diabetes, the participants were instructed to take two ginger capsules per day, one 30 minutes before breakfast and the other 30 minutes before lunch.
Many studies that have investigated the effects of ginger on human health have used divided doses, meaning smaller doses of ginger were taken multiple times per day
In addition to taking ginger supplements, ginger can also be consumed in its fresh or dried form by adding it to recipes and beverages like teas and smoothies.