Ginger is a flowering plant that originated in Southeast Asia and has been used for centuries in traditional medicine and cuisine. The rhizome or root of the ginger plant is well known for its rich flavor profile and health-promoting properties. In recent years, research has confirmed many of the traditional uses of ginger and revealed even more ways that this humble root can benefit human health. From fighting inflammation to aiding digestion, ginger is an easy and delicious way to boost overall well-being.
What Are The Benefits Of Ginger?
Ginger contains a diversity of phytochemicals and bioactive compounds that make it a veritable powerhouse of nutritional benefits. Here are some of the top ways ginger can help improve health:
💠 Reduces Nausea
Ginger has long been used as a natural remedy for motion sickness and morning sickness. Studies show that ginger is highly effective at reducing nausea and vomiting. The compounds gingerol and shogaol are believed to be the active ingredients contributing to ginger’s anti-emetic effects.
💠 Aids Digestion
Ginger has carminative properties, meaning it helps reduce gas and bloating. It speeds up the movement of food through the gastrointestinal tract. Ginger also appears to have benefits for individuals with dyspepsia or irritable bowel syndrome. It helps relax the intestinal tract.
💠 Anti-Inflammatory Effects
Inflammation underlies many chronic diseases. The antioxidants in ginger exhibit strong anti-inflammatory actions by inhibiting inflammatory compounds like cytokines and reducing oxidative stress. This makes ginger protective against many inflammation-related disorders.
💠 May Lower Blood Sugar
Ginger appears to reduce fasting blood sugar levels. It also helps improve long-term blood sugar control in individuals with type 2 diabetes. This makes ginger a promising complementary therapy for diabetes management.
💠 May Reduce Pain
Ginger oil is often applied topically to treat muscle soreness and joint pain associated with arthritis or injury. When taken orally, ginger also seems to be moderately effective against menstrual pain. The pain-relieving effects are attributed to the anti-inflammatory properties.
💠 May Support Heart Health
Ginger shows the potential for promoting healthy cholesterol levels and blood circulation. Animal studies also indicate ginger protects the heart against oxidative damage and atherosclerosis development. More human research is still needed in this area.
💠 May Aid Immunity
With its concentration of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory actions, ginger can help strengthen the immune system and prevent disease. Some research indicates fresh ginger may inhibit the growth of some viruses.
How To Consume Ginger On A Daily Basis?
Fortunately, there are many easy and delicious ways to add ginger to your daily diet:
- Start your morning with ginger tea – Simply simmer fresh ginger root slices or ground ginger in hot water for 5-10 minutes. Add lemon, honey, cinnamon, or other spices to taste. Sip this healing tea first thing in the morning.
- Toss it in smoothies – Blend grated or chopped ginger root into your favorite smoothies. It combines especially well with fruits like mango and pineapple. About 1 teaspoon per smoothie is a good amount.
- Use it in marinades and stir-fries – Mix minced or grated ginger into Asian-style marinades for meats, tofu, or vegetables. You can also add it toward the end when stir-frying dishes. Use about 1 tablespoon per main dish recipe.
- Bake with ginger – Add freshly grated ginger to cookie, muffin, and cake batters. About 1 teaspoon per baked good recipe imparts a lovely flavor without overpowering. You can also sprinkle chopped crystallized ginger on top.
- Make ginger water – Infuse sliced ginger in a pitcher of water and keep it in the fridge for a refreshing ginger-flavored beverage you can drink throughout the day.
- Take ginger supplements – If you don’t use ginger much in cooking, supplements in capsule, tablet, or liquid extract form provide concentrated doses of ginger’s active compounds. Follow label directions for dosage.
Ginger offers an abundance of health benefits thanks to its various antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, and phytochemicals. Consuming it regularly may help reduce inflammation, ease digestive distress, manage blood sugar, relieve pain, and strengthen immunity. Fortunately, ginger is very flexible to use – add it to beverages, cooked dishes, baked goods, and more. Just 1 teaspoon a few times per week can make a difference. Give your health a boost with the amazing root that is ginger.
A: Yes, for most people ginger is very safe to consume every day. Moderate amounts of about 2-4 grams per day have not been shown to cause any side effects in most individuals. Still, excessive doses of ginger may irritate the mouth or cause mild gastrointestinal upset in sensitive people.
A: Using fresh ginger root in cooking, teas, smoothies, and other prepared dishes is considered the optimal way to get its benefits. The root contains the full spectrum of ginger’s protective compounds. Supplements can provide concentrated doses but lack the natural synergy of the whole food.
A: Some preliminary research in animals and humans shows ginger may help increase fat burning, reduce appetite, and aid weight loss. However, more robust clinical studies are still needed. Using ginger to flavor healthy foods and drinks that help reduce calorie intake may support weight management.
A: In food amounts, ginger is likely safe for pregnant women and often used to alleviate morning sickness. But in supplement form, doses over 1 gram per day should be avoided during pregnancy. Always consult your doctor before using ginger supplements when pregnant.
A: Ginger may increase the risk of bleeding or potentiate the effects of anticoagulant and antiplatelet medications. It may also affect blood sugar control for diabetics on certain medications or using insulin. Check with your doctor about ginger interactions with any prescribed drugs you take. Limit ginger intake and monitor closely.