- How to Consume Ginger
- Side Effects of Ginger
- Health Benefits of Ginger
There are so many health benefits of ginger (Zingiber officials) that it is included as a treatment in many traditional medicines including Ayurveda, Chinese medicine, Thai medicine and Japanese Kampo medicine. Modern research is finally catching up with what these ancient cultures already knew and are proving that ginger can indeed cure many ailments.
Ginger is part of the Zingiberaceae family, and it’s closely related to cardamom, turmeric, and galangal. The ginger root is actually a rhizome, the underground part of the stem, which is used as a spice. You can grow ginger in your garden if you live in a tropical area or in a pot. Ginger is originally from India, so this perennial plant likes a lot of humidity.
How to Consume Ginger
Health benefits of ginger can be taken in supplement forms such as ginger capsules or ginger tincture. There are many companies that sell ginger tea, but you can also make your own by brewing the fresh root cut in pieces. Ginger can be turned into an oil or used as ginger powder in cooking. Ginger essential oil is also quite handy.
Dried ginger is a delicious snack and you can also make ginger juice. I include ginger into my juicer with other ingredients such as carrots, beets, celery, apples, pineapple, turmeric and among others, to reduce the kick. Those who are brave enough can drink it straight or dilute it with water. Ginger beer is a carbonated drink made from ginger and there is ginger wine as well. This spice can be added to dressings, soups, and curries.
Side Effects of Ginger
Common side effects of ginger include upset stomach, heartburn, diarrhea, swelling, hives and breathing issues.
Ginger is considered safe for pregnant woman, unless there is history of miscarriage. It should not be taken with blood thinning medication or aspirin, since it can affect blood clots. This spice can also worsen a pre-existing acid reflux condition. People with gallstone problems should be very cautious of the health benefits of ginger since it can increase bile production, causing the stone to create a block in the bile flow.
Health Benefits of Ginger
Health benefits of ginger can be obtained from the vitamins B1, B2, and B6 which it contains. These vitamins are important to break down proteins, fats and sugar in the body. It also contains folate, vitamin C, niacin and riboflavin. Ginger has magnesium which reduces muscle cramps and potassium that regulates blood pressure. As well as other minerals such as iron, sodium, phosphorus and zinc. This spice is also rich in protein, dietary fiber and carbohydrates.
Beta-carotene, capsaicin, caffein acid, curcumin, pantothenic acid, and salicylate are anti-inflammatory and antioxidants which are found in ginger. Other active compounds such as flavonoids, paradox, terpenoids, shagaol, zerumbone and zingerone provide health benefits of ginger.
Ginger is great for people who work out which can accumulate muscle pain and soreness. Anti-inflammatory properties of this spice can help manage pain. Studies show that consuming raw or heat-treated ginger daily helps reduce muscle pain from exercise injury.
Ginger was my go to herb during the first trimester since I had a lot of nausea. It is one of the only herbs you are allowed to use during pregnancy. Taking a dose bellow 1,500 mg per day is safe and does not increase risk of miscarriage, drowsiness or heart burn. Ginger is more effective at reducing nausea than treating vomiting problems.
You can drink up to four cups (950 ml) of ginger tea, 1 teaspoon (5 grams) of freshly grated ginger, 1/2 teaspoon (10 ml of syrup) or eat two 1-inch (2.5-cm) pieces of crystalized ginger according to a study. Health benefits of ginger can’t be used for pregnant women who have had a miscarriage or have clotting disorders.
Ginger can also help control nausea in people who have been through surgeries without any side effects. It can also help manage migraine since nausea is a symptom of migraines. This spice is also helpful for patients that are receiving chemotherapy for cancer treatment. It can alleviate their nausea without the side effects of medication.
Studies show that health benefits of ginger include its ability to destroy cancer, especially ovarian cancer cells. Ginger causes these cells to attack and kill themselves. It can be used as a treatment, as well as for prevention purposes. Gingerol, which is found in the raw root, is the anti-inflammatory compound that makes it anti cancer.
Health benefits of ginger can help prevent neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and dementia. This herb reduces inflammation and oxidative stress. It can be very useful for middle aged and elderly people who start getting a cognitive decline.
Who would have known that ginger was a potent aphrodisiac? It works for both men and women. This is because of gingerol, which is present in the root, that stimulates and revitalizes the organism. It also has a useful vasodilator effect which promotes erections. Best if combined with ginseng which greatly increases its effects.
Ginger can help reduce mood swings and behavior during PMS. It also helps lower the levels of prostaglandins in the body, which can help to alleviate cramps and other discomfort during menstruation. High levels of prostaglandins cause stronger menstrual cramps. Ginger is equally as effective as drugs such as mefenamic acid and acetaminophen/caffeine/ibuprofen (Novafen) according to studies.
Digestive Aid and Stomach Problems
Chinese medicine uses ginger as a digestive facilitator. It can also be used as an aperitif or appetizer since it can stimulate the appetite. At the same time it prepares the digestive system to absorb food and it is a carminative, which means it helps with flatulence.
Ginger can also help control diarrhea since it prevents gas and stomach spasms which contribute to this condition. People with diarrhea in China are given ginger powder to treat the condition. This spice also helps speed up the emptying of the stomach.
Health benefits of ginger also help to prevent stomach ulcers, which cause acute gastric irritability and bleeding. It is also useful in inhibiting the growth of H. pylori bacteria, which is ulcerogenic.
Consumption of ginger may be useful for people with type 2 diabetes since it can help regulate blood sugar levels. Lipid and glycemic abnormalities can lead to complications in diabetic people. Ginger can help improve insulin resistance and control diabetes. Health benefits of ginger are also effective in lowering fasting blood sugar and hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c).
Ginger can boost your metabolism to accelerate weight loss and manage obesity. It also improves endurance capacity while working out.
Supplementing with ginger can reduce body weight, hip ratio and waist-hip ratio in people with obesity or who are overweight according to a study. Health benefits of ginger include reducing high blood insulin levels which are associated with obesity. For this benefit high doses need to be taken consistently. Ginger’s ability to reduce weight may be attributed to its ability to reduce inflammation or it can potentially help increase the number of calories burned.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a common condition that degenerates the joints causing joint pain and stiffness. Ginger can help treat this condition and reduce pain. It can also be applied topically by combining ginger with sesame oil, cinnamon and mastic.
Ginger essential oil protects against non-alcoholic fatty liver disease which occurs because of obesity. It can also help people with tuberculosis since it prevents hepatotoxicity. Ginger protects the liver from cadmium poisoning if a significant amount is ingested.
Improve Dental Health
Since ginger inhibits fungal, viral and bacterial infections, it can help keep a healthy oral health by killing pathogens in the mouth, while keeping the gums and teeth intact. Its antibacterial properties can help eliminate bacteria that causes bronchitis, pneumonia and urinary tract infections (UTI).
Cold and Flu Treatment
Many Asian countries use ginger as a treatment against the cold and flu. A study concluded that fresh ginger has antiviral properties against respiratory tract infections. Ginger tea may give relief to coughing and sore throat.
Anti-inflammatory properties found in ginger help treat respiratory disorders. Zerumbone, an active compound, may help alleviate asthma. Th2 dominance can cause allergic airway inflammation and health benefits of ginger can help suppress this.
Health benefits of ginger may lower LDL cholesterol levels and increase HDL cholesterol levels which protect cardiovascular health. It can also reduce the risk of blood clotting, thus regulating hypertension and keeping a healthy heart.