People have dug up Zingiber officinale, a.k.a. the root is more commonly known as ginger, for its health benefits and spicy flavor since the beginning of time. But just because it’s been around a while doesn’t mean it’s a cure-all for your health.
It’s a flowering plant that originated in China. It belongs to the Zingiberaceae family and is closely related to turmeric, cardamom, and galangal. The rhizome (underground part of the stem) is the part commonly used as a spice. It is often called ginger root, or simply ginger.
Remarkably, it has a very long history of use in various forms of traditional/alternative medicine. It has been used to help digestion, reduce nausea, and help fight the flu and common cold, to name a few.
It’s important to realize, it can be used fresh, dried, powdered, or as an oil or juice, and is sometimes added to processed foods and cosmetics. It is a very common ingredient in recipes.
Bearing in mind, the unique fragrance and flavor of ginger come from its natural oils, the most important of which is gingerol. Let’s look at some are more benefits below;
1. Helps to ease common cold or the flu
First of all, many people use ginger to help recover from a common cold or the flu. However, the evidence supporting this remedy is mostly anecdotal. Whereby, in 2013, researchers studied the effects of fresh and dried ginger on one respiratory virus in human cells.
The results indicated that fresh ginger may help protect the respiratory system, while dried ginger did not have the same impact. Also in 2013, a small study set out to investigate the popularity of herbal medicine as a cold or flu treatment.
After polling 300 pharmacy customers in two different locations, the researchers determined that 69% of those polled used herbal medicine. And that most of this group found it effective. However, while ginger was among the most popular ingredients in these remedies, some of the participants may not have used it.
Now that you know that, Which foods and drinks can help ease a sore throat?
2. It’s an anti-inflammatory
Like other produce, nuts, seeds, beans, and whole grains, ginger contains antioxidant-like compounds called phytonutrients that may reduce cell damage. The root can also prevent inflammation from starting by reducing cell-signaling activity.
With that in mind, adding ginger to already good-for-you, nutrient-dense meals is the key to unlocking those properties. And out of all of the research done on ginger’s pain-relieving properties, results show it helps with menstrual pain the most.
3. Used in relieving nausea
Eventually, it appears to be highly effective against nausea. For example, it has a long history of use as a seasickness remedy. And there is some evidence that it may be as effective as prescription medication.
It may also relieve nausea and vomiting after surgery, and in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. But it may be the most effective when it comes to pregnancy-related nausea, such as morning sickness.
According to a review of 12 studies that included a total of 1,278 pregnant women, 1.1-1.5 grams of ginger can significantly reduce symptoms of nausea. However, ginger had no effect on vomiting episodes in this study.
4. It can reduce your risk of diabetes
Scientists have linked some active compounds in ginger with improvements in insulin and metabolism. That said, if you’re at risk for diabetes, adding extra to sugary gingerbread cookies won’t do you any favors!
Some small studies have linked its intake — when combined with other plant extracts — to some benefits in weight loss. And there’s definitely some promising animal research linking ginger to weight management.
5. It may help prevent the risk of heart disease and cancer
The same anti-inflammatory compounds in ginger can also reduce the risk of chronic disease. A 2016 review even linked regular ginger intake with lower cholesterol and blood sugar compared to a placebo. But just like diabetes, eating ginger can’t offset an otherwise poor diet high in saturated fat and added sugar.
You’ll still have to consume more veggies, 100% whole grains, lean proteins, fish, legumes, and beans in order to reduce your risk. Equally important, the cell-protecting properties of ginger can lower the long-term risk of certain cancers.
That’s because the spice and other flavorings may reduce cellular activity that causes DNA changes, cell death, and proliferation of cancer cells. It could also help sensitize tumors to treatments like chemo and radiation.
6. Helps improve digestion and reduce the stomach gas
In general, several studies have investigated ginger’s effects on the gasses that form in the intestinal tract during digestion. Some research indicates that enzymes in ginger can help the body break up and expel this gas, providing relief from any discomfort.
It also appears to have beneficial effects on the enzymes trypsin and pancreatic lipase, which are important for digestion. And in addition, it may help increase movement through the digestive tract, suggesting that it may relieve or prevent Constipation.
With this in mind, Which other foods may help with digestion?
7. How about your morning sickness?
Researchers behind a small study, which included 74 volunteers, found that a daily dosage of 2 grams (g) of raw or heated ginger reduced exercise-induced muscle pain by about 25%.
Some research indicates that it can help alleviate morning sickness and relieve nausea following cancer treatment. And while speaking of an upset stomach, pregnant women, in particular, should take note: It may help reduce symptoms of morning sickness!
In fact, research supports its safety and efficacy during pregnancy. With some improvement in symptoms when compared to a placebo. Ginger can be a delicious way to flavor any anti-inflammatory diet plan. Plus, swapping the spice for added salt, sugar, or saturated fat may help us lose unwanted pounds!
You can use it for seasoning veggie-heavy meals and snacks, not solely for health benefits.
What risks does Ginger have?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers ginger to be safe to include in the diet, but they do not guarantee or regulate its use as a medicine or supplement.
Although it’s considered safe, talk to your doctor before taking large amounts if you are pregnant. Some believe that large amounts can raise the risk of miscarriage. But there are currently no studies to support this.
Sipping ginger tea can also soothe nausea during that time of the month. However, if you usually take acetaminophen or ibuprofen, it may not work as well. Check with your doctor before trying any supplement in extract or pill form. Since it may interact with other medications you’re taking.
It may also help move food from the stomach to the small intestine for digestion and absorption. That said, ginger cannot prevent food poisoning or counteract the ingestion of a harmful substance. So, Contact Us or your physician ASAP if something requires urgent medical attention.
Finally, What’s your take on the benefits, effects, uses, and risks of consuming ginger? If you have any, please share your views and opinions in the comments section.
While ginger’s not a cure-all for any chronic disease, using it regularly with loads of other spices and plant-based foods can help benefit health overall. But as with anything else, it’s no magic weight-loss pill! Other components of a healthy, balanced diet matter just as much when it comes to losing weight and keeping it off.
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For your information, all ginger supplements and other ginger products are readily available for purchase online. Make sure you Consult Us just in case you’ll need any more support.