People have been using ginger in cooking and medicine since ancient times. It is one of the healthiest spices on the planet, and there are many ways of using it. You can use it in hot tea, with fish, or in stir-fries. If you are not using this popular ingredient in your kitchen, here are some of the reasons why you should start adding it to your grocery shopping list.
- Improving digestion or reducing gas
Recent studies are showing that ginger affects the gasses that form in the intestinal tract during digestion. Some enzymes in gas help break down and expel this gas from the gastrointestinal tract. Ginger acts on the parts in the GI tract that are responsible for feeling stomach ache, vomiting, and nausea.
Ginger also has beneficial effects on pancreatic lipase and trypsin that are important in the digestion process. Ginger also helps increase the movement through the digestive tract, which helps relieve constipation. Drinking a glass of ginger juice 15 minutes after a meal will help reduce the risk of bloating, gas, and constipation.
- Treating nausea
Ginger appears to be effective in treating several forms of nausea, especially morning sickness. Surgeons are now prescribing ginger to patients to reduce nausea and vomiting after surgery. It can also help reduce or prevent nausea in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment.
According to the US National Library of Medicine, consuming 1.1 to 1.5 grams of ginger helps reduce the symptoms of nausea in pregnant women. Ginger is considered safe, but too much of it can increase the risk of miscarriage. You should consult your doctor before taking large amounts of ginger if you are pregnant.
- Reduce muscle pain and soreness
Ginger is effective in relieving exercise-induced muscle pain. According to PubMed, consuming two grams of ginger can help reduce muscle pain in people doing elbow exercises. Recent studies on the effect of ginger on women have shown that it can help reduce pain before menstruation (dysmenorrhea).
- Reducing inflammation
Ginger is effective in treating osteoporosis inflammations. Osteoporosis is a common problem that involves the degeneration of joints in the body. Some of the common symptoms include joint pain, stiffness, and inflammation. Taking ginger extract can help reduce joint pain and the need for pain medications. Combining ginger, cinnamon, sesame oil, and mastic can help reduce joint pain and stiffness in osteoporosis patients when applied topically.
- Reduce the risk of Diabetes
Recent studies are showing that ginger has some anti-diabetic properties. Scientists are now linking some active compounds in ginger with the improvement of insulin and metabolism. According to PubMed, taking two grams of ginger powder per day for about one week can help lower fasting blood sugar by up to 12 percent. Ginger can also help improve long term blood sugar levels (HbA1c) by up to 10 percent in three months.
By reducing blood sugar levels, ginger consumption indirectly helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and vision loss.
- Easing a cold or flu
Drinking a cup of ginger can help you recover from a cold or flu. According to the National Institute of Health 2013 study, consuming fresh ginger can help protect the respiratory system. Drinking a ginger drink can also help ease a sore throat.
- Lower cholesterol levels
Cholesterol is a fat-like substance that is found in the body cells. Your body needs cholesterol to be able to make vitamin D, hormones, and enzymes that help you digest food. The body is able to make as much cholesterol as it needs. Your body also gets cholesterol from the food you eat.
There are two types of cholesterol: low density and high-density lipoproteins. The low-density lipoproteins (LDL) are also known as bad cholesterol because they increase the risk of heart diseases.
The food you eat has a strong impact on the LDL levels in your body. According to the National Institutes of Health, consuming three grams of ginger every day can help reduce the level of bad cholesterol and triglycerides.
- Fight germs and infections
Fresh ginger has some compounds that can help ward off germs. Consuming ginger halts the growth of bacteria such as shigella, E. coli, and RSV. By halting the growth of these bacteria, ginger helps reduce the risk of infections. According to the National Institutes of Health, ginger is very effective against the oral bacteria that cause inflammatory diseases such as periodontitis and gingivitis. The antibacterial power of ginger can also
- Improve brain function
Chronic inflammations and oxidative stress accelerate the aging process. They also increase the risk of age-related cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease. Ginger has antioxidants and bioactive compounds that have the potential to inhibit the inflammatory responses occurring in the brain. People who consume ginger regularly are at low risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Ginger consumption can also improve your brain function directly by improving reaction time and working memory. There are also several studies showing how ginger consumption can help you against the age-related brain decline.
- Weight loss
Maintaining a healthy weight is one of the best things you can do to keep your body functioning normally. Excess abdominal fats affect the ability of glucose or blood sugar to reach your body cells. When this happens, your blood sugar level spikes, increasing the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
Many people are struggling to lose weight. Some are combining dieting and regular physical exercises, while others are using weight loss supplements. You lose weight when your body burns more calories than you consume. Ginger helps increase the rate of metabolism, which makes your body burn more calories. Drinking ginger juice some minutes before workout will increase your energy levels, giving you the strength to exercise for long.
- Prevent cancer
Cancer is a serious disease that is responsible for many deaths in the United States and globally. It occurs as a result of the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the body. Ginger has an anti-cancer property known as 6-gingerol that is found in large amounts in fresh ginger. Consuming 2 grams of ginger extract per day can help reduce the risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and pancreatic cancer.