Ginger, a natural herb, is used as a spice all over the world. This herb is immensely popular owing to the various health benefits it offers. Several studies have proven that it is extremely effective in treating a number of health issues.
A minimum of 115 constituents has been identified in fresh and dried ginger varieties.
‘Gingerols’ are the major constituents of fresh ginger. The concentrations of shogaols, which are the major gingerol dehydration products, are more abundant in dry ginger.
Besides these, amino acids, raw fiber, ash, protein, phytosterols, vitamins (e.g., nicotinic acid and vitamin A), and minerals are also present in this ingredient.
Properties of Ginger
Ginger consists of antinausea, antispasmodic, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antibacterial, antiviral, and antitussive (cough-suppressant) properties that can do wonders for your health.
Also, ginger is rich in several nutrients, including vitamin A, C, and E, Bcomplex, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, sodium, potassium, silicon, zinc, iron, and beta-carotene.
To enjoy the medicinal benefits of ginger, you can use it in fresh, dried, powdered, juice, or oil form.
How Ginger Benefits Your Health
Here are the top 10 key health benefits of adding ginger to your diet.
1. Settles Upset Stomach
Health experts often recommend ginger to treat stomach ailments such as dyspepsia and colic. It is also used for curing bacteria-induced diarrhea. Ginger can help alleviate the various symptoms of food poisoning as well.
To improve digestion, try to eat ginger after any large meal.
2. Treats Cough, Cold, and Flu
Ginger helps boost the immune system, so it is used as a natural treatment for cold and flu. Moreover, this ingredient contains antiviral, antitoxic, and antifungal properties. By inducing sweating and expelling heat, it also helps relieve mild fever.
Being a natural analgesic and painkiller, ginger can be used to soothe the pain and irritation of a sore throat. It can also help reduce coughing, especially when caused by the common cold. The warming action of ginger tea helps to eliminate mucus from the lungs that may be causing the cough.
- Consume ginger several times a day when suffering from a cold or flu. It will aid in detoxifying your body naturally, thus making you feel better and speeding up the healing process.
- Boil 1 teaspoon of ginger powder or 2 teaspoons of freshly grated ginger in 2 cups of water. Inhale the steam to get relief from congestion and other symptoms associated with common colds.
- You can chew some fresh ginger root or drink ginger juice or tea to suppress a cough.
- You can also massage your chest and back with ginger oil to help relieve and treat a cough.
3. Treats Morning Sickness
Pregnant women who suffer from morning sickness can use ginger to get rid of the problem.
Even when suffering from general nausea, one can use ginger to get instant relief.
- Chew on a piece of ginger (preferably tossed in a little honey) to get rid of morning sickness, motion sickness, or nausea.
- If you do not like the taste of raw ginger, you can opt for ginger supplements.
4. Reduces Arthritis Pain
Ginger boasts strong anti-inflammatory properties that can help treat the pain associated with gout, rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoarthritis.
According to a 2001 study, a ginger extract was found to be effective in reducing the symptoms associated with osteoarthritis of the knee.
- To treat the pain, apply warm ginger paste with turmeric to the affected area twice a day.
- Also, include raw or cooked ginger in your diet.
- Plus, you can add a few drops of ginger essential oil to your bath to help ease aching muscles and joints.
5. Prevents Cancer
Ginger has proven to be helpful in preventing cancer.
Another study by the University of Minnesota found that ginger can also slow the growth of colorectal cancer cells and thus helps prevent colon cancer to a great extent.
This ingredient also has the ability to combat other types of cancer, including lung, breast, skin, prostate, and pancreatic cancers.
6. Reduces Menstrual Pain
Being a natural painkiller and anti-inflammatory agent, ginger can be used to reduce menstrual pain.
Women suffering from menstrual pain can take ginger powder or ginger capsules to get relief.
You can also drink ginger tea. This will give you instant relief from the pain and tenderness from cramps that often occur at the beginning of the monthly menstrual cycle.
7. Treats Migraines
Drink ginger tea during migraine attacks to block the unbearable pain and stop the associated dizziness and nausea.
8. Promotes Heart Health
Ginger has long been used for promoting heart health. It can help lower cholesterol levels, regulate blood pressure, and prevent blood from clotting, which in turn helps reduce the risk of various heart diseases.
Being high in potassium, ginger is great for heart health. Also, it contains a good amount of manganese, which can help protect the heart, blood vessels, and urinary passages.
Include this herb in your regular diet to maintain good cardiovascular health.
9. Controls Diabetes
Research suggests that ginger can help lower your blood sugar level and increase the effectiveness of insulin and other drugs used for treating diabetes.
Experts recommend drinking 1 glass of warm water mixed with 1 teaspoon of ginger juice first thing in the morning to regulate blood sugar.
Various health complications associated with diabetes may also be limited to a great extent with the help of ginger. Regular intake of ginger may reduce urine protein levels, decrease water intake and urine output, and decrease the risk of various types of damage caused by uncontrolled blood sugar. This particular herb can also protect nerves in patients with diabetes and lower blood fat levels.
10. Improves Brain Functions and Protects Against Alzheimer’s Disease
Oxidative stress and chronic inflammation can speed up the aging process. These are considered to be the key factors of Alzheimer’s disease and age-related cognitive decline. Studies have suggested that the antioxidants and bioactive compounds in ginger can inhibit inflammatory responses that occur in the brain.
Also, there is some evidence suggesting that this herb is capable of directly enhancing the brain function. In a study that included 60 middle-aged women, a ginger extract was shown to improve reaction time and working memory.
- Add fresh ginger root to curries, soups, stews, or other dishes on a daily basis to promote brain health.
- You can also make a decoction from this herb.
If you prefer natural solutions for the various health problems that you may encounter, then ginger is one ingredient that you must always keep handy.
- Bode AM, Dong Z. The Amazing and Mighty Ginger. Current neurology and neuroscience reports. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92775/. Published January 1, 1970.
- Ernst E, Pittler MH. Efficacy of ginger for nausea and vomiting: a systematic review of randomized clinical trials. Current neurology and neuroscience reports. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10793599. Published March 2000.
- Aghazadeh M, Bialvaei AZ, Aghazadeh M, et al. Survey of the Antibiofilm and Antimicrobial Effects of ZingiberOfficinale (in vitro study). Jundishapur Journal of Microbiology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4842230/. Published February 2016.
- Chittumma P, Kaewkiattikun K, Wiriyasiriwach B. Comparison of the effectiveness of ginger and vitamin B6 for treatment of nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy: a randomized double-blind controlled trial. Current neurology and neuroscience reports. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17621727. Published January 2007.
- Altman RD, Marcussen KC. Effects of a ginger extract on knee pain in patients with osteoarthritis. Current neurology and neuroscience reports. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11710709. Published November 2001.
- Rhode J, Fogoros S, Zick S, et al. Ginger inhibits cell growth and modulates angiogenic factors in ovarian cancer cells. BioMed Central. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2241638/. Published December 2007.
- Dietary Ginger May Work Against Cancer Growth. ScienceDaily. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/10/031029064357.htm. Published October 29, 2003.
- Rahnama P, Montazeri A, Huseini HF, Kianbakht S, Naseri M. Effect of Zingiberofficinale R. rhizomes (ginger) on pain relief in primary dysmenorrhoea: a placebo randomized trial. BioMed Central. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3518208/. Published July 2012.
- Maghbooli M, Golipour F, Esfandabadi AM, Yousefi M. Comparison Between the Efficacy of Ginger and Sumatriptan in the Ablative Treatment of the Common Migraine. The Canadian Journal of Chemical Engineering. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/ptr.4996. Published May 9, 2013.
- Alizadeh-Navaei R, Roozbeh F, Saravi M, Pouramir M, Jalali F, Moghadamnia AA. Investigation of the effect of ginger on the lipid levels. A double-blind controlled clinical trial. Current neurology and neuroscience reports. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18813412. Published September 2008.
- Mahluji S, Attari VE, Mobasseri M, Payahoo L, Ostadrahimi A, Golzari SE. Effects of ginger (Zingiberofficinale) on plasma glucose level, HbA1c and insulin sensitivity in type 2 diabetic patients. Current neurology and neuroscience reports. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23496212. Published September 2013.
- Azam F, Ame AM, Abulifa AR, Elzwawi MM. Ginger components as new leads for the design and the design and development of novel multi-targeted anti-Alzheimer’s drugs: a computational investigation. Dovepress- Open access to scientific and medical research. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4211852/. Published October 2014.
- Saenghong N, Wattanathorn J, Muchimapura S, et al. Zingiberofficinale Improves Cognitive Function of the Middle-Aged Healthy Women. Evidence Based-Complementary and Alternative Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3253463/. Published December 2011.