6 Incredible Health Benefits of Ginger, Backed by Science
Ginger is considered one of the healthiest spices in the world, used as a natural remedy for ailments for thousands of years. It’s also one of the most delicious and most common ingredients in recipes all across the globe.
From its anti-inflammatory properties to its ability to treat indigestion and nausea, here are six health benefits of ginger backed by science.
Ginger prevents cell damage
According to Chika Anekwe, MD, MPH, an obesity medicine physician at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, ginger root is in a league of its own when it comes to antioxidants level, surpassed only by a certain type of berries and pomegranate. Antioxidants are quite effective in preventing oxidative stress, an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants which might increase the risk of cancer, diabetes, and stroke.
A 2017 study on the effects of ginger consumption in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy revealed that the group which was given a daily dose of ginger extract had much higher levels of antioxidants and lower levels of oxidative stress than the placebo-controlled patients.
You might also like 10 Antioxidant-Rich Foods to Stay Healthy This Fall.
Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties
Due to its high levels of antioxidants, ginger also has anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation plays an important part in helping our bodies fight against infections, but too much of it can lead to various diseases such as heart attacks or chronic pain like arthritis.
Based on an extensive research carried out in 2001, 63 percent of patients with osteoarthritis who received ginger extract twice a day for one and a half months reportedly felt less pain in their knees compared to 50 percent of patients who didn’t receive any treatment.
If you are also struggling with inflammation, here are 7 Easy-to-Follow Diet Tips to Reduce Inflammation.
Ginger alleviates nausea and vomiting
Ginger is one of the most efficient natural remedies to reduce and alleviate symptoms of nausea and upset stomach. Its effectiveness is due to a phenolic compound called gingerol, believed to improve gastric motility – the movement of food through the digestive tract – relax muscles, reduce bloating and intestinal cramps.
Ginger is also known to reduce morning sickness in pregnant women. A 2009 study on the effects of ginger for future mothers experiencing nausea and vomiting, revealed that 250mg ginger capsules every day for four days helped pregnant women feel less nauseated compared to the control group.
Speaking of pregnancy, check out COVID During Pregnancy: Does It Harm Your Baby?
Ginger eases menstrual pains
Not only is ginger effective in reducing nausea in pregnant women but it can also help women with their menstrual cramps and period pain by inhibiting the production of chemicals that trigger contractions in the uterus.
In a study conducted in 2015, researchers analyzed previous studies on the effects of ginger on pain associated with menstrual cycles. Their conclusion was that 750 to 2000mg of ginger powder can reduce pain in the first three to four days of the menstrual period.
Ginger may regulate blood sugar levels
Another science-backed effect of ginger consumption is in people with diabetes. According to various studies, ginger can help regulate blood sugar levels by improving glucose levels without insulin. A 2015 study carried out in Iran found that patients with type 2 diabetes who received 2g per day of ginger powder had positive results in blood sugar management. Another 2018 research found that women with gestational diabetes who took ginger capsules had better glucose levels.
Speaking of which, here are 7 Worst Foods You Can Eat for Diabetes (+ Healthy Alternatives).
Ginger may treat indigestion
Ginger’s active compounds play an important part in stimulating digestive enzymes that facilitate the movement of food through the body, relieving bloating and gas. “[It] helps the body break down gas and get rid of gas more effectively,” according to Dr. Ankewe.
According to a 2008 study published in a European journal, three 1,200 mg ginger capsules accelerate gastric emptying and promote antral contractions, which are required for the breaking and digestion of food.
How to incorporate ginger into your diet:
Ginger is quite versatile, which means you can easily add it to your diet in numerous ways, such as the following:
- In tea, by adding fresh ginger
- In curry or stir-fries, by adding chopped fresh ginger or powdered ginger
- In smoothies
- In cookies, cakes, or pastries
If you think the ginger flavor is too strong for your liking, you can opt for ginger capsules from your local pharmacy. While ginger has numerous health benefits, more than one gram of ginger per day could result in certain side effects like gas, throat burn or heartburn.