When it comes to ‘superfoods,’ ginger is easily among the most popular. This spice, often incorrectly referred to as a root, is closely related to other foods such as turmeric, and cardamom, and it is especially popular in Asian cuisine and medicine. While in these cultures, it is not uncommon to find ginger in baked goods and other meals, it is also possible to simply consume ginger juice instead, and still reap the benefits from this nutrient powerhouse. Are you unfamiliar with the benefits of ginger? Read on to discover 11 ways that drinking ginger can positively impact your health.
One thing ginger excels at exceptionally well is the treatment of nausea. Whether it’s about of morning sickness, a hangover from drinking too much alcohol, or even just an upset stomach, taking ginger orally can help soothe your digestive system, reducing feelings of sickness and the chance of vomiting. There is some research to suggest that even nausea caused by chemotherapy or HIV/AIDS treatments can also be remedied by taking ginger. Keep in mind, however, that in the case of pregnancy, it is important to consult your doctor before taking any medication, herb, or supplement to assess associated risks.
Similarly to nausea, dizziness caused by vertigo can also be remedied by a healthy dose of ginger. Vertigo causes a general sense that one is off balance, and that can make standing, and even sitting incredibly difficult. Vertigo has many causes, but regardless of its source, the symptoms are much the same. It is not uncommon for one to feel like they are spinning, or being pulled to one side, along with general dizziness, nausea, headaches, hearing loss, and the urge to vomit. Fortunately, taking ginger tea or juice can help soothe all of these symptoms.
If you suffer from osteoarthritis, you should know that ginger can reduce the pain that comes with this chronic condition. Extensive research has indicated that regular doses of ginger extract over a period of months, both alone, and when combined with other ingredients, can help to reduce pain in the knees, as well as pain upon standing and walking. It also reduces feelings of stiffness in the joints. It’s often compared to ibuprofen, a common painkiller, and it has been found in some studies that it is a superior choice and in others a comparable, or somewhat less effective alternative.
Researchers may have some good news for diabetics; certain studies have found that taking ginger can help control blood sugar, to a degree, though some of the findings are contradictory. Some research has found that ginger can reduce insulin levels, but has no effect on blood sugar; others have found the reverse- that ginger will reduce blood sugar levels, but not insulin. Factors such as dosage size could possibly explain these discrepancies. Ultimately, if you decide to take ginger for diabetes, consult with a medical professional about risks, and do not think of it as an alternative to diabetic medication.Related: 7 Most Common Symptoms of Diabetes
If you suffer from digestive troubles or have difficulty with bowel movements, powdered ginger mixed with tea or water can help. This is the case for two reasons. Firstly, there are components in ginger that stimulate saliva production, which makes it easier to chew and break down food in the mouth; this means your digestive system also has an easier time processing the food. Secondly, ginger contains modest amounts of fiber, which can help streamline the waste evacuation part of the digestive process by making bowel movements much easier. For this reason, it’s especially helpful to take ginger before meals.
For women with particularly painful menstruation periods, Evidence indicates that regular doses of ginger (specifically, 500mg three times daily) can help reduce the severity of menstrual pain, especially if taken during the first three days of the menstrual period. Furthermore, this dosage can also reduce or eliminate other symptoms associated with the menstrual cycle. Similar studies indicate that such treatments are effective on up to 62% of women; because of these results, it is thought that ginger is on par in effectiveness with painkiller medications such as ibuprofen or mefenamic acid in terms of remedying the pain caused by periods.
Inhibiting Ovarian Cancer
One of the lesser-known benefits that ginger provides is its ability to help combat the growth of ovarian cancer cells. In particular, this research study came to the conclusion that certain levels of ginger extract effectively could hinder, or even prevent the growth of ovarian cancer. This is especially significant given the prevalence of ovarian cancer, and the life-altering (and life-threatening) complications it can create for women and would-be mothers. This knowledge can help to prevent the spread of cancerous ovary cells into the surrounding healthy tissues if it is caught in the early stages, saving resources and lives.
Another advantage of taking ginger that you may not be aware of is that it can provide you with a little energetic boost. If you make a habit of drinking ginger tea in the mornings, ginger’s energy content can help you jumpstart your day; in the afternoon, ginger juice could provide the energy you need. It possesses a modest 80 calories per 100 grams, which may not seem like much, but it adds up. Most importantly, ginger contains very little fat, sugar, or salt, making it a nice way to boost your energy without affecting heart health or body fat.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Given ginger’s effects on dizziness, nausea, and the like, it is thought that it may prove beneficial for those who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). This is also believed because of ginger’s contributions to digestion in the form of fiber, digestive enzymes, and stimulation of saliva production. As of yet, some research does suggest that certain herbal mixtures that include ginger as an ingredient may have an effect in reducing the symptoms of IBS, while other studies have findings indicating the opposite. Either way, keep in mind that too much ginger can upset the stomach and the bowels.
Early evidence also suggests that ginger can help control cholesterol levels. LDL lipoproteins, known as the ‘bad’ cholesterol, are refutably linked to heart disease. A gram of ginger three times a day can is thought to lower LDL and blood triglyceride levels. Certain dietary choices raise or lower LDL cholesterol; consuming ginger as part of a balanced diet can help keep your body healthy; this is because it contains trace amounts of helpful vitamins and minerals, such as potassium and magnesium. To contribute to improved ‘good’ cholesterol, consume ginger and other sources of potassium, and cut down on sodium intake.Related: Lower Bad Cholesterol and High Blood Pressure
Higher Quality of Life
Ultimately when you consider all of the benefits of ginger, regular intake means that you’ll have a better quality of life overall. This means less pain and discomfort, more energy, and more health. To that end, there is some research that suggests that ginger can help strengthen your body and brain, making it more resilient to infections, such as the cold and flu, as well as reducing the likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease. While there is more room for research on these two particular topics, because of its benefits, ginger does have its place in improving and protecting bodily health.Related: 18 Unique Health Benefits of Black Tea
Ultimately, ginger’s nutrition profile and various health benefits are what make it a superfood. If you prefer ginger tea, you can make it by boiling and then simmering slices of ginger. However, if you aren’t keen on ginger tea, you do have other options, because the benefits of ginger are present regardless of how the ginger is prepared and consumed. Cooking ginger can cause chemical reactions that make it even more nutritious. Add it to your favorite seasonings, sprinkle it in dressings and gravies. If simplicity is your preference, powdered ginger in water is fine too. Just enjoy.