Health benefits of Ginger make it a herb that is used in the entire world in a variety of different ways. 2000 years ago, it was used in China to cure upset stomach, diarrhea, nausea and in digestion problems. Indians have used ginger tonics 4700 years ago and it was an invaluable commodity in the Roman trade around the coming Christ.
What is that Ginger owes its health benefits to? If you had to use one word to answer that, it will be ‘Gingerol’. The ginger root consists of 115 different chemical components among which it is the gingerol that majorly contributes to the therapeutic benefits. Ginger offers numerous health benefits like increasing your appetite, improving respiratory conditions, making bones healthier, preventing different kinds of cancer, improving digestion, reducing excess gas, relieving pain, alleviating menstrual cramp, eliminating arthritis symptoms, boosting immune system, preventing flu and nausea.
Ginger has different varieties and the colour varies accordingly. It may be red, white or yellow. Its skin is either thick or thin which depends on when the plant was harvested whether young or mature. The plant family that it belongs to include turmeric and cardamom which may help you explain as to why Ginger is so beneficial for health. Ginger is included in the FDA’s list of safe foods. It also used in medicines like cough syrup to suppress their bitter taste.
Health Benefits of Ginger
Here are some major benefits that Ginger endows on your health:
Healthy bones: One of the most unique organic compounds that ginger contains out of 115 is gingerol. They are very strong anti-inflammatory compounds to be found in food. Gingerols are known to be responsible for reducing pain or any inflammation in the knee. They even suppress the compounds such as chemokines and cytokines before they adversely affect the body. Ginger can both prevent and cure inflammation and pain but they are right when they say prevention is better than cure.
Osteoarthritis has become a very common problem that involves degeneration of joints in body that results in joint stiffness and pain. A research was conducted ono 247 people suffering from osteoarthritis of the knee. Among them, some were given ginger extract and some were not. The ones who consumed ginger extract felt less pain and needed lesser pain medications.
According to another study, topical application of a combination of cinnamon, sesame oil, mastic and ginger has the ability to minimize stiffness and pain in patients of arthritis.
Excess Gas or Flatulence: What makes ginger so effective for build-up of excess gas or flatulence? It is the strong carminative qualities of ginger that aids in providing relief from gas and bloating which eventually minimizes flatulence. All of us have experienced excess gas some time in our lives. It is undoubtedly a very uncomfortable situation to be in. if excessive gas builds up inside your body, it even exerts pressure on delicate organs. The carminative quality of gingers calms all this pressure and gas down and expels it in a healthy manner along with preventing more gas building up.
If you are suffering from bloating or gas, you can crush a small piece of ginger and extract its juice. Then drink this juice. In case you are suffering from a very severe case of flatulence, you can add crushed carom seeds to this juice. However, don’t drink this more than 2 teaspoons in a day.
Treats indigestion: Indigestion features discomfort and recurrent pain in the upper area of stomach. It has been known that when the time that stomach takes to empty the stomach is delayed, that is the main reason for indigestion (dyspepsia). However, ginger shows its power as a super food here. It helps to speed up the emptying of stomach by facilitating digestion. How does ginger do this? When the sugar level increases after a meal, this minimizes the speed at which stomach generally empties its content. What ginger does is it controls the high sugar levels that acts as an obstacle for the stomach to facilitate its digestion process.
Ginger also contains compounds that facilitate the absorption process. It helps to absorb minerals and nutrients from food. This is the reason ginger is often used as an appetizer. It prepares the digestive system for the arrival of food and also stimulates hunger.
Fights infection and detoxifies: Ginger consists of a therapeutic compound and a bioactive substance called gingerol. It is known to reduce risk of infections. According to a study, Ginger extracts have the ability to suppress the growth of various types of bacteria particularly the oral bacteria that is associated with inflammatory diseases of the gum like periodontitis and gingivitis. Fresh ginger may also prove to be fruitful for fighting off the RSV virus that commonly results in respiratory infections.
On the other hand, Ginger facilitates sweating in people who eat. Now how is that supposed to be good? Sweating aids in cleaning out the pores and lets the body get rid of toxins.
Nausea: Did you know ginger has a very long history of being used as sea sickness remedy? Yes, Ginger is highly effective for nausea linked to motion sickness, chemotherapy and pregnancy. It is really helpful for patients going through vomiting after surgery and cancer patients who have gone through chemotherapy. Ginger’s role in quickly controlling the body functions yields it effective for nausea and it is free of side effects too.
Evidences have proved it to be safe but still if you are pregnant consult your doctor before you consume it in large amount. It is believed that large amount can result in a miscarriage.
Minimizes menstrual cramps: Ginger has traditionally been used for pain relief since ages. They are effective in treating menstrual cramps that women experience during woman’s menstrual cycle. Menstrual cramps occur when a hormone called prostaglandins is produced. This hormone acts as a chemical messenger and is a stimulator of symptoms like pains, fevers and cramps. It is believed scientifically that increase in prostaglandins results in increased menstrual pain. Ginger minimizes this pain by decreasing the level of prostaglandins.
Simply adding ginger to your everyday meals or Drinking ginger infused water 4 days before menstruation begins can greatly help in combating menstrual pain.
Fights Cancer: There have been many studies conducted regarding ginger and the way it affects human health in a variety of different ways. It has been found that the organic compounds found in ginger can prevent cancer. The question is how? The anticancer qualities of ginger are because of the very same compound we have been talking about, gingerol. They give ginger its anti-inflammatory property which aids in suppressing the carcinogenic activity especially in colon that results in colorectal cancer. This just adds to the gastrointestinal benefits that ginger gives us. Some studies have shown that gingerols help in suppressing the growth of cancerous cells without killing healthy cells around it in ovaries. This prevents ovarian cancer.
Some valuable Ginger Tips:
- You can store fresh ginger in the fridge for 3 weeks if you don’t peel it.
- Always prefer fresh ginger over dried ones as they are more enriched in flavor and consists of high amounts of the most beneficial compound of ginger that is gingerol.
- If you buy dry ginger, make sure you keep it in a container that is properly sealed. You should also keep it in a dry and dark place for not more than 6 months.
- Ginger is among the safest foods when it comes to different kinds of complains. It doesn’t matter whether the intake is in raw form, ginger ale, tea or capsule form. However, ginger contains considerable amount of oxalate. People who have a history of kidney stones should be careful while overconsuming ginger as oxalate is a main component of kidney stones. You can always consult your doctor about this.
Incorporating Ginger in your diet… How?
Ginger can be used in many forms like fresh ginger, ground ginger, dry ginger and ginger oil. Here are some ways in which you can incorporate ginger to your diet:
- Ginger tea is one of the best ways to get relief from nausea and helps in relaxing the body. You can add lemon and raw honey to it. It makes it taste incredible. Drink 2 to 3 cups a day to minimize inflammation.
- You can add a slice of ginger while making a vegetable juice at home or add a slice to your smoothie.
- It is a very good idea to use ground ginger powder in your cooking. It will help you attain all the benefits of ginger. You can add it when you are making chicken curry and also when you make ginger berry smoothie or home-made pumpkin pie for breakfast.
- Ginger essential oil contains the highest levels of gingerol. So you can rank this on top when you want to use it as a medicine. You can use it topically with carrier oil or consume it to cure any health conditions. Don’t take in more than 2 to 3 drops.