Ginger is the most common name and almost it finds in everyone’s kitchen. People use Ginger from ancient times in cooking and as a medicine. Ancient writings from India, Rome, Greece, China, and Arab countries – all describe ginger’s uses as a medicine. Ginger has been called a superfood. It belongs to the same family as turmeric and cardamom. It is also known as the healthiest (and most delicious) spices on the planet. It is loaded with nutrients and bioactive compounds that have powerful benefits for your body and brain. Ginger is a flowering plant and its official name is Zingiber officinale. The root is spicy and peppery in flavor. The unique fragrance and flavor of ginger come from its natural oils, the most important of which is gingerol. Gingerol is the main bioactive compound in ginger, responsible for much of its medicinal properties. It has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. 1 tablespoon (10 g) of fresh ginger has:
- 4.8 calories
- 1.07 grams (g) of carbohydrate
- 0.12 g of dietary fiber
- 0.11 g of protein
- 0.05 g fat
- 0.10 g of sugar
Here are some health benefits of Ginger:
1. Reducing gas and soothes digestive system:
From ancient times, ginger is used to reduce gas and to improve the digestive system. Ginger helps increase the body’s ability to empty food from the stomach more quickly—known as gastric emptying. Medical science also says that the more efficient your digestion is, the more energy you will have. Ginger also appears to have beneficial effects on the enzymes trypsin and pancreatic lipase, which are important for digestion. In addition, ginger may help increase movement through the digestive tract, suggesting that it may relieve or prevent constipation. Colic and dyspepsia respond particularly well to ginger. Some research indicates that enzymes in ginger can help the body break up and expel this gas, providing relief from any discomfort. So not only does ginger stimulate digestion by improving symptoms of dyspepsia and speeding gastric emptying, but it also benefits your overall energy levels.
2. Helps in Arthritic Pain:
Since ginger is an anti-inflammatory, it may also be able to ease joint pain due to inflammation from Arthritis. An older study found that people with knee osteoarthritis who took ginger extract had less pain and used less pain medication. Ginger is rich in volatile oils that contain the active component gingerol which can soothe the pain that often accompanies rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and gout. In fact, the extract from ginger has been used to dull, numb, and alleviate pain. Gingerols inhibit the formation of inflammatory cytokines or chemical messengers of the immune system.
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3. Helps in Heart Health & Lowers Blood Sugar:
Ginger can lower cholesterol levels, prevent blood clots, lower blood pressure, and lower blood sugar also – all of which reduce the overall risk of Heart Disease. In one study on people with type 2 Diabetes, researchers found that those who took 1600 mg of ginger powder for 12 weeks had improved insulin sensitivity, lower triglycerides, and lower total cholesterol when compared with the control group. Another study found that 2 g of the powdered ginger supplement per day significantly lowered fasting blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes.
4. Helps in Cold and Flu:
The compound of ginger – gingerols, paradols, and shogaols are powerful antioxidants as well as anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial agents so ginger is very helpful in cold and flu. A study results indicated that fresh ginger helps protect the respiratory system. Ginger also helps in Headaches, Nausea, Cold symptoms and in vomiting.
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5. Relieves in Menstrual Pain and Crumps:
Menstrual pain (dysmenorrhea) refers to pain felt during a woman’s menstrual cycle. As an anti-inflammatory and analgesic compound, ginger has been used to reduce menstrual pain and crumps. Ginger also reduces the amount of blood lost during menstruation, especially during the first 3-7 days. A study found that it decreased PMS symptoms, improved mood, and relieving physical and behavioral symptoms before and during menstruation. These studies used the powdered form of ginger at 750 mg – 2,000 mg/day. Ginger managed to reduce pain as effectively as the drugs mefenamic acid and ibuprofen.
6. Lowering Cancer Risk:
Cancer is a very serious disease that is characterized by the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells. The anti-cancer properties are attributed to 6-gingerol, a substance that is found in large amounts in raw ginger. In a 2013 trial, researchers gave 20 participants either 2 g of ginger or a placebo for 28 days. The participants all had a high risk of developing colorectal cancer. Biopsies showed that the participants who had consumed the ginger had fewer negative changes in healthy colon tissue. There is some, albeit limited, evidence that ginger may be effective against pancreatic cancer, breast cancer, and ovarian cancer.
7. Boosting Testosterone in Men:
Medical science discovered the link between ginger and testosterone. According to a recent review, ginger is able to boost testosterone levels in men, especially in those who are under oxidative stress. In one open-label study of 75 infertile men, 3-month ginger supplementation increased testosterone by 17%. It also increased testosterone-boosting hormones, sperm count and sperm motility. Some parameters were up by 50%.
8. Overcoming Morning Sickness:
Ginger is a popular natural remedy for morning sickness during early pregnancy. Ginger may also relieve nausea and vomiting after surgery, and in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. And according to a review of 6 studies, about 1 g/day reduces morning sickness five-fold if used for at least 4 days in a row. Ginger reduces nausea and vomiting probably by blocking excess serotonin and vagus nerve activation in the stomach and gut, based on tissue and cellular studies. Many chemotherapy drugs cause nausea by increasing gut serotonin, which ginger is hypothesized to help counteract.
So there are so many health benefits of ginger and there are so many ways also to take the same. You can eat ginger as raw, you can add in your food, you can take ginger tea or ginger ale. This anti-inflammatory herb has a lot of benefits. It is advisable to take your doctor’s advice also before the start.