Ginger is among 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. Here are 8 health benefits of ginger that are supported by scientific research.
#1 Ginger Contains Gingerol.
Gingerol, a Substance With Powerful Medicinal Properties. Ginger is a flowering plant that originated from China. It belongs to the Zingiberaceae family, and is closely related to turmeric, cardomon and galangal. The rhizome (underground part of the stem) is the part commonly used as a spice. It is often called ginger root, or simply ginger. Ginger has a very long history of use in various forms of traditional/alternative medicine. It has been used to help digestion, reduce nausea and help fight the flu and common cold, to name a few.
#2 Ginger Can Treat Many Forms Of Nausea.
Ginger appears to be highly effective against nausea. For example, it has a long history of use as a sea sickness remedy, and there is some evidence that it may be as effective as prescription medication. Ginger may also relieve nausea and vomiting after surgery, and in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. But it may be the most effective when it comes to pregnancy-related nausea, such as morning sickness.
#3 Ginger May Reduce Muscle Pain And Soreness.
Ginger has been shown to be effective against exercise-induced muscle pain. In one study, consuming 2 grams of ginger per day, for 11 days, significantly reduced muscle pain in people performing elbow exercises. Ginger does not have an immediate impact, but may be effective at reducing the day-to-day progression of muscle pain. These effects are believed to be mediated by the anti-inflammatory properties.
#4 Ginger May Drastically Lower Blood Sugars.
Ginger can improve heart disease risk factors as well. This area of research is relatively new, but ginger may have powerful anti-diabetic properties. In a recent 2015 study of 41 participants with type 2 diabetes, 2 grams of ginger powder per day lowered fasting blood sugar by 12%. It also dramatically improved HbA1c (a marker for long-term blood sugar levels), leading to a 10% reduction over a period of 12 weeks.
#5 Ginger Can Help Treat Chronic Indigestion.
Chronic indigestion (dyspepsia) is characterized by recurrent pain and discomfort in the upper part of the stomach. It is believed that delayed emptying of the stomach is a major driver of indigestion. Interestingly, ginger has been shown to speed up emptying of the stomach in people with this condition. After eating soup, ginger reduced the time it took for the stomach to empty from 16 to 12 minutes
#6 Ginger Powder May Significantly Reduce Menstrual Pain.
Menstrual pain (dysmenorrhea) refers to pain felt during a woman’s menstrual cycle. One of the traditional uses of ginger is for pain relief, including menstrual pain. In one study, 150 women were instructed to take 1 gram of ginger powder per day, for the first 3 days of the menstrual period. Ginger managed to reduce pain as effectively as the drugs mefenamic acid and ibuprofen.
#7 Ginger May Lower Cholesterol Levels.
High levels of LDL lipoproteins (the “bad” cholesterol) are linked to an increased risk of heart disease. The foods you eat can have a strong influence on LDL levels. In a 45-day study of 85 individuals with high cholesterol, 3 grams of ginger powder caused significant reductions in most cholesterol markers. This is supported by a study in hypothyroid rats, where ginger extract lowered LDL cholesterol to a similar extent as the cholesterol-lowering drug atorvastatin. Both studies also showed reductions in total cholesterol and blood triglycerides.
#8 Ginger Contains A Substance That May Help Prevent Cancer.
Cancer is a very serious disease that is characterized by uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells. Ginger extract has been studied as an alternative treatment for several forms of cancer. The anti-cancer properties are attributed to 6-gingerol, a substance that is found in large amounts in raw ginger. In a study of 30 individuals, 2 grams of ginger extract per day significantly reduced pro-inflammatory signalling molecules in the colon.