This gnarly, knobby root is spicy in flavor, and is one of the most versatile spices out there. It is commonly used in cooking in some cultures, and it is loaded with medicinal properties. It is literally jam packed with a variety of micronutrients, that are necessary for a thriving and healthy body. And for some, its peculiar flavor might be quite delectable. So there are enough benefits of ginger to add it in your diet. Let’s dive deep and demystify everything we need to know about this superfood.
What is ginger?
Ginger grows abundantly in south east Asia and is very commonly used in cooking there. Its official name is Zingiber officinale and it belongs to a plant family which is called Zingiberaceae. Other wellknown and commonly used spices such as cardamom, galangal and turmeric also belong to the same plant family. Ginger has a very pungent and peculiar aroma and it adds a spicy kick to food. When you are eating ginger, what you are actually eating is the root of the plant – which looks like a gnarled tree. The primary ingredient in giner which is responsible for its potent pungent taste is called Gingerol, and it is a powerhouse of medicinal properties.
Benefits of ginger
You might know that our gut contains both kinds of bacteria – good and bad. When the levels of bad bacteria increase disproportionately, it can cause digestive issues such as bloating and nausea. Ginger helps in maintaining the balance in your gut, and is helpful in alleviating such symptoms. You should consider incorporating ginger in your diet if you suffer from any kind of chronic nausea.
Ginger has been shown to be effective in reducing the symptoms of motion sickness. It’s believed that ginger works by blocking the signals in the brain that trigger nausea and vomiting. So, the next time you’re planning a road trip or a boat ride, pack some ginger candy or tea to keep your stomach settled.
Blood sugar regulation:
The gingerol in ginger can play a vital role in regulating the body’s blood sugar levels. And this is the key to controlling effects of Type 2 diabetes on the body. It is believed that by reducing the enzymes which break down carbohydrates, ginger helps with the sugar metabolism in the body. Studies have shown that ginger helps your muscles to absorb glucose, which ensures that excess glucose does not circulate through your blood stream.
Research has found that chronic inflammation is the cause of nearly every major disease including cancer, autoimmune diseases and heart ailments.Ginger has powerful analgesic and anti inflammatory properties which decrease inflammation, swelling and pain. Ginger has been linked to long term pain management and is useful in the treatment of arthritis and rheumatism.
Research has also shown that ginger reduces the production of pro-inflammation cytokines, which are responsible for inflammatory reactions. So if the production of these cytokines is inhibited, then the inflammation in the body will naturally decrease.
Have we convinced you yet about the remarkable benefits of ginger? If not, then we will now. Ginger is known to reduce the potency of many bacteria and viruses, which could significantly reduce your risk of infections. Clinical studies have shown that ginger is effective as an anti bacterial for many drug resistant bacteria.
Ginger is also known to treat inflammation of the gums that is caused by oral bacteria.
Stronger immune system:
Consuming ginger regularly will improve your immune system over time because of its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Your body will have an increased ability to fight off diseases, which means lesser incidences of cough, cold and even flu.
May help prevent cancer:
There is some evidence to suggest that ginger may have cancer-preventive properties, but more research is needed to fully understand the extent of its benefits.
Some laboratory studies have found that compounds in ginger called gingerols and shogaols have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that may help protect against certain types of cancer, such as colon, ovarian, and breast cancer. These compounds may also inhibit the growth and spread of cancer cells.
May help lower cholesterol:
LDL (low density lipo-proteins) is the bad cholesterol, which leads tofatty build up in the in the arteries called atherosclerosis. This increases the risk of heart attacks and stroke, and so it is essential to keep the levels of LDL in check. Studies have shown that people who consume even moderate amounts of ginger daily have reported a drop in their LDL levels.
How to consume ginger?
There are many ways to include ginger in your daily food intake to reap all its benefits. You can buy either fresh ginger (the roots) or in dried or powdered form. Fresh ginger is the most potent form, and you can use it as shavings in soups and stews, or you can add it to your smoothies, or boil it with water and honey to make ginger tea. Ginger powder can be used similarly, and also in baking.
The easiest way to use ginger while cooking is to freeze it, and grate it as and when you need it.
Here are a few ginger recipes to try:
If the zesty taste of ginger does not sit well with your palette, then this is the easiest way to integrate ginger in your diet. To begin with, start with a low dosage (of around 250 mg) and then gradually increase it (to around 2000 mg) after your body gets a chance to get used it. High dosages of giner have been known to interfere with the workings of blood thinning medications. So you should always check with your healthcare practitioner before starting any new supplements.
This is another easy way to consume ginger daily.
Ginger side effects:
There are no side effects if ginger is consumed in moderation. However, at high doses, ginger has been known to cause heart burn and diarrhea.
Can you take ginger everyday?
It is safe to consume ginger every day for most people.
How to make ginger tea?
Here is a simple recipe for ginger tea:
1-2 inches of fresh ginger root
2 cups of water
Lemon and honey
Rinse the ginger root and peel it with a vegetable peeler or the edge of a spoon. Then, chop the ginger into small pieces. In a small saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Add the chopped ginger to the boiling water and let it simmer for about 10-15 minutes. The longer you steep the ginger, the stronger the flavor will be. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and honey to taste. Strain the ginger tea using a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth into a mug or teapot. Your ginger tea is ready!
Does ginger aid in weightloss?
According to a few studies, ginger may help with weight loss. Multiple studies have found that including ginger in your diet has reduced body mass index (BMI) and blood insulin levels (which are linked to obesity). Although more conclusive studies need to be conducted in this regard, it is believed that ginger’s contribution to weight loss may be related to certain mechanisms associated with its ingestion such as reduction in inflammation or increase in the number of calories burned.
Is ginger good for female hormones?
Some studies suggest that ginger may help regulate menstrual cycles and reduce symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), such as cramps, bloating, and nausea. This may be due to ginger’s anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties.
Ginger may also have some benefits for menopausal women. Some research suggests that ginger may help reduce hot flashes and improve mood and sleep quality in menopausal women.
However, it’s important to note that the evidence for ginger’s effects on female hormones is still limited and more research is needed to fully understand its benefits and potential risks. It’s also important to talk to a healthcare provider before using ginger as a supplement, particularly if you have a history of hormone-related conditions or are taking medications that could interact with ginger.
Ginger for sensitive stomachs:
You may be avoiding spices if you have tendency of having a sensitive stomach. However, regular consumption of ginger might actually alleviate nausea and other gut issues. So you can slowly introduce ginger in your diet, and help your stomach sensitivities. The best way to do this is to start consuming ginger tea.
The bottom line:
Ginger is packed with nutrients and medicinal compounds, and it will do you a world of good to include it in your diet. So introduce it in your diet, albeit slowly.
Author’s Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only and is no way a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult your physician or other qualified health providers before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health programs, including natural remedies.