You may know that ginger is a common ingredient in Asian and Indian cuisine, but did you know that it’s been used for centuries for its healing properties? Ginger has a long history of health benefits, including relief from nausea, digestive issues and pain. The most commonly used part of the plant for medicinal purposes is the root or underground stem, known as the rhizome. It can be consumed fresh, powdered, dried as a spice, or used in the form of an oil or as juice. If you don’t use ginger in your kitchen, here are 8 reasons why you might want to start!
1. Ginger Relieves Digestive Issues
The phenolic compounds in ginger have been shown to help relieve irritation in the gastrointestinal tract. They help to stimulate saliva and bile production while allowing food and fluids to move through the GI tract more smoothly. In a study of 24 healthy individuals, taking 1.2 grams of ginger powder before a meal accelerated emptying of the stomach, reducing indigestion by 50%.
2. Ginger Relieves Nausea
Drinking ginger tea or even consuming raw ginger is a common and safe home remedy for nausea, especially during cancer treatment or pregnancy and morning sickness. A review of 12 studies that included a total of 1,278 pregnant women found that 1.1-1.5 grams of ginger significantly reduced nausea.
3. Ginger Can Relieve Pain
A study conducted at the University of Georgia found that daily ginger supplementation reduced muscle pain by 25%. Ginger has also been found to reduce pain during menstrual cycles. Researchers also believe that ginger is effective at reducing the day-to-day progression of muscle pain.
4. Ginger Reduces Inflammation
Osteoarthritis is a common health problem that involves the degeneration of the joints in the body, causing joint pain and stiffness. In a trial of 247 people with osteoarthritis of the knee, those who took ginger extract had less pain and required less pain medication.
5. Ginger May Reduce Risk of Heart Disease
In a recent study involving participants with type 2 diabetes, researchers found that 2 grams of ginger powder each day lowered blood sugar and led to a 10% overall reduction over a period of 12 weeks. High blood sugar is a major risk factor for heart disease. With the effects of ginger on blood sugar, your risk of heart disease may be lowered by at leas 10%.
6. Ginger May Lower Cholesterol Levels
A 45-day study involving 85 people with high cholesterol concluded that 3 grams of ginger powder each day caused significant reductions in cholesterol levels. Researchers believe that ginger can aid in lowering cholesterol levels and reducing the risk of heart disease.
7. Ginger May Have Anti-Cancer Properties
A substance in ginger known as 6-gingerol has been studied as an alternative treatment for several types of cancer. Research on this theory is still being conducted, but one study found that 2 grams of ginger extract each day significantly reduced pro-inflammatory signaling molecules in the colon.
8. Ginger May Improve Brain Function
Oxadative stress and chronic inflammation are two factors that can accelerate the aging process, and become a key driver of Alzheimer’s disease and other age-related cognitive impairments. Some studies suggest that the antioxidants and bioactive compounds in ginger can inhibit inflammatory responses that occur in the brain. In a study of 60 middle-aged women, ginger extract was shown to improve reaction time and working memory, suggesting that ginger supports brain health in multiple ways.