Ginger is said to be one of the healthiest spices on the planet. Loaded with bioactive compounds and nutrients, it has very powerful benefits for your brain as well as your body.
Ginger is a flowering plant that finds its origin in China. It belongs to the Zingiberacesae family and it is related to turmeric and cardamon. The root of ginger is what we use for a spice.
Ginger has been used to help with digestion, reduce nausea and help fight the flu and common cold…and that’s just naming a few. It can be used fresh, dried, powered, as an oil or juice and is sometimes added to processed foods and cosmetics. It is also a very common ingredient in recipes.
Ginger contains Gingerol, which is a substance with powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Here are some more benefits that you can enjoy when using ginger…
- Ginger can treat Nausea, especially morning sickness! It has a long history of being used for seasickness and pregnancy-related nausea (morning sickness). Ginger is safe to use when you pregnant, but be mindful and do not consume large amounts because it can raise the risk of miscarriage. Ginger has been used to relieve nausea and vomiting that happens after surgery and chemotherapy.
- Ginger may reduce muscle pain and soreness, exercise-induced muscle pain, that is. It does not always have an immediate impact but has been effective at reducing the day-to-day progression of muscle pain. These effects are more than likely mediated by the anti-inflammatory properties that ginger has.
- The anti-inflammatory properties can help with Osteoarthritis, which is a common health problem. It involves the degeneration of the joints in the body; this leads to joint pain and stiffness in the body. There was a study done that found that the combination of ginger, mastic, cinnamon, and sesame seed oil, can reduce the pain and stiffness in osteoarthritis patients when applied topically.
- It can help treat Chronic Indigestion. Chronic Indigestion happens when there is recurrent pain and/or discomfort in the upper part of the stomach and it delays the emptying of the stomach. Ginger has been shown to speed up the emptying of the stomach in people that have chronic indigestion.
- Using ginger powder may reduce menstrual pain! This has been a traditional use among women. Just taking one gram of the powder per day for the first three days of her menstrual cycle can help to manage the pain…even better than ibuprofen or mefenamic acid.
- May lower cholesterol levels. Having high LDL levels can have you at risk for heart disease and the foods we eat can have a strong influence on those numbers. A study done on 85 individuals with high cholesterol that were given 3 grams of ginger powder per day caused a significant reduction in most of their cholesterol markers.
- Ginger also contains a substance that may help prevent cancer. The anti-cancer properties are attributed to 6-gingerol, which is a substance found in large amounts in raw ginger. There are more studies being done to confirm the different forms of cancers and ginger’s effectiveness against them.
- Ginger may help improve brain function and protect against Alzheimer’s Disease. Oxidative stress and chronic inflammation can accelerate the aging process and they are believed to be among the key drivers of age-related cognitive decline. There are studies that suggest that the antioxidants and bioactive compounds in ginger can inhibit inflammatory responses that occur in the brain. There is also some evidence that ginger can enhance brain function directly for things like working memory and improving reaction time.
- The active ingredient in ginger, gingerol, can help fight infections. Ginger extract can inhibit the growth of many types of bacteria. It is very effective against oral bacteria linked to inflammation in the gums such as gingivitis and periodontitis. Studies show that ginger may also be effective against the RSV virus which is a common cause of respiratory infections.
- Ginger may also help to lower blood sugars and improve heart disease risk factors in patients with type 2 diabetes. This is a relatively new area of research … it has been found that ginger may have powerful anti-diabetic properties. In 2015, a study was done that showed after having 2 grams of ginger powder per day, the patients had lower fasting blood sugars…by 12%…It also improved HbA1c, leading to a 10% reduction over a period of 12 weeks.
You can buy fresh or powdered ginger in your local grocery and health food stores. Ginger is one of the very few “superfoods” that have really seemed to earn that term. I just started using it not too long ago and I have seen the benefits, especially from its anti-inflammatory properties. I believe it is a worth a try if we are on a journey to be our healthiest selves