Ginger has been revered as a culinary and medicinal spice in many traditional cultures. It is also a very powerful remedy with numerous purported health benefits — from reducing nausea and PMS symptoms to fighting inflammation and boosting testosterone. Read on to learn more about all its health potential, dosing, and side effects.
As stated by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCIH), there is some information about the use of ginger for nausea and vomiting. Much less information is available about its other uses and purported health benefits.
The NCCIH points out that ginger may help relieve pregnancy-related nausea and vomiting, according to some evidence. It may also help to control nausea related to cancer chemotherapy when used in addition to conventional anti-nausea medication .
On the other hand, it’s unclear whether ginger is helpful for postsurgery nausea, motion sickness, rheumatoid arthritis, or osteoarthritis
Gingerols are the major compounds in fresh ginger and less so in dry ginger.
Shogaols are produced from gingerols during the drying process and are present in higher amounts in dried ginger.
All of these compounds are antioxidants, while some of them have anti-tumor, anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving, antimicrobial, and liver-protecting activities. However, these properties were only investigated in cell-based studies. It’s unknown if the active compounds in ginger will have these effects in humans. Further research is needed .
As far as ginger root supplements go, a recent analysis of 10 supplements randomly purchased in health stores showed that their active compounds greatly vary. One supplement was high in one active component and low in another, while for the next supplement it was the opposite. Plus, ginger supplements still aren’t standardized to a specified amount of one of the active ingredients
Ginger is a blooming plant that has its origins in the Southeast Asian countries. Among the world’s healthiest (and most delectable) spices, turmeric is one of the most often used.
It is a member of the Zingiberaceae family and is closely related to other spices such as turmeric, cardamom, and galangal.
The rhizome (the subterranean portion of the stem) is the component of the plant that is most usually used as a spice. It is referred to either ginger root or ginger root root, depending on who you ask.
Ginger may be consumed in a variety of forms, including fresh, dried, powdered, oil, and juice. It’s a fairly frequent element in a wide variety of dishes. It is sometimes used in the production of processed foods and cosmetics.
Scientific study has shown that ginger has a number of health advantages. Here are 10 of them.
1. It contains gingerol, which is a compound with potent therapeutic qualities
A very lengthy history of usage in many types of traditional and alternative medicine may be traced back thousands of years. Some of the benefits of this herb include aiding in digestion, reducing nausea, and assisting in the battle against the flu and common cold, to mention a few.
Ginger’s distinct scent and taste are derived from its natural oils, the most significant of which is gingerol, which is present in high concentration.
It is gingerol that is the most active bioactive molecule found in ginger. Ginger’s therapeutic benefits are mostly attributed to this compound.
A recent study found that the compound gingerol has potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. For example, it may be beneficial in reducing oxidative stress, which is the consequence of an excessive quantity of free radicals in the body’s tissues.
2. Can be used to treat a variety of nausea symptoms, including morning sickness
Ginger seems to be quite beneficial in the treatment of nausea.
It may be beneficial for those who are having some kinds of surgery since it may alleviate nausea and vomiting. Ginger may possibly be beneficial for chemotherapy-induced nausea, although bigger human research are required to confirm this.
When it comes to nausea associated with pregnancy, such as morning sickness, it may, nevertheless, be the most effective treatment.
The consumption of 1.1–1.5 grams of ginger per day during pregnancy, according to an analysis of 12 research involving a total of 1,278 pregnant women, may dramatically lessen nausea symptoms.
However, according to the findings of this study, ginger had no influence on vomiting episodes.
Even though ginger is generally regarded safe, you should consult your doctor before consuming significant doses of it while pregnant.
Ginger should be avoided by pregnant women who are near to labor or who have had miscarriages, according to medical advice. The use of ginger is not recommended if you have a history of vaginal bleeding or blood clotting issues.
3. It has the potential to aid with weight reduction
According to research done on both people and animals, ginger may be beneficial in the reduction of body fat.
Several studies conducted in 2019 indicated that ginger supplementation effectively lowered body weight, the waist-hip ratio, and the hip ratio in patients who were overweight or obese.
A 2016 research of 80 obese women discovered that ginger might also help lower body mass index (BMI) and insulin levels in the bloodstream, according to the findings. Obesity is connected with elevated insulin levels in the blood.
For 12 weeks, study participants received daily dosages of ginger powder that were quite high — 2 grams — in comparison to other supplements.
Another conclusion reached by a 2019 assessment of the research on functional foods was that ginger has a very beneficial impact on obesity and weight reduction. Additional research, on the other hand, is required).
The evidence in support of ginger’s function in obesity prevention is greater in animal research than in human studies.
When rats and mice were given ginger water or ginger extract, their body weight continuously decreased, even when they were also provided high-fat diets, according to the research.
Ginger’s capacity to promote weight reduction may be attributed to a variety of different processes, such as its ability to increase the amount of calories expended or to decrease inflammation in the body.
4. It may be beneficial in the treatment of osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a widespread health issue that affects millions of people worldwide.
It is characterized by the deterioration of the joints in the body, which manifests itself as symptoms such as joint pain and stiffness.
According to one analysis of the research, patients who took ginger to treat their osteoarthritis had considerable decreases in pain and impairment.
Minor adverse effects, such as a dislike for the taste of ginger, were noticed. However, the taste of ginger, along with stomach distress, was enough to cause approximately 22% of the research participants to withdraw from the experiment.
Participants in the study received between 500 milligrams (mg) and 1 gram of ginger every day for a period ranging from three to twelve weeks. A large number of them had been diagnosed with osteoarthritis of the knee.
According to the findings of another research from 2011, a combination of topical ginger, mastic, cinnamon, and sesame oil may help relieve pain and stiffness in persons who have osteoarthritis of the knee.
5. Has the potential to significantly decrease blood sugar levels and improve heart disease risk factors.
Although research in this field is still in its early stages, ginger seems to offer potent anti-diabetic capabilities.
In a 2015 research of 41 people with type 2 diabetes, 2 grams of ginger powder taken twice a day resulted in a 12 percent reduction in fasting blood sugar.
It also had a significant impact on hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), which is a measure of long-term blood glucose levels. Over the course of 12 weeks, the HbA1c level was lowered by ten percent.
As a result of the study, the Apolipoprotein B/Apolipoprotein A-I ratio was reduced by 28 percent, and malondialdehyde (MDA), which is produced as a consequence of oxidative stress, was reduced by 23 percent. Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is associated with a high ApoB/ApoA-I ratio as well as elevated MDA levels.
Keep in mind, however, that this was just a tiny research with limited results. Although the findings are very encouraging, they must be validated in bigger trials before any recommendations can be made.
The findings of a 2019 literature analysis found that ginger considerably lowered HbA1c levels in persons with type 2 diabetes, which is somewhat hopeful. However, the researchers discovered that ginger had no influence on fasting blood sugar levels.
6. It has the potential to aid in the treatment of chronic dyspepsia
Continuous pain and discomfort in the upper portion of the stomach are the hallmarks of chronic indigestion, which occurs on a regular basis.
In most cases, it is considered that delayed stomach emptying is a primary contributing factor to indigestion. It is interesting to note that ginger has been demonstrated to accelerate the emptying of the stomach.
In a tiny 2011 trial, participants with functional dyspepsia, which is indigestion that has no recognized etiology, were randomly assigned to receive either ginger pills or a placebo. After an hour, they were all served soup together.
People who got ginger had their stomachs empty in 12.3 minutes, compared to those who did not. Patients who got the placebo took 16.1 minutes to complete the test .
These side effects have been seen in persons who do not experience dyspepsia. In a study conducted by other members of the same research team in 2008, 24 healthy adults were randomly assigned to receive either ginger pills or a placebo. After an hour had passed, they were all served soup.
The use of ginger, as contrasted to a placebo, resulted in a considerable acceleration in stomach emptying. It took 13.1 minutes for those who got ginger and 26.7 minutes for those who received a placebo to complete the study.
7. It has the potential to considerably lessen menstruation discomfort.
Dysmenorrhea is a term used to describe the discomfort experienced throughout the menstrual period.
Ginger has traditionally been used to relieve discomfort, especially menstrual cramps, according to folklore.
For the first three days of their menstrual cycle, 150 women were directed to take either ginger or a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicine (NSAID) according to the results of a 2009 research.
A total of four daily doses of either ginger powder (250 mg), mefenamic acid (250 mg), or ibuprofen were given to each of the three groups (400 mg). Ginger was able to alleviate pain just as well as the two NSAIDs together.
Several recent studies have also indicated that ginger is more effective than a placebo and is on par with medications such as mefenamic acid and acetaminophen/caffeine/ibuprofen in terms of reducing inflammation (Novafen).
Despite the fact that these results are encouraging, further high-quality research with greater numbers of study participants are still required.
8. It is possible that it will assist decrease cholesterol levels
LDL (bad) cholesterol levels beyond a certain threshold are associated with an increased risk of heart disease.
The meals you consume may have a significant impact on your LDL cholesterol levels.
According to the results of a 2018 research of 60 persons with hyperlipidemia, the 30 participants who got 5 grams of ginger pasted powder every day had their LDL (bad cholesterol) levels decline by 17.4 percent over a three-month period.
While the reduction in LDL cholesterol is significant, it is crucial to remember that the subjects in the research got quite high doses of ginger.
Many participants in an OA trial in which they received dosages of 500 mg–1 gram of ginger mentioned an unpleasant taste in their mouth as their reason for withdrawing from the study.
The dosages used for the hyperlipidemia trial are 5–10 times greater than the standard dose. It’s possible that the majority of individuals will have difficulties maintaining a 5-gram dosage for an extended period of time in order to notice effects.
Participants in a previous trial conducted in 2008 who took 3 grams of ginger powder (in capsule form) twice a day reported substantial decreases in the majority of cholesterol indicators. Over the course of 45 days, their LDL (bad) cholesterol levels decreased by 10%.
An animal research in which rats with hypothyroidism or diabetes were studied lends confirmation to these conclusions. Researchers found that ginger extract had a comparable effect on LDL (bad) cholesterol levels as the cholesterol-lowering medication atorvastatin.
The overall cholesterol levels of study participants in all three investigations decreased as well. Reduced levels of triglycerides in the blood were seen in both the research participants and the laboratory rats in 2008.
9. Contains a chemical that may be beneficial in the prevention of cancer
Ginger has being investigated as a potential alternative treatment for a variety of cancers.
The anti-cancer benefits of raw ginger are ascribed to the presence of gingerol, which is present in high concentrations in the root. A type of ginger known as -gingerol is thought to be particularly potent.
When 2 grams of ginger extract per day was consumed by persons at normal risk for colorectal cancer during a 28-day period, the pro-inflammatory signaling molecules in the colon were considerably decreased.
A follow-up trial with those who were at high risk for colorectal cancer, on the other hand, did not generate the same conclusions.
A small amount of data suggests that ginger may be beneficial against different types of gastrointestinal malignancies, including pancreatic cancer and liver cancer, albeit the evidence is conflicting.
As well as breast cancer, it may be effective in the treatment of ovarian cancer. In general, additional investigation is required.
The ability to increase brain function and guard against Alzheimer’s disease are two of the benefits of this supplement.
10. Chronic inflammation and oxidative stress both have the potential to hasten the aging process.
They’re thought to be one of the primary causes of Alzheimer’s disease and age-related cognitive decline in the elderly.
The antioxidants and bioactive chemicals found in ginger, according to certain animal studies, may be able to reduce the inflammatory reactions that occur in the brain.
There is also some evidence that ginger can directly contribute to the improvement of brain function. According to the findings of a 2012 research conducted on healthy middle-aged women, taking daily dosages of ginger extract improved response speed and working memory.
Apart from that, a large number of animal studies have demonstrated that ginger can help to protect against age-related decline in brain function.
Including ginger in your daily diet
If you wish to include ginger into your diet, you may do so via the foods and beverages you consume. Here are a couple recipes for chicken and beverages to get you started:
- ginger chicken is a popular dish in Japan.
- a chicken dish with garlic and ginger, as well as cilantro and mint
- chicken with orange and ginger sauce
- chicken with lemon and ginger
- tea made with fresh ginger
- tea made with ginger root
- juice made from malian ginger
The bottom line is as follows:
Ginger is packed with minerals and bioactive chemicals that have tremendous health benefits for both the body and the brain, making it an excellent food choice.
It’s one of the very few superfoods that is genuinely deserving of the moniker.