Many cultures have used ginger as a cooking ingredient for centuries. Ginger is a rhizomatous plant that originated from India and quickly spread around the globe and into our kitchens.
If you don’t have ginger on your spice rack, you’re definitely missing out on something spectacular. The small golden herb has a fine taste and aroma that can transform a basic dish into an exquisite meal.
5 Proven Health Benefits of Ginger
This ancient spice also has numerous medicinal properties and is highly recommended by medical practitioners. Added to the flavor it brings, these health benefits make it a must-have for everyone.
1. Alleviate Nausea
Nausea is an ill feeling accompanied by an involuntary urge to vomit. It has been used for many years to remedy seasickness, and evidence supports its use as a suitable remedy for nausea due to many causes. It can also alleviate nausea after surgery and in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.
Certain medications are also known to trigger vomiting. Nausea is caused by an increase in serotonin in the vagus nerve pathway. Based on tissue and cellular research, ginger blocks excess serotonin and thus preventing the vagus nerve activation in the stomach and gut.
In a study that monitored a total of 1,278 pregnant women, results showed 1.1-1.5 grams of ginger greatly alleviates nausea. If used for at least four days in a row the effects may increase by up to five times.
One gram taken before medication is enough to mitigate both mild and severe nausea after two weeks.
2. Decreases Inflammation
It has been scientifically proven that ginger decreases inflammation. It contains a compound known as gingerol, which is a natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.
Inflammation can occur as a result of illness or injury. When inflammation does occur, it triggers the white blood cells to become active.
Overactive immune systems may also trigger unnecessary inflammation. Data collected from nine clinical studies indicate ginger reduces CRP, an inflammation marker, levels in the blood. Oleoresins, which cause ginger to be pungent, also decrease inflammation.
Ginger blocks the COX enzymes, which cause pain and inflammation in cells by triggering the release of inflammatory chemicals called leukotrienes and prostaglandins. These properties that help decrease inflammation also make ginger an effective painkiller.
Studies that targeted athletes demonstrated a dose of two grams taken daily for five days reduces muscle pain from heavy exercises. Further research indicated it is just as effective as some popular painkillers but does not damage the stomach lining.
3. Lower Risk of Heart Disease
Over thirty-five percent of American adults are obese. Obesity significantly increases the chances of developing heart problems, which is the leading cause of death in the United States with over 600,000 deaths annually. Blood clots are often attributed to heart attacks and strokes.
Gingerol, as stated, is one of the anti-inflammatory components of ginger, and is responsible for preventing abnormal blood coagulation. It can also lower the risk of heart disease by reducing cholesterol build up in arteries by reducing inflammation and oxidative stress.
According to tests conducted on rats, it can also lower blood pressure by relaxing the blood vessels, which helps lower risk of heart disease.
4. Treats Chronic Indigestion
Indigestion occurs due to overeating, eating quickly, and taking foods with a lot of fat, among other reasons. It usually causes nausea, heartburn, bloating, and stomach cramps.
Ginger has antioxidants that relax the esophagus and digestive tract, which helps treat chronic indigestion. The herb has over one hundred components, most of which aid the digestive process.
A four-week study done on patients with indigestion revealed a combination of ginger and artichoke improved digestion, bloating, nausea, and stomach pain.
Another study where participants took 1,200 milligrams of ginger before a meal showed it increased stomach emptying, further illustrating why ginger treats chronic indigestion.
5. Fights Infections
Individuals who don’t have a strong immune system and seem to always find themselves catching a cold don’t have to worry nearly as much anymore.
It has powerful anti-fungal and anti-microbial compounds that fight infections. Research shows fresh ginger prevents the common cold virus from entering human cells. It can also kill thirteen types of fungus that cause human diseases.
It can halt the growth of nineteen strains of Helicobacter pylori, which causes stomach ulcers. This also includes some drug-resistant strains.
The fact ginger fights infections cannot be overstated, as it kills many disease-causing bacteria. It also improves the effects of anti-tuberculosis medication.