Along with its delicious flavor, ginger is one of the healthiest spices in the world. Originally from Asia, ginger has been used for its medicinal purposes for nearly 2,000 years by various cultures. Today, the beneficial spice is making quite a name for itself here in the U.S. and rightfully so. Below is our list of the top 22 health benefits of ginger root.
Prevention & Treatment
1. Fights Cancer
Today, most people are affected by cancer in one way or another. Chances are you know someone who is battling cancer or you may be fighting it yourself. If that’s the case, add ginger to your daily diet. Several studies have found it beneficial in fighting lung, prostate, ovarian, colon, breast, skin, and pancreatic cancers.
According to researchers, ginger’s anti-cancer properties are a result of the compound 6-gingerol, which is found in large amounts in raw ginger. 6-gingerol has anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor activities.
Adding ginger to your diet can help prevent new cancer cells from forming and destroy active ones. It’s also beneficial for people who are already on cancer treatments since ginger has been known to prevent the toxic effects of cancer drugs. In a study with 744 cancer patients, ginger supplementation significantly reduced chemotherapy-induced nausea.
2. Protects Against Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that affects the central nervous system. It accounts for nearly 60–70 percent of dementia cases in people over 65 years old worldwide. If Alzheimer’s runs in your family or you are worried you may one day suffer from the disease, you should think about incorporating more ginger into your current diet and daily routine.
Research shows ginger can help slow down the loss of brain cells, which typically leads to Alzheimer’s Disease. Additionally, some studies done on animals suggest the antioxidants and other powerful compounds found in ginger can fight inflammatory responses that occur in the brain. Other animal studies show that consuming ginger can protect against age-related decline in brain function.
These findings weren’t only reached in animal studies, though. In one study, researchers gave 60 middle-aged women ginger extract or a placebo. Researchers then evaluated the women’s memory and brain function. They found women who consumed ginger displayed “enhanced working memory.”
3. Helps with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Symptoms
IBS is a common disorder that affects nearly 25-45 million Americans. Some symptoms include cramps, bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation, and mucus in the stool. People who suffer from painful IBS will be happy to hear ginger can offer some relief. That’s because, according to a 2010 study in the Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand, ginger can help relax the intestines during a flare-up. Another study published in 2010 in Complementary Therapies in Medicine found that ginger helped relieve the symptoms in 53.3% of participants.
There are several ways you can consume ginger – add ginger root in your cooked dishes, take ginger supplements or brew ginger tea. The good news is they all seem to have a calming effect on the digestive system.
4. Relieves Gas
Gas can be embarrassing at the wrong times. While there are a wide variety of anti-gas products on the market, it’s always best to try the natural route first. Ginger tea is easy enough to make and has been proven effective at relieving gas. Drink a cup of ginger tea before you go to sleep to let it work its magic overnight while you’re sleeping. According to a 2016 study in the Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal, ginger should act to clear out your digestive system and neutralize the problem from inside.
You can make your own ginger tea by adding one two-inch slice of fresh ginger root to two cups of water. On your stove, bring the ginger water to a boil and then let steep for about half an hour.
5. Relieves Heartburn
Heartburn is the main symptom of acid reflux, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a common condition that affects nearly 50 percent of Americans. Today, approximately 20 million Americans are taking an acid inhibiting drug to treat painful heartburn. There’s a problem with that statistic, though. Studies show certain heartburn drugs do more harm than good. Instead of turning to drugs, drink ginger tea.
According to doctors, ginger has been found to have a gastroprotective effect, meaning it prevents the loosening of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) and blocks acid from regurgitating back into the esophagus. It also kills off harmful bacteria, such as Helicobacter pylori. This type of bacteria is linked to acid reflux.
“A study on ginger and its effects on the Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES) found that 1g of ginger was able to reduce LES pressure, which may exacerbate negative effects of heartburn in susceptible persons”
For best results, it’s recommended you drink one cup of ginger tea 20 minutes before a meal.
6. Aids Weight Loss
Losing weight is one of the best things you can do for your overall health. Did you know being overweight can lead to heart attack, stroke, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, and some cancers? To help aid your weight loss efforts, incorporate ginger into your diet.
Ginger is a natural ingredient that’s found in many “fat-burning” supplements. It can speed up the metabolism, leading to calorie-burning. It can also help keep you feeling full for longer, reducing your overall calorie intake. Research has shown that ginger can increase the thermic effect of food that you eat it with, which may result in burning even more calories than usual during the digestive process. Although, scientists have acknowledged that more studies for ginger’s effect on weight loss are required.
7. Suppresses Appetite
Ginger may help keep you feeling full, suppressing your appetite and ultimately reducing your daily calorie intake. A 2012 study published in the journal Metabolism found people who drank a hot ginger beverage containing 2 grams of ginger powder after meals reduced feelings of hunger for up to six hours.
8. Helps Manage Blood Sugar Levels
A study coming out of Australia suggests that ginger can help keep blood glucose levels in check. This is important because these levels have a direct impact on weight loss and weight gain, as well as how energetic or lethargic you feel throughout the day.
If you’ve noticed that you’re feeling a mid-day crash it’s likely due to your blood sugar levels. Adding ginger to your lunch might help you stay focused and on task. Think of ginger as an all-natural alternative to products like 5 Hour “Energy.”
9. Relieves Tired Muscles
When you workout, your muscles naturally get tired. One way to help speed up muscle recovery is to munch on ginger root. Studies have shown people who eat ginger experience a significant reduction in muscle pain, allowing people to get back to the gym in a shorter amount of time. More workouts lead to increased lean muscle mass, which generally equates to natural weight loss as you burn calories around the clock.
10. Boosts Nutrient Absorption
You probably don’t realize, but when you eat a healthy meal you aren’t actually absorbing all of the beneficial nutrients. Rather, people only absorb anywhere between 10-90 percent of the vitamins and minerals in their food. If you are looking to improve your health and lose weight, you’ll want to absorb as many nutrients as possible.
That’s because nutrients can signal your hormones to let the body know when it’s full and keep your fat-burning system working in tip-top shape. Ginger, according to Dr. Jockers, has been known to boost nutrient absorption!
General Health and Wellness
11. Helps with Morning Sickness
Pregnant women might want to increase their ginger intake if they are suffering from bouts of morning sickness. That’s because the ginger acts as a calming agent. When compared to a placebo in clinical tests, participants who consumed ginger noticed significant symptom relief.
12. Reduces Arthritic Inflammation
According to a 2013 study, ginger has powerful anti-inflammatory properties. For that reason, it can help relieve a host of inflammation-based conditions and diseases. That includes arthritis, a condition that affects millions of Americans. Along with reducing inflammation, people with arthritis can expect some pain relief from the ginger.
13. Opens Up Inflamed Airways
If you have asthma you have likely been scouring the internet for ways to help open up your airways (ones that don’t involve taking steroid-based medications). In a 2013 study and a 2014 study, researchers found that ginger opened up airways by reducing inflammation. It can also relieve pain associated with asthma. While researchers say ginger may not solve your asthma condition on its own, it can definitely be used as part of a comprehensive approach.
14. Improves Circulation
One 2010 study found that ginger was capable of relieving pain and stimulating blood flow. It’s medicinal properties can help thin blood, improving overall circulation. As ginger improves blood flow, it can generate a warm feeling inside the body. That’s one reason many people enjoy sipping ginger tea on cold days.
15. Heals Frostbite
Here’s a handy tip to remember if you ever come down with a case of frostbite. You can drink ginger tea during your recovery process to speed up recovery. Ginger will help to improve your circulation, which helps your body return the affected parts back to their normal state.
You don’t have to drink very much of it in order to get the desired results. Just about 8 ounces a day is all that’s necessary to have it work.
16. Stops Motion Sickness
Ginger has long been used as a natural remedy for motion sickness. If you get car sick or sea sick then it’s a smart idea to consume a little ginger before you get in the car or boat. Ginger is so effective at settling an upset stomach that it has even been shown to outdo OTC medications like Dramamine.
It eases all of the accompanying symptoms of motion sickness, so you don’t have to worry about getting dizzy, feeling nauseous, breaking into cold sweats, or worse, puking out the window or over the side of the boat.
17. Provides Pain Relief
Forget ibuprofen, try consuming ginger instead! No matter what type of pain you’re suffering from, ginger can act as a natural pain reliever. Along with fighting inflammation that can cause aches and pains, studies show that ginger can also work on a hormonal level. Consider starting your morning with a cup of ginger tea and see if you notice improvements throughout the day.
18. Clears Sinuses
Remember the studies showing how ginger help open up airways? Exactly. If you’re looking for sinus relief without having to resort to an over-the-counter drug, turn to ginger first. There is an active ingredient in ginger that has shown to work wonders on the sinuses, helping to unclog them and facilitate drainage. All you need to do is brew a nice cup of hot ginger tea to get the benefits without the use of medications with possible side effects.
19. Improves Your Breath
Unlike other foods like garlic, ginger can actually help to improve your breath. Eat ginger toward the end of your meal so it can cleanse your palate and leave your mouth feeling refreshed. You can also drink it as a beverage mixed with simple hot water. It’s a great way to flush out your mouth and neutralize a bad taste in your mouth, like the dreaded “coffee breath” from drinking coffee.
20. Increases Sex Drive
With an increased functioning of the circulatory system, it’s no wonder that ginger has been referred to as an aphrodisiac for thousands of years. It didn’t take long for people to make the connection between ginger and an extra pep in the step! The nice part is that it works for both sexes equally since it can increase circulation in both female and male sex organs.
21. Boosts Immune System
Does it seem like every time you turn around you’re battling another cold or illness? If so, chances are your immune system is weak. Your diet plays a large role in strengthening or weakening your immune system. To keep your body’s defense system strong, eat ginger. Researchers claim ginger can cleanse the lymphatic system, flush out toxins, and kill bacteria. One study even found that, because of its warming effect, ginger acts as antiviral for the treatment of cold and flu.
22. Protects Against Nuclear Radiation
Hopefully, this isn’t something you’ll ever have to worry about, but it’s still good to know in case World War III breaks out. People living near the Fukushima disaster area have given strong consideration to upping their ginger intake with this news. If you want to get the full benefits of this feature you’ll have to have a daily dose of ginger so it’s in your system and stays there.
In Dr. Michael Greger’s book “How Not to Die,” he explained that “white blood cells blasted with gamma rays suffered less DNA damage when the cells had been pretreated with phytonutrients from ginger root.”
As you can see, ginger offers many benefits to protect the entire body. So next time you go food shopping, don’t forget to pick up some ginger root. When you’re selecting the perfect piece of ginger root, look for the following:
- The ginger should be firm to the touch
- The bigger the piece of ginger root the older it is and the more pungent its flavor will be
- No discolorations or soft spots
Whether you want to use ginger root in your cooked meals, brewed in hot water to make ginger tea, blended into a smoothie, or pressed into fresh juice, you should be able to reap its many benefits. Check out this video for a delicious and healthy ginger juice recipe:
Does ginger boost metabolism?
According to researchers, ginger root can give your metabolism a boost, aiding weight loss. If you are trying to boost your metabolism, also fill your plate with fresh vegetables and lean protein. Plus, you want to make sure to hit the gym. Did you know by increasing the amount of lean muscle you have, it could help your body burn calories even hours after your workout?
Will ginger make you sleepy?
As a result of its calming nature, a common question about ginger is: Will it make me sleepy or drowsy? The answer is no! Since it increases circulation, most people who eat or drink ginger actually report a boost of energy. When it is time for sleep, though, ginger may help remove toxins that can cause sleeplessness, allowing you to fall asleep more easily.
Is ginger calming?
Because ginger improves the circulation, many report a feeling of warmth and an overall feeling of calmness after taking it. It also has calming and soothing properties for the internal organs due to its anti-inflammatory effects. Many times ginger ale is served to someone that has an upset stomach, due to its calming properties.
Does ginger give you energy?
It may help boost your energy because ginger can increase the function of the circulatory system, allowing your blood to move more freely throughout the body. The sensation this provides is one where you feel the “get up and go” that you once did in your younger years.
Will ginger make you poop?
There is some anecdotal evidence that ginger helps keep you regular or acts as a laxative. However, it is not as reliable as other all-natural herbs and spices that are known to get things moving. Because it helps to cleanse your digestive tract, it can also lead to more frequent bowel movements.
Is ginger easy to digest?
For most people, ginger is easy to digest and actually aids in the digestion of other foods. Of course, there are cases where some have reported having trouble digesting and processing ginger. If you are worried about being able to process it properly, start off with a little bit and see how you respond to it. Gradually increase your intake as you get the all clear from your body.
Does ginger boost the immune system?
One of the properties of ginger is that it does help to strengthen the immune system. Studies have shown that cancer patients taking daily supplements of ginger are able to recover more quickly from anti-cancer procedures compared to those that take nothing or a placebo.
Is ginger high in vitamins?
Ginger isn’t really known for the high amount of vitamins it contains, but rather the effect it has on the body directly. It has small amounts of Vitamin A and C. It also has a nice amount of potassium (while not a vitamin, potassium is a mineral worth noting).
Does ginger cause gas?
It shouldn’t, in fact, it helps to neutralize gas from forming in your digestive system. Drinking ginger tea on a regular basis should actually cut down on the amount of gas you have.
Is ginger low carb?
There are .4 grams of carbs in one teaspoon of ginger root. Since you don’t typically use much more than a teaspoon of ginger in cooked dishes or ginger tea, it’s fair to say that this superfood fits into a low-carb diet. It should also help keep you feeling full for longer periods of time, helping to overcome the strong feeling of hunger typically associated with low-carb diets.
Does ginger dehydrate you?
Ginger acts as a diuretic, so if you don’t keep yourself properly hydrated you might find that you get dehydrated more quickly. Be sure to drink an extra glass of water to account for your ginger intake.
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