People have known the health benefits of ginger for many thousands of years. One of the main staples of Traditional Chinese Medicine and an ingredient in a huge variety of dietary supplements, ginger is a bit of a wonder-spice, used to treat all sorts of conditions, as well as support a generally healthy body.
If you start consuming ginger on a daily basis, your body will use the nutrients and chemical components of the root spice in a variety of ways, providing protections and supporting development in all the right places. We’ve compiled a little insight into just 20 of the ways ginger can transform your health.
The best thing about all of these benefits is that you can get them in the comfort of your own home, at very low cost, and with minimal effort!
What Are The Benefits?
1) Fight Cancer Cells
In a study by the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, researchers found that ginger could kill cancer cells, as well as prevent them from becoming resistant to chemotherapy (a common issue in ovarian cancer). They applied ginger powder and water to ovarian cancer cells and the cells either committed suicide (apoptosis) or attacked themselves (autophagy) (1).
In a study by the same university, it was found that those consuming ginger had lower levels of inflammation in the colon and intestines, which reduces the risk of colon cancer. (2)
2) Reduce Inflammation
One of the key benefits of eating ginger is the spice’s ability to treat health conditions related to cell inflammation. This is thanks to the active component of the root – gingerol. This can reduce muscle swelling and pain in arthritis patients, and is beneficial for people experiencing illnesses caused by cell inflammation such as diabetes and Alzheimers (3).
3) Improve Brain Function
There is some evidence that ginger enhances brain function. In a study of 60 middle-aged women, eating ginger extract was found to improve reaction time and working memory. There are also quite a few animal studies showing that ginger can protect the brain against age-related decline in function (7).
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4) Treat Heartburn and Acid Reflux
Almost half of all Americans suffer from heartburn (9). Thankfully, nature has a solution in the form of ginger. Stop spending money on pricey antacids (which some studies suggest may be doing more harm than good) and instead, switch to delicious-tasting ginger.
Doctors have found that ginger helps prevent the loosening of the lower oesophageal sphincter, and stops acid from washing up into the esophagus, both of which cause the sensation of heartburn. One study found that ginger was between six and eight times more effective than conventional acid blocker drugs at preventing ulcers and fighting ulcer-causing bacteria (3).
5) Nutrient Absorption
No matter how healthily you eat, and how many nutrients you try and get into your diet, you’ll only be as healthy as the nutrients you can absorb! If you don’t absorb nutrients properly, you won’t get any of the benefits from them. Ginger can help you to get all the nutritional benefits from the foods you eat. This will also help you if you are hoping to lose weight, as nutrients can signal your hormones to let the body know when it’s full (9).
6) Treat A Tickly Throat
One of the things ginger is most famous for, is its ability to fight coughs. If you slice and slightly crush some fresh ginger and then add to boiling water, you will release its active ingredients and increase its potency. Drinking this tea will soothe a sore throat and ease coughing much better than any medication out there!
7) Blast Through Congestion
If you make the tea as described above and then add some coconut milk and a little local honey, you will create a powerful congestion-blasting remedy. Not only does it taste amazing, but it also breaks through phlegm, and the honey will help you to top-up your immune system. The warmth of the tea entering your throat can help soothe and reduce chest inflammation and essentially melt away any chest mucus causing you to feel stuffy (4).
8) Fight Infections
Gingerol, the active substance in fresh ginger, has been shown to help lower the risk of infections. Several studies have even linked gingerol to inhibiting the growth of certain bacteria, and it has been demonstrated to be particularly potent against certain oral bacteria. This makes ginger very effective against gingivitis and gum disease (7).
9) Stop Chronic Indigestion
You might think it’s just an old wives’ tale to drink ginger ale if you have an upset stomach or trouble digesting, but ginger is actually incredibly effective at soothing a poorly tummy. Ginger speeds up the digestive process. This is vital, as it is the delayed emptying of the stomach which is thought to cause pain and discomfort in those with indigestion. In a study of 24 healthy individuals, just 1.2 grams (around half a teaspoon) of ginger powder before a meal, sped up the emptying of the stomach by 50% (7).
10) Help With Irritable Bowel Syndrome
By taking a dose of ginger every day, you can help keep your gut relaxed, preventing it from flaring up and causing any of the symptoms related to IBS. These include cramps, bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation. It is believed that up to 45 million Americans suffer from IBS, so if you are one of them, turn to ginger for welcome relief! (9)
11) Relieve Gas
Unwanted gas is an embarrassing problem for many people, but ginger has been proven to be effective at relieving gas. Two chemicals in the root – gingerol and shogaol – relax the intestinal tract and help ease inflammation. At the same time, the root itself acts as a carminative – it prevents the formation of excess gas, and helps expel it (10). No more embarrassing moments!
12) Reduce Nausea, From Motion Sickness to Morning Sickness!
Eating ginger when you are experiencing nausea is one of the most efficient ways to deal with it. According to a review of 12 studies including a total of 1,278 pregnant women, just 1.1-1.5 grams of ginger can significantly reduce symptoms of nausea (6). If you know you are prone to travel sickness, it is worth taking some homemade ginger candies along for the ride to suck on during your journey – you’ll quickly soothe your nausea!
13) Ease the Pain of Menstrual Cramps
Traditionally, ginger has been used in a huge range of pain relieving remedies. One of which is for menstrual pain. In a 2009 study, 150 women took one gram of ginger powder per day, for the first three days of their menstrual cycle. Ginger was found to reduce pain just as effectively as ibuprofen and mefenamic acid (8).
14) Reduce Muscle Pain and Soreness
Though it may not have an immediate impact, like in some of the cases listed above, consuming ginger on a daily basis can help relieve some of the day-to-day soreness. One study found that daily ginger consumption over just 11 days significantly reduced muscle pain in people doing elbow exercises (7). This is, once again, thanks to ginger’s excellent anti-inflammatory properties.
15) Prevent Osteoarthritis
As our bodies age, many of us can fall victim to debilitating illnesses and osteoarthritis is a common problem. It is essentially the degeneration of the joints in the body, and it can lead to symptoms such as joint pain and stiffness. Ginger comes to the rescue again, as many studies have pointed towards a daily consumption of ginger extract leading to less pain and less need for pain medication. (7)
16) Lower Blood Sugar and Reduce Risk of Heart Disease
Though still in the early stages, there is a growing area of research that suggests that ginger might be a powerful anti-diabetic. In 2015, a study found that taking ginger powder every day lead to a lowering of fasting blood sugar by 12 percent. It also found massive reductions in two major risk factors for heart disease. (7)
17) Aid Weight Loss
There are so many supplements out there that claim to help you lose weight, but not many people realize that the majority of these supplements contain ginger. That’s because it is a natural ingredient that is so super effective at helping aid the body in a weight loss journey. It can speed up your metabolism, as well as give you the sensation of feeling fuller for longer, so you’re less tempted by snacks! (9)
18) Lower Levels of Cholesterol
Heart disease has been linked to high levels of LDL lipoproteins (commonly known as “bad” cholesterol). The foods you eat could have a pretty strong influence on the levels LDL in your blood. One study found that just three grams of ginger powder each day reduced most cholesterol markers significantly and found that blood triglycerides (fat in the blood) also reduced (7).
19) Improve Bad Breath
If you eat ginger after each of your meals, you can cleanse your palate and leave your mouth feeling clean and fresh! It can help flush out and neutralize any bad tastes that can linger in the mouth.
20) Improve Sex Drive
Saving the best ’til last! Ginger has been shown to help increase circulatory system function. It has been used for thousands of years as an aphrodisiac and works just as well on men and women!
Start Eating Ginger
So if there is one little change you can make to your diet, make it this, and get that little added kick to your health!
1. Ginger Kills Ovarian Cancer Cells. Medical News Today. 2006. Available at: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/41747.php. Accessed September 21, 2016.
2. Azvolinsky A. Ginger Root Extract’s Potential in Colorectal Cancer Prevention | Cancer Network. Cancernetworkcom. 2016. Available at: http://www.cancernetwork.com/colorectal-cancer/ginger-root-extract%E2%80%99s-potential-colorectal-cancer-prevention. Accessed September 21, 2016.
3. Health Benefits of Ginger – Prevent Cancer, Inflammation, and More. Natural Society. 2012. Available at: http://naturalsociety.com/benefits-of-ginger/. Accessed September 21, 2016.
4. Marks DMarks D. Ginger for Chest Congestion. LIVESTRONGCOM. 2015. Available at: http://www.livestrong.com/article/328749-ginger-for-chest-congestion/. Accessed September 21, 2016.
5. Warm Up to Ginger. WebMD. 2016. Available at: http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/warm-up-to-ginger#2. Accessed September 21, 2016.
6. Viljoen E, Visser J, Koen N, Musekiwa A. A systematic review and meta-analysis of the effect and safety of ginger in the treatment of pregnancy-associated nausea and vomiting. Nutrition Journal. 2014;13(1). doi:10.1186/1475-2891-13-20.
7. Joe Leech D. 11 Proven Health Benefits of Ginger. Authority Nutrition. 2015. Available at: https://authoritynutrition.com/11-proven-benefits-of-ginger/. Accessed September 21, 2016.
8. Ozgoli G, Goli M, Moattar F. Comparison of Effects of Ginger, Mefenamic Acid, and Ibuprofen on Pain in Women with Primary Dysmenorrhea. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2009;15(2):129-132. doi:10.1089/acm.2008.0311.
9. 22 Health Benefits of Ginger Root & Ginger Tea. Bembu. 2013. Available at: http://bembu.com/ginger-benefits. Accessed September 21, 2016.
10. 12 Ways to Get Rid of Gas & Bloating | Everyday Roots. Everyday Roots. 2013. Available at: http://everydayroots.com/gas-remedies. Accessed September 21, 2016.
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