Ginger is among the healthiest spices on the planet. It is full of nutrients and bioactive compounds that have amazing benefits for your body and brain. Ginger once was considered a luxury spice more than 5,000 years ago . The Indians and ancient Chinese used the root of ginger as a tonic to treat common ailments. Although ginger originated in Southeast Asia, it has a long history of being used in other countries.
16 Health Benefits of Ginger, 10 are by Dr Axe!
1. Lowers Blood Sugar
Ginger may have powerful anti-diabetic properties. In a recent 2015 study of 41 participants with type 2 diabetes, 2 grams of ginger powder per day lowered fasting blood sugar by 12% .It also dramatically improved HbA1c (a marker for long-term blood sugar levels), leading to a 10% reduction over a period of 12 weeks. There was also a 28% reduction in the ApoB/ApoA-I ratio, and a 23% reduction in markers for oxidized lipoproteins. These are both major risk factors for heart disease.
2. Stroke and Heart Disease
Two of the biggest killers on the planet may be kept at bay with regular ginger use, especially when eaten with other key superfoods. Garlic, ginger and onions all have an anti-blood-clotting ability, yet when they’re eaten together they’re a powerful mainstay against heart attacks and stroke!
3. Reduce Menstrual Pain
One of the traditional uses of ginger is for pain relief, including menstrual pain. In one study, 150 women were instructed to take 1 gram of ginger powder per day, for the first 3 days of the menstrual period. Ginger managed to reduce pain as effectively as the drugs mefenamic acid and ibuprofen. Bottom Line: Ginger appears to be very effective against menstrual pain when taken at the beginning of the menstrual period.
4. Indigestion, Nausea and Morning Sickness
Ginger appears to be highly effective against nausea .
For example, it has a long history of use as a sea sickness remedy, and there is some evidence that it may be as effective as prescription medication .
Ginger may also relieve nausea and vomiting after surgery, and in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.
But it may be the most effective when it comes to pregnancy-related nausea, such as morning sickness.
According to a review of 12 studies that included a total of 1,278 pregnant women, 1.1-1.5 grams of ginger can significantly reduce symptoms of nausea .
However, ginger had no effect on vomiting episodes in this study.
Although ginger is considered safe, talk to your doctor before taking large amounts if you are pregnant. Some believe that large amounts can raise the risk of miscarriage, but there are currently no studies to support this.
Whether we’re talking about curing a simple tummy ache or severe morning sickness, ginger has been used for thousands of years as an effective digestive aid and natural remedy for nausea. Recently, Taiwanese researchers discovered that three capsules (1.2 grams total) of ginger can actually help the stomach release its contents into the small intestines in people with dyspepsia — a condition in which 40 percent of patients suffer from abnormally delayed gastric emptying.
This is one reason why ginger helps people who are bloated, constipated and have other gastrointestinal disorders. It relaxes the smooth muscle in your gut lining and helps food move along throughout the system.
Key takeaway: Eating whole ginger, drinking fresh ginger juice and inhaling diffused ginger essential oil are all highly effective ways to curb stomach disorders.
5. Lower Cholesterol Levels
High levels of LDL lipoproteins (the “bad” cholesterol) are linked to an increased risk of heart disease. The foods you eat can have a strong influence on LDL levels.
In a 45-day study of 85 individuals with high cholesterol, 3 grams of ginger powder caused significant reductions in most cholesterol markers .This is supported by a study in hypothyroid rats, where ginger extract lowered LDL cholesterol to a similar extent as the cholesterol-lowering drug atorvastatin .
Both studies also showed reductions in total cholesterol and blood triglycerides.
Bottom Line: There is some evidence, in both animals and humans, that ginger can lead to significant reductions in LDL cholesterol and blood triglyceride levels.
Proper food transport (and nutrient absorption) from the mouth out through your colon is the mainstay to health. If food gets stuck somewhere in between, it can ferment, rot or (even worse) cause obstruction, which is a life-threatening emergency.
Improper digestion can also cause improper assimilation of the nutrients in your food. Either way, both cause malabsorption, and your body suffers from nutrient deficiencies. This is why ginger is so important. Like we’ve seen above, it helps promote regular digestion and metabolism of your food and is largely responsible for promoting a strong immune system.
7. Ginger May Improve Brain Function and Protect Against Alzheimer’s Disease
Oxidative stress and chronic inflammation can accelerate the aging process. They are believed to be among the key drivers of Alzheimer’s disease and age-related cognitive decline. Some studies in animals 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. In a study of 60 middle-aged women, ginger extract was shown to improve reaction time and working memory. There are also numerous studies in animals showing that ginger can protect against age-related decline in brain function .
8. Compromised Immunity and Respiratory Function
Ayurvedic medicine has praised ginger’s ability to boost the immune system before recorded history. It believes that because ginger is so effective at warming the body, it can help break down the accumulation of toxins in your organs. It’s also known to cleanse the lymphatic system, our body’s sewage system.
Dr. Oz says, “By opening up these lymphatic channels and keeping things clean, ginger prevents the accumulation of the toxins that make you susceptible to infections, especially in the respiratory system.” Combining ginger oil and eucalyptus oil is an effective remedy to boost immunity and improve breathing.
9. Bacterial Infections
The Journal of Microbiology and Antimicrobials published a study in 2011 that tested just how effective ginger is in enhancing immune function. Comparing the ability of ginger to kill Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes with conventional antibiotics, Nigerian researchers discovered that the natural solution won every time!
The drugs — chloramphenicol, ampicillin and tetracycline — just couldn’t stand up to the antibacterial prowess of the ginger extract. This is important because these two bacteria are extremely common in hospitals and oftentimes cause complications to an already immune-compromised patient.
Key takeaway: If you ever need to go to the hospital for surgery or to visit a friend, make sure you bring some ginger essential oil with you and add a couple drops to your water. You’re less likely to get a dangerous staph infection, and it can help speed the healing process! Other healing remedies that are effective against infections include oregano oil, clove oil and melaleuca oil.
10. Fungal Infections
One of the trickier issues to control because they’re increasingly resistant to conventional medicine, fungal infections don’t stand a chance against ginger. Of the 29 plant species evaluated in a Carleton University study, ginger won the prize for having the extract most effective at killing fungus.
11. Ulcers and GERD
Since the 1980s, researchers have known that ginger can cure stomach ulcers. More recently, Indian scientists have been able to more closely quantify this medicinal effect. In a study published in the journal Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, they discovered the ginger was six to eight times more potent than Prevacid, the drug of choice to treat GERD!
Ginger is known for its anti-pain property. Very similar to how capsaicin works to relieve pain, gingerol acts on vanilloid receptors, which are located on sensory nerve endings. Similar to the initial intense burning feel you get when you consume spicy pepper, ginger’s burn only lasts but a second, and researchers discovered that it “affects the pain pathways directly but also relieves the inflammation, which in itself causes pain.”
Working with mice without immune systems, University of Minnesota scientists discovered that three weekly feedings of -gingerol delayed the growth of colorectal cancer cells. University of Michigan researchers confirmed these results with ovarian cancer. In fact, they found that “Ginger treatment of cultured ovarian cancer cells induced profound growth inhibition in all cell lines tested.”
Key takeaway: The executive director of the Herbal Medicine Research and Education Centre, Basil Roufogalis, advised that, “The most likely way to administer ginger as a painkiller would be in the form of a tea taken several times a day, but more work needs to be done on the amount of ginger powder needed per dose to take effect, and the time required between doses.” For most people, taking 1,000 milligrams of powdered ginger root is effective — or two drops two times daily of ginger essential oil.
Gingerols are widely known to naturally improve diabetes and enhance insulin sensitivity. Building off this knowledge, a 2006 study out of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry discovered that they could also suppress sorbitol accumulation in human blood cells and sugar-fed rats. Simply put, ginger not only helps prevent and reverse diabetes itself — it protects against and improves diabetic complications like diabetic retinopathy!
15. Reduces Muscle Pain and Soreness
Ginger has been shown to be effective against exercise-induced muscle pain.In one study, consuming 2 grams of ginger per day, for 11 days, significantly reduced muscle pain in people performing elbow exercises .Ginger does not have an immediate impact, but may be effective at reducing the day-to-day progression of muscle pain .These effects are believed to be mediated by the anti-inflammatory properties.
16. Fights Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is a common health problem. It involves degeneration of the joints in the body, leading to symptoms like joint pain and stiffness. In a controlled trial of 247 people with osteoarthritis of the knee, those who took ginger extract had less pain and required less pain medication . Another study found that a combination of ginger, mastic, cinnamon and sesame oil, can reduce pain and stiffness in osteoarthritis patients when applied topically .
Best Ways to Use Ginger by Dr Axe.
There are many forms and ways you can use ginger to benefit for your health. The most common forms of ginger include:
Raw Ginger — You can put raw sliced ginger (the size of your thumb) in a smoothie every morning or use it in making homemade vegetable juice.
Ginger Essential Oil — The most potent form of ginger is ginger essential oil because it contains the highest levels of gingerol. This is the No. 1 way ginger can be used as medicine. It can be taken internally to treat health conditions or rubbed topically with a carrier oil on an area of pain. Typically, two to three drops of essential oil is the recommended therapeutic dose.
Ginger Tea — This liquid form of ginger is commonly used to relieve nausea, settle the stomach and relax the body. Have one cup two to three times daily to reduce inflammation. Also, adding a bit of raw honey and lemon to the tea makes it taste great!
Ginger Powder — Using ground ginger powder for cooking is an excellent way to take advantage of this super spice. I use it in making Chicken Curry, homemade pumpkin pie and a ginger berry smoothie for breakfast. Also, it can be taken in supplement form as a capsule with the recommended dose of 1,000 milligrams daily.
Ginger ale is a simple yet easy treat that is packed with beneficial enzymes and probiotics.
Homemade Ginger Ale
4 cups of water
1 cup of peeled and grated ginger
1 teaspoon of raw honey
1 liter of sparkling carbonated water
Juice of 2 limes
Place the water in a pot and bring it to a boil. Add the ginger. Lower the heat and allow to simmer for 5 minutes. Strain the mixture through a mesh strainer. Add the remaining ingredients.
- Place grated ginger into a 2-cup glass measuring cup.
- Fill to the 1-1/2 cup line with boiling water.
- Set timer for 10 minutes.
- When timer goes off, strain into a large mug and stir in sugar (you may need more or less, depending on how sweet you want your tea).
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Health and Happiness,
The information and recipes contained in blog is based upon the research and the personal experiences of the author. It’s for entertainment purposes only. Every attempt has been made to provide accurate, up to date and reliable information. No warranties of any kind are expressed or implied. Readers acknowledge that the author is not engaging in the rendering of legal, financial, medical or professional advice. By reading this blog, the reader agrees that under no circumstance the author is not responsible for any loss, direct or indirect, which are incurred by using this information contained within this blog. Including but not limited to errors, omissions or inaccuracies. This blog is not intended as replacements from what your health care provider has suggested. The author is not responsible for any adverse effects or consequences resulting from the use of any of the suggestions, preparations or procedures discussed in this blog. All matters pertaining to your health should be supervised by a health care professional. I am not a doctor, or a medical professional. This blog is designed for as an educational and entertainment tool only. Please always check with your health practitioner before taking any vitamins, supplements, or herbs, as they may have side-effects, especially when combined with medications, alcohol, or other vitamins or supplements. Knowledge is power, educate yourself and find the answer to your health care needs. Wisdom is a wonderful thing to seek. I hope this blog will teach and encourage you to take leaps in your life to educate yourself for a happier & healthier life. You have to take ownership of your health.