Try this spicy root to help with digestion, inflammation and your immune system.
Ginger is a popular spice that has been used for centuries for its medicinal properties. It is mostly known for its unique taste and aroma, but it also has numerous health benefits. Ginger, scientifically known as Zingiber officinale, is a rhizome that belongs to the same family as turmeric and cardamom. In this blog post, we will explore some of the benefits of ginger.
1. It aids in digestion
Have you ever experienced the sensation of a brick in your stomach after a meal? Are you curious if your body is truly digesting the food or if it is just lingering indefinitely? Additionally, have you considered the negative effects of acid reflux and uncomfortable burping? Heartburn is a genuine issue that can cause significant discomfort.
When it comes to aiding digestive health, ginger is an ideal companion. Functional dyspepsia, which refers to discomfort in the upper abdomen, such as acid reflux, is believed to be caused by a sluggish digestive system. Studies have demonstrated that ginger can be beneficial in alleviating these symptoms.
The ingestion of ginger can enhance the process of gastric emptying, which refers to the body's capacity to clear food from the stomach rapidly. This heightened motility within the digestive system reduces the chances of experiencing heartburn or indigestion. A study conducted on healthy individuals demonstrated that the consumption of ginger capsules (at a dosage of 1200 mg) with a meal results in a significant improvement in digestion, with gastric emptying speed being doubled. The idea of food leaving the stomach at twice the usual pace is undoubtedly a source of immense relief.
The more efficient your digestion is, the more energy you will have because researchers have found that approximately 60 percent of your body’s energy goes to metabolism. If ginger can improve digestion, your metabolism will improve and energy will be more available. This is possible because the quicker you can digest your food, the faster you will absorb the vitamins and minerals from the foods you eat. You will also have less undigested food in your digestive tract; food consumes energy when left undigested. So not only does ginger stimulate digestion by improving symptoms of dyspepsia and speeding gastric emptying, but it also benefits your overall energy levels.
2. Lowers Blood Pressure
High blood pressure (known as hypertension) is a common symptom of the standard American diet, which is high in processed foods. According to the Mayo Clinic, when hypertension is left untreated it can lead to damage to your arteries, heart, brain, kidneys, and eyes. Doctors frequently prescribe blood pressure medications to their patients, but what if you could reduce your blood pressure naturally?
Ginger has been shown to improve blood pressure by expanding your blood vessels. This is helpful for increasing circulation in the body, which reduces the overall blood pressure throughout the body. Ginger also contains potassium, a mineral that research has found can help lower blood pressure. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), ginger contains 415 mg of potassium per 100 g. That’s more than a banana (a food known for being high in potassium), which only contains 358 mg per 100 g.
3. Reduces Nausea
Nausea is no fun. Whether it’s from motion sickness, morning sickness, post-surgery effects, chemotherapy, or pregnancy, nausea is not an experience anyone wants. And when you do experience an upset stomach, you’d give anything to make it end! Enter ginger. Ginger has been shown to be an effective remedy for nausea.
After surgeries, it’s common for some people to experience nausea and vomiting. The good news is that researchers have found ginger to be an “effective means for reducing postoperative nausea and vomiting.” Not only does ginger provide relief from post-surgery nausea, it can also help cancer patients. In a study of both adults and children undergoing chemotherapy treatments, ginger was found to be effective in providing relief from the nausea that accompanies those treatments. Based on the scientific evidence, ginger is definitely worth a try when you’re experiencing nausea of any kind.
4. Reduces Inflammation
Inflammation is a natural and healthy response to protect the body from injuries or sickness. However, when inflammation is excessive or chronic, it can be very damaging. In fact, researchers have found that chronic inflammation is at the root of many common diseases such as heart disease, autoimmune disorders, and cancer.
The active ingredients in raw ginger—gingerol, shogaol, and paradol—are responsible for many of the natural anti-inflammatory effects that ginger provides. Ginger has been shown to inhibit the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines (small proteins released by cells to communicate with other cells in the body). Pro-inflammatory cytokines are responsible for the upregulation of inflammatory reactions, meaning that these reactions happen more often in the body. This is directly related to increased inflammation in the body. Since ginger has been shown to reduce the levels of inflammation that those pro-inflammatory cytokines can produce, it’s only natural that inflammation will decrease, too. This is a big deal! Because inflammation can run so rampant in the body—especially with a poor diet—ginger is a great way to help reduce the overall amount of inflammation in the body. If you’re experiencing an inflammatory condition, ginger is a natural and powerful anti-inflammatory remedy to try.
5. Antibacterial Properties
If you aren’t convinced of the medicinal properties of ginger yet, you will be now! Researchers have found that ginger is an effective antibacterial for many drug-resistant bacteria in clinical applications. In their study, the researchers stated that “ginger has great potential in the treatment of many microbial diseases [such as Bacillus and E. coli].”
The antibacterial benefits don’t stop there. In oral health, two types of ginger have been shown to inhibit the growth of pathogens that contribute to periodontitis (inflammation of the gums that is caused by gum bacteria). The antibacterial properties that ginger possesses show that food truly is medicine.
6. Helps You Loose Weight
Yes, you read that right, Ginger has in-fact been shown to aid in weight loss. Experts note that the research shows, “…some convincing evidence to support the efficacy of ginger in obesity management.” Ginger affects how your body burns fat (thermogenesis), digests carbohydrates and uses insulin. Scientists suggest ginger also inhibits how much fat your gut absorbs and controls appetite. What’s most exciting is that ginger appears to help suppress obesity when it’s been induced by a high-fat diet. That means you could benefit from adding ginger to your day, even if you’re just starting your journey toward a healthier diet. Consuming more ginger could be a great start to your wellness plan, and it could be the next attainable goal to achieve on your way to making a successful healthy lifestyle change.
7. Reduces Menstrual Pain
Many women know how debilitating menstrual pain can be. There are over-the-counter pain medications dedicated to this specific pain, but ginger may also provide a more natural relief.
One study found that ginger is as effective as ibuprofen in reducing the pain associated with dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation) in women. Menstrual cramps in the abdomen and lower back are common in dysmenorrhea. That’s great news for women! Next time you experience cramping during your menstrual cycle, take the natural route and give ginger a try.
8. Helps Treat Acne
Ginger is packed with a phytochemical called gingerol which is full of anti-inflammatory goodness. That means it’s great for treating and preventing certain types of acne.
But wait, there’s more! Ginger has also been shown to help reduce the amount of excess oil (aka sebum) your skin produces. This means less clogged pores, thus reducing your susceptibility of oil-based acne and blackheads.