If there is one spice that everyone should have in their kitchen at all times, it is ginger. This Indian-origin spice is one of the healthiest spices on the market, and can be a wonderful addition to your cooking. One of the best cooking pairings are ginger and garlic. On its own, ginger is extremely healthy, and when paired with some other spice, the health results are astonishing.
That being said, let’s take a look at some of the benefits of ginger on its own.
1. Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Most of the diseases, illnesses and conditions you see nowadays are the result of inflammation in your stomach, gut or somewhere else in the body. There are foods that cause inflammation, and then there are foods that have anti-inflammatory properties, essentially protecting you from any inflammatory disease.
Ginger is best known for its anti-inflammatory properties, making the spice extremely useful for reducing pain, especially with arthritis patients. In addition, thanks to the anti-inflammatory properties, ginger lessens swelling and can help with diseases like diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular diseases and others caused by inflammation.
2. Anti-Cancerous Properties
Fighting and helping with common illnesses is one thing, but the area where ginger excels is helping with serious health conditions like cancer. Ginger has been used for decades in alternative medicine for treating ovarian cancer, destroying ovarian cancer cells. According to a study from the University of Michigan, ginger not only kills cancerous cells, but also does that by making the cancer cells attack themselves, essentially working in the same way as chemotherapy.
Ginger also helps with colon cancer, stopping and slowing the progression of colorectal cancer cells. And more importantly, ginger can outperform some cancer drugs.
3. Heartburn and Acid Reflux
One of the benefits of ginger consumption includes treating conditions like heartburn and indigestion. It all comes back to ginger’s anti-inflammatory properties. Ginger outperforms pharmaceuticals designed for acid reflux, and there are no side effects, something that cannot be said for use of pharmaceutical drugs that can increase the risk for certain diseases.
4. Cough and Sore Throat
Ginger is one of the best, if not the best, and widely used home remedies for a cough and sore throat. There are several ways to use ginger for those common illnesses. For a cold, for example, the best way is to slice and crush ginger, and then boil it. The procedure will draw out the active ingredients of the ginger, making it as potent as possible. Drink the ginger tea on its own, or add honey and lemon for taste. In any way, the tea will help with both a cold and sore throat.
5. Improving Digestion
An upset stomach is not something you want to suffer from. Luckily, ginger can help treat an upset stomach and improve digestion. It comes back again to its anti-inflammatory properties, and drinking ginger ale is a great way to calm your stomach down. Or, you can grate ginger, boil it, and add some mint leaves. Boil it for few minutes, and then drink the solution, followed by a tablespoon of honey.
6. Gastrointestinal Relief
Ginger can be used as a remedy but also as a preventive and precautionary measure for your gastro problems. Consuming ginger on a regular basis helps you eliminate gastrointestinal distress, essentially preventing symptoms of motion sickness and seasickness. Ginger is even more potent and effective than Dramamine, the common OTC drug for seasickness. Unlike drugs, ginger helps you get rid of all the symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and cold sweating.
7. Joint Pain and Muscle Soreness
As mentioned previously, consuming ginger helps with pain reduction. People suffering from joint pain, or those with muscle soreness, can effectively treat their conditions with some ginger. A cup of ginger tea after a workout is an effective way to relax your muscles, provide your body with some fluids to recover and rejuvenate, and relax.
Toothache pain, another problem for many people around the world, is also treatable with ginger. Using the spice as a tea remedy is something that one generation passes down to another. One way to use ginger is by brewing some ginger tea. Another way, even more effective, is to rub raw ginger onto the affected area and on the gums. If you are using ginger tea, make sure to let the tea cool down and use it as a mouth rinse.
Ginger is one of the three potent herbs that can treat headaches and migraines (along with peppermint and cayenne pepper). You can use the herbs together or on their own. For a more potent remedy, mix ginger with a little cayenne pepper powder and some dried peppermint. You can use stevia for sweetening.
10. Nausea and Vomiting
Ginger is a great remedy for fighting nausea and vomiting, and some women even use it as a remedy for morning sickness (note: pregnant women should use this remedy with caution – see Risks and Side Effects below). However, for situations like post-surgery and cancer treatments, ginger is a great remedy for fighting nausea.
11. Lower Blood Sugar
Ginger helps lower your blood sugar levels, effectively keeping a healthy balance of blood glucose levels, preventing diabetes and lowering the risk of heart-related diseases. In a study done in 2015, patients with type 2 diabetes had their blood sugar level lowered by 12% by consuming just two grams of ginger powder per day.
12. Lowers Cholesterol Levels
Ginger also helps with another major cause of heart disease: cholesterol. In a study, close to 100 people were exposed to ginger powder for 45 days. The results showed a significant reduction of LDL (bad cholesterol levels), almost to the same level as some cholesterol drugs like atorvastatin.
13. Weight Loss
Last, but not least, people who want to lose weight might like to include ginger in their daily diet. Ginger is one of the spices that rapidly increases your metabolic and fat burn rate. As a result, you are burning way more calories, and you are losing weight without even working out. Of course, you won’t lose 10 pounds in a month.
How Can You Add Ginger to Your Diet?
Ginger is a spice that can be easily incorporated in your daily diet, but you should not overdo it. Here are some ways to add more ginger:
- Add some ginger to your rice: just before the end of cooking, add some finely chopped ginger, along with garlic, for burst of flavor.
- Grate some ginger in your tea for cleansing and healing.
- Ginger powder can be added to almost any pastry you make. Ginger deserts are delicious and healthy.
- Combine fresh lemon juice with freshly grated ginger, or some honey, water and ginger.
- Ginger can be mixed with garlic, olive oil and soy sauce for wonderful salad dressing.
- You can add ginger to pureed sweet potatoes.
- Add ginger to your smoothies for a kick of flavor.
One thing to note: Adding ginger when you start the food preparation yields a subtle flavor. Adding ginger at the end gives the food a more pungent flavor and taste.
Risks and Side Effects
In general, ginger is a healthy spice that everyone can use. However, there are situations that require special precautions. There are also side effects reported by some people, and those mild side effects include diarrhea, stomach discomfort and heartburn.
Pregnant women should not use ginger, as there have been reports of ginger causing miscarriages during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Ginger might also affect fetal sex hormones during pregnancy. On one hand, ginger might be great asset for battling morning sickness as the spice helps with nausea and vomiting, but consult your doctor in order to be safe and secure. The risk is between 1% and 3%, but some people want to be completely safe. Breast-feeding is another period when the use of ginger is not recommended. While there are no reports of ginger being unsafe, there are also no reports of ginger being safe during breast-feeding.
One condition when ginger is absolutely not recommended is during bleeding disorders, as ginger might increase the risk of bleeding. High doses of ginger can also worsen heart conditions.