Ginger is one of the healthiest and most-used spices in the world today. The root is packed with bioactive compounds and nutrients that have been used in Chinese Medicine to treat various ailments for more than 4700 years. Ginger was also considered a commodity during the time of the Roman Empire.
Ginger has been grown for therapeutic use for thousands of years, and it can be used to treat a wide range of conditions and ailments. Let’s check some of the health benefits of ginger.
Soothes Pain and Inflammation
Ginger contains gingerol, one of more than 115 different chemical components in ginger root, which is a potent anti-inflammatory agent. Gingerol interacts which vanilloid receptors, which can be found on sensory nerve endings.
This condiment triggers a burning effect that’s similar to the capsaicin in hot peppers. However, it has a burn that lasts for less, butt it directly influences pain pathways that relieve inflammation.
Ginger may be effective in treating osteoarthritis-related inflammation and works to reduce the risk of colon cancer, also thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties.
In another study, ginger has been shown to reduce exercise-related muscle pain, along with also soreness.
Promotes Cardiovascular Health
Stroke and heart disease are two conditions that can be prevented by regular ginger use. Along with onions and garlic, ginger has anti-blood-clotting properties that are very helpful in maintaining optimal cardiovascular health.
What’s more 6-gingerol, an active compound in ginger, has been shown to regulate blood pressure and is regarded as a potential remedy for some cardiovascular problems.
Ginger has also been proven to reduce blood sugar levels and improve heart disease risk factors in those suffering from type 2 diabetes.
Reduces Nausea and Vomiting
Clinical studies show ginger is effective in reducing both nausea and vomiting. Further research has also proven ginger is effective against nausea and vomiting after surgery, but also against chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.
While early evidence indicates ginger has been used to treat seasickness, now it’s considered one of the best ways to relieve morning sickness and other forms of pregnancy-related nausea.
Soothes Digestive Issues
Ginger contains phenolic compounds that reduce GI irritation, stimulate bile acid production and support increased movement of food and fluids through the stomach. Basically, ginger speeds up the emptying of the stomach in those suffering from indigestion.
Ginger can help those who are constipated and bloated, but also in other GI disorders. It mainly works to relax the muscles in the lining of the gut, speeding up the passage of food through the digestive system. Ginger also reduces gas and is effective for stress-related ulcers.
May Improve Brain Health and Protect Against Alzheimer’s
It’s a known fact that chronic inflammation and oxidative stress can speed up the aging process, which can lead to age-related cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease.
Animal studies show ginger has antioxidant properties and bioactive compounds that can relieve inflammation in the brain, while also improving working memory and reaction time.
One compound (6-Shoagol) in ginger can protect against the release of redness-causing chemicals, while another one (10-gingerol) also protected against redness and swelling-causing chemicals in the brain.
May Prevent Cancer
Ginger extract is regarded as an alternative treatment for some forms of cancer. Scientists at the University of Minnesota discovered that three weekly doses of 6-gingerol postponed the growth of colorectal cancer cells in mice.
The same results, but ovarian cancer, were observed by scientists from the University of Michigan, concluding that “ginger treatment of cultured ovarian cancer cells induced profound growth inhibition in all cell lines tested.”
In a study involving 30 individuals, ginger has been shown to considerably reduce pro-inflammatory signaling molecules in the colon.
While more research is definitely needed, ginger can be effective for ovarian cancer, breast cancer and pancreatic cancer.
Gingerol, the active compound in ginger, can reduce the risk of infections. What’s more, ginger can inhibit the growth of multiple drug-resistant clinical pathogens and bacteria.
This spice fights the RSV virus, which is known to cause respiratory infections. Ginger is also effective in protecting against gingivitis and periodontitis and other inflammatory diseases in the gums.
Ginger also improves immune functions by killing Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes, which are two extremely common bacteria in hospitals.
Stabilizes Blood Sugar
Ginger has been shown in a recent study involving 41 participants suffering with type 2 diabetes to lower fasting blood sugar levels by 12%. The spice has also been proven to considerably improve HbA1c levels, which as a marker for long-germ blood sugar levels, triggering a 10% reduction during a period of 12 weeks.
Gingerols, the oily resins found in the root of ginger, can enhance insulin sensitivity, and thus improve diabetes. Ginger also protects against and improves diabetic retinopathy and other types of diabetic complications.