Ginger has been dug up and used for various reasons for what seems like forever (and that’s probably true). This root has been loved for its spicy flavor and health benefits by many cultures around the world.
Ginger is a flowering plant, not just a root, that originated in Southeast Asia, but is now used worldwide. It belongs to a family of plants called Zingiberaceae, which includes turmeric, cardamom, and galangal. While it produces a beautiful flower, the root is what nearly everyone references when they use the word “ginger.”
Ginger has various forms in which it can be utilized, including fresh, dried, powdered, juiced, or even oil. It’s used in many recipes and even is commonly found in processed foods and, believe it or not, cosmetics.
While it’s not a cure-all as referenced in ancient lore, ginger does have a number of remarkably useful health benefits that are backed up by science.
Let’s take a look at the most useful benefits of ginger, and then we’ll talk about a great way you can incorporate ginger daily.
Gingerol Has Potent Medicinal Properties
In traditional and alternative medicine, ginger has been long revered to help aid in digestion, combat nausea, help fight viruses like the flu and cold, and more.
It turns out that a lot of the ancient reverence for ginger is justified scientifically, the more the main bioactive compound in ginger, called “gingerol,” is studied.
In fact, according to research papers, gingerol possesses strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, helping to reduce oxidative stress and chronic inflammation (a result of having too many free radicals in the body), which has been foundationally connected to a wide range of chronic illnesses. You can compare it to Goji Berries in terms of health benefits, since they also have plenty of vitamins and minerals.
Ginger Helps with Nausea, Even Morning Sickness
Studies have shown that ginger may also be especially effective against nausea in a variety of cases. For example, it may be effective against nausea for people going through certain surgeries, and some research even shows it may aid in lessening chemotherapy-related nausea.
And according to research on over 1,000 pregnant women in a variety of studies, ginger can significantly reduce feelings of nausea. However, it’s important to note that ginger only helps ease the “queasy” feeling and does not combat episodes of vomiting.
Another great tip is to always have a quick snack near you. Mothers-to-be claim that it helps to relieve the symptoms of morning sickness. Trail mixes can be a nice choice in the morning, since they contain many essential fats and are easy to store.
Ginger May Impact Weight Loss
Studies on both animals and humans point to ginger’s potential to help with weight management.
It seems like the mechanism by which ginger helps with weight loss can be mainly attributed to its ability to control blood sugar (more on this later). In several studies on obese individuals, ginger was found to help lower BMI (body mass index), body weight, and hip to waist ratio. The only caveat is that the subjects were consuming a relatively large amount of ginger, so if you’re thinking of incorporating ginger mainly for weight loss, you’re in for a spicy diet!
Another great snack that can keep you full for a long time is raw cashews, because they’re high in protein and dietary fiber.
Ginger May Improve Joint Pain
As mentioned above, ginger contains potent anti-inflammatory properties, and several studies showed that it may have a beneficial effect on ameliorating symptoms of osteoarthritis, which occurs as a result of joint degeneration. Interestingly enough, one study specifically showed that ginger (mixed with some other spices) may help improve symptoms of arthritis, specifically in the knee.
Ginger May Have Powerful Anti-Diabetic Properties
The science here is quite new, but it does appear that consuming ginger may be helpful for controlling blood sugar, as a study in 2015 on 41 diabetic participants showed that 2 grams of ginger daily helped to lower fasting blood sugar by 12%, which is significant.
More data needs to be collected on this, but it appears that there could be a beneficial effect on blood sugar control, which is the key to fighting type 2 diabetes, by consuming ginger. According to PubMed studies, regular consumption of nuts can also lower blood sugar levels. So consider stocking up on dried ginger and some tasty nuts if you’re at risk.
Ginger Can Help with Chronic Indigestion
If you experience frequent pain and discomfort due to indigestion, you may want to try consuming ginger. In several studies, ginger has been shown to increase the speed at which your stomach empties, which can have major beneficial effects for reducing symptoms of indigestion.
Ginger May Boost Your Immune System
Everyone is looking to fortify their immune systems these days, and ginger may be a powerful tool to help you do so. Consuming as many nutrient-dense foods as possible is always beneficial for your health, and ginger’s potent antioxidant properties (thanks to gingerol) may help to support optimal immune function.
It turns out that some of the spiciest and most pungent foods to eat are also some of the world’s most health-promoting foods. It’s clear by the evidence above, that ginger is an absolute powerhouse when it comes to health properties. In fact, the health benefits listed above may only be the tip of the iceberg, as ginger has also been shown to help with menstrual pain, lower cholesterol, and even help combat certain cancers. Needless to say, ginger is an absolute must-have in your diet.
Unfortunately, ginger can be somewhat challenging to eat, especially if you don’t like the spicy flavor. There are a few things to do in this case. A nice ginger lemon tea is less intense than including fresh ginger or ginger juice in your diet, and better still may be dried ginger. Low Sugar Crystallized Ginger, if you can find it with low amounts of sugar, is a sweet treat that can also provide you with the benefits of gingerol. Consume it as a healthy candy alternative, or use it to spice up a variety of dishes! At NutStop, we’re proud to say we have the finest dried ginger you can find anywhere. Pick some up in your next order and start reaping the benefits of ginger!