Food can have surprising health benefits that you may not have even considered before, and ginger is no exception. It’s commonly used as an alternative to traditional medicine due to its anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, anti-cancer, and antioxidant properties. It’s also known to be an excellent digestive aid and can help you lose weight if you eat it regularly! Here are nine surprising health benefits of ginger that will make you want to start eating it today.
1) Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Several studies have shown that ginger can help with a variety of issues that are related to inflammation. The main component in ginger responsible for these effects is known as gingerol, which helps with pain and swelling.
One animal study showed that rats given ginger were able to run faster on an anti-inflammatory basis than those not given ginger. A similar effect was seen in another rat study. In addition, one human study found that consuming large amounts of ginger led to a 50% reduction in joint pain when compared to those who did not consume any.
2) Carminative Properties
Digestive system health is important for keeping your body healthy and free from disease. One way to ensure you’re getting all your vitamins and minerals is to include ginger in your diet. Not only does it help ease digestion, but it also helps eliminate toxins through sweat, urine, and other bodily excretions.
This process is known as carminative properties, which basically means it flushes out unwanted particles from your body so you can focus on feeling good!
3) Improves Digestion
The research suggests that ginger may be a great addition to any weight loss diet. In one study, animals given ginger powder had lower blood sugar levels and fat content in their liver than animals that weren’t given ginger. The blood glucose reduction was linked to an increase in glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1), which is a hormone that increases insulin secretion and contributes to decreased food intake and body weight [R].
Regular consumption of foods containing ginger can also improve digestion because it acts as a carminative, which relieves intestinal gas, thereby preventing digestive discomfort [R]. When consumed in moderate amounts, it can even soothe an upset stomach by reducing nausea, bloating, and flatulence [R].
4) Prevents Cancer
An increased intake of ginger was found to result in a 50% reduction in colon cancer risk and a 20% reduction in breast cancer risk. The pungent spice can aid your overall health by preventing certain types of cancers, such as breast and prostate. This is due to its active ingredient, 6-gingerol, which works by inhibiting cell growth. Ingesting ginger at least twice per week should help you reap these benefits.
5) Reduces High Blood Pressure
Allicin, a bioactive compound in ginger root, has been shown to reduce blood pressure in rats. Studies have also shown that ginger helps prevent vascular inflammation and atherosclerosis. Since hypertension and atherosclerosis both increase your risk for heart disease, ginger might be a great way to reduce your risk and improve overall cardiovascular health. To lose weight safely but quickly, switch to a sugar-free diet.
6) Prevents Heartburn and Indigestion
Several studies have found that ginger might help reduce heartburn and indigestion. In an eight-week study, participants were given 1,000 to 2,000 mg of the ginger extract three times a day and experienced significantly reduced symptoms (including improved digestion).
Another study that lasted three months found that people who consumed ginger experienced a decrease in heartburn-related symptoms such as chest pain and regurgitation. However, it’s important to note that these studies used powdered or fluid extracts rather than fresh ginger—the results may be different when using whole ginger root.
The best way to reap all 8 health benefits is to consume small amounts on a regular basis with meals. If you experience any adverse side effects like upset stomach or abdominal pain, discontinue use immediately.
7) Immune Boosting Properties
As part of a healthy diet, it can provide powerful immune-boosting benefits that fight colds and flu. One such benefit is ginger’s antioxidant qualities. In addition to vitamins C and E, ginger contains flavonoids, which help to reduce oxidative stress. Research has also found ginger has anti-inflammatory properties which may prevent and reduce pain associated with arthritis.
Ginger can also lower cholesterol levels as well as blood pressure levels, making it an ideal addition to a healthful diet for those at risk for heart disease. And research suggests that ingredients in ginger may help prevent colon cancer by inhibiting tumor growth in cells, preventing cell mutation and reducing DNA damage caused by free radicals.
8) Analgesic Properties
One of ginger’s most important health benefits is its ability to relieve pain. Numerous athletes have turned to ginger to prevent or reduce muscular and joint pain. A recent study in Sports Medicine showed that taking 2 grams of ginger extract two hours before working out greatly reduced delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS, and increased overall well-being.
Similarly, in another study in J Ethnopharmacol, participants who took 1 gram of ginger extract an hour before riding for an hour reported greater power output and less pain. When exercising, you may want to consider adding a teaspoon or more of fresh or grated ginger to your pre-workout smoothie. Recent research suggests that this ingredient may reduce pain and increase energy levels.
9) May help with weight loss
Some studies have found that ginger might help with weight loss by promoting greater feelings of fullness. In one such study, published in 2011 in Complementary Therapies in Medicine, participants were given either two grams of dried ginger or a placebo every day for three months and found that those who received ginger weighed less than those who received a placebo. Participants also reported being more satisfied after consuming meals throughout the trial period.
The bottom line
Ginger has tons of great benefits to offer both your body and your brain.
It’s one of the very few healthy foods worthy of the title superfood.