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5 Proven Health Benefits of Ginger

If you are like many people around the world, you may know that ginger is extremely well-known for it’s warm, spicy, delicious flavor. Very few people understand that this flowering plant is among the most beneficial spices on the planet, however, or that its benefits are endless.

Ginger is often found in cooking and baking recipes as well as juices, herbal remedies, flu remedies, and teas because of its health-boosting perks. Once people start to realize the health benefits of ginger and what this amazing and mighty spice can do, they quickly begin to incorporate it into their daily lives and cannot get enough of it. 

The Basics of Ginger 

Ginger, or Zingiber Officinale, is an herbaceous perennial plant of the family Zingiberaceae, originating in Southeastern Asia. Here are a few must-know facts:

  • Its pungent and aromatic underground stem have meant ginger is often used as a spice for food or medicinal purposes. 
  • People in India and China have used it in medicine and cooking since ancient times. 
  • Its usage quickly spread into the Mediterranean region, England, the West Indies, and Mexico as its medicinal properties became more well-known. 

Today, this spice is available all year long and supplied by overlapping growing seasons around the world. Both Japanese and Chinese ginger are grown in Hawaii and shipped to the mainland United States, for example. Most of the U.S. supply is imported from Brazil, Thailand, Central America, and China, though, and it’s typically easy to find. Ginger is often distributed as a root in grocery stores’ produce sections, dried and ground and placed in containers, or freshly crushed in tubes. 

5 Health Benefits of Ginger

Ginger is a popular home remedy commonly used for stomach pains, nausea, and other health issues because of its anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antibacterial properties. Some of the best medicinal uses and health benefits of ginger include the following:

1. Improving Digestion

Numerous research has shown that ginger’s enzymes can help the body break up and get rid of gases that form in the intestinal tract during digestion, thus providing relief from any discomfort this gas can cause. It also appears to have a beneficial effect on the pancreatic lipase and enzymes trypsin, which are vital for digestion, and can help increase the movement of material through a person’s digestive tract. This not only helps prevent constipation, but also relieves it. 

2. Nausea Relief

Ginger is often used to help relieve nausea in morning sickness or cancer treatments. It is believed to gets its medicinal properties from gingerol — the main bioactive component found in fresh ginger — and related compounds referred to as shogaols. These compounds can increase digestive responsiveness and speed up stomach emptying, which can help reduce nausea. 

3. Fighting The Common Cold or Flu

5 Proven Health Benefits of Ginger | Naturopathic Dr

Everyone knows how miserable it is to suffer through a cold or the flu, but your flu or cold can be a lot more tolerable with the help of ginger:

  • Research suggests that fresh ginger may help individuals recover from the flu or a cold by protecting their respiratory system. 
  • A study done in 2016, which gave fish a daily ginger supplement for 60 days, found the test subjects were both able to fight off certain infections and experienced a boost in their growth rates and overall immunity.
  • Since ginger is a warming spice, it is ideal if you have a fever and chills. 

A few slices of raw ginger root in boiling water can also help soothe sore throats or coughs.

4. Pain Relief

Incorporating raw or heated ginger into your diet has been shown to reduce exercise-induced muscle pain, joint pain from rheumatoid arthritis, and dysmenorrhea, which occurs before or during menstruation. Studies published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine even found ginger root to be as effective as ibuprofen because of its anti-inflammatory properties. 

5. Supporting Your Cardiovascular Health

Another significant benefit of ginger is it can help alleviate cardiovascular disease through its anti-platelet effects. Additional studies need to be done, but researchers believe it can provide individuals with a safe form of treatment to improve blood sugar levels and decrease various heart disease risk factors. In addition, research has also concluded that ginger extract can help reduce heart abnormalities amongst those with diabetes, possibly because of its antioxidant properties. 

How to Use Ginger 

health benefits of ginger and coffee

It is extremely easy to incorporate ginger into a daily diet. All you need to do to reap the health benefits of ginger is to simply toss it into any meal, but consider the following if you are looking for some ideas to use this zesty spice:

  • Use it as a cooking essential in soups, bone broths, and even stir-fry.
  • Spice up your tea or morning cup of coffee by sprinkling some ginger into it.
  • Incorporate some ginger jam on your toast for a delicious breakfast.
  • Add ginger juice to your smoothies or even your weekend mimosas with friends.
  • If you are looking for quicker ways to get it into your meals, consider using ginger essential oil in place of a whole ginger. These oils can sweeten and spice up any meal or favorite recipe

What makes ginger even that much more enjoyable is you do not need to go overboard with this amazing superfood. In truth, all you need is a couple of tablespoons of powdered or fresh ginger daily to reap the remarkable health benefits of ginger. 

If you are looking for more detailed information in regard to your ginger consumption, contact Dr. Karen Threlkel today to speak with an expert about any questions you might have!

About The Author:

Dr. Karen Threlkel, Naturopathic Physician, Washington DC

Dr. Karen Threlkel, Naturopathic Physician, Washington DC

Dr. Threlkel received her degree of Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine from The National College for Naturopathic Medicine (now called The National University of Natural Medicine) in Portland, Oregon. She also holds a Bachelor Degree in Kinesiology from The University of Maryland. She is licensed in Naturopathic Medicine by the Government of the District of Columbia Department of Health. Dr. Threlkel is a member of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, past president & current member of the Washington DC Association of Naturopathic Physicians.

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