You probably already start your day with a glass of ginger green smoothie. Perhaps, for you, it’s the awesomeness of ginger-garlic meatballs or a toasted sesame ginger salmon. Whatever the case, you are already familiar with how amazing meals made with ginger taste.
But have you ever thought about the health benefits?
Ginger is one of the most used dietary vegetables in the world. It is not just about how it makes our cooking tasty or flavored, or how the aroma serenades our kitchen, it is way beyond that. It is just one of those miracle condiments that nature has blessed us with. Whether as a spice or herb, ginger is a bundle of benefits.
Although ginger is a plant that bears flowers, it is the root (rhizome) that holds its power. It is an herbaceous perennial plant common in Asia but is used in almost every part of the world. Its roots can be taken fresh, as a spice or as juice. Its benefits are numerous and can be a major factor for living a healthy, lengthy life.
Ginger is best cultivated in warm, damp areas, produced in countries like India, China, Jamaica, and Australia. However, the world’s largest producers of ginger are India and China, the Indian coastal province of Malabar being prominent for producing more than half of this amount. – Source
But it is not just ancient medicine that appreciated the awesomeness of ginger. Modern studies have verified the many benefits that ginger possesses. So the next time you think about ginger, don’t just savor the pleasure it gives your taste buds. You should also appreciate the goodness it does to your entire body.
What Does Ginger Contain?
Old Chinese and Indian beliefs suggest that ginger possesses everything good and is a “universal great medicine”. Apart from gingerol, there are several other reasons ginger is considered a superfood. It contains amazing antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds such as caffeic acid, capsaicin, beta carotene, salicylate, and curcumin.
A single 100g ginger contains carbohydrate (17.77g), fiber (2g), protein (1.82g), sugars (1.7g), potassium (415 mg), calcium (16mg), sodium (13mg), magnesium (43 mg), phosphorus (34 mg), vitamin C (5mg), Niacin (0.75mg), zinc (0.34mg), iron (0.6mg), and very little atoms of zinc, riboflavin, and folate.
Health Benefits of Ginger
Ginger possesses several health benefits for preventive and curative treatments, mostly because it contains turmeric and cardamom, but especially because of gingerols. They include;
1. Immunity Booster
Ginger is known to possess substances that can help improve the immune system because of its ability to warm the body and fight against toxins. It opens up and cleans the lymphatic system, our body’s excretory organs, for effective functioning.
With this function, it prevents toxins from piling up and causing bodily infections and harm. Emptying the bowels become very easy as the passage is enhanced.
Ginger also provides extensive care for the body’s respiratory system. When combined with some essential oils such as eucalyptus, it can help with breathing and boost the immune system to prevent against or fight infections. Infections associated with the respiratory system; lungs, larynx, and others are prevented.
2. Indigestion and Nausea
Apart from being a natural therapy for nausea, ginger has provided an effective solution to indigestion for centuries. It helps people who have gastrointestinal disorders and constipation, and aids the release of contents into the small intestines, according to recent studies.
Furthermore, it is a potent medicinal aid for many forms of stomach disorders. Whether it’s a morning sickness or pains around the tummy, ginger helps to take care of them. It also relaxes the muscles in your guts for smooth passage of food in your system. This further enhances a healthy nutrition.
3. Heart Conditions and Stroke
Along with other anti-blood clotting agents such as garlic and onion, a regular dose of ginger may just be all you need to prevent heart diseases and stroke.
Heart attack and stroke are two of the most deadly killers in the world, and ginger has what it takes to keep them away, especially if every other thing is in place.
By ensuring smooth flow of blood to the heart, it keeps the heart healthy and free from attacks. No wonder it is included in the category of the world’s superfoods. So it is not just a pleasant addition to your diet. It is a lifesaver as well.
4. Treatment of Ulcer
Ever heard of GERD? A condition that is associated with an imbalance of stomach acid and acid reflux symptoms? This condition is said to affect around 32% of Americans of all ages.
Ulcer and GERD are two related conditions that ginger has been discovered to fight against.
Recent studies have discovered that ginger is far more potent for the treatment of GERD than several other traditional treatments. It has been used for about 4 decades and has recorded great results.
Ginger has also been proven to be very effective for prevention and treatment of cancer. A University of Minnesota study found that three feedings of gingerol every week slowed the development of colorectal cancer cells. It has also been tested for the treatment of ovarian cancer and found to be very effective.
Whether it is an essential oil, ginger tea, or as ingredients, using the right dose at the right time is a proven therapy for inhibiting the growth of cancer cells in no small measure. Imagine how much you can do with ginger, especially considering how affordable it is.
6. Pain Reliever
Just like Capsaicin, ginger is a choice pain reliever, especially those induced by exercise. Gingerol works on vanilloid receptors at the ends of sensory nerves. You should feel a burn which only lasts for about a second. It does not only act on the pain but also focuses on the inflammation, if any.
Some studies have shown that taking just 2 grams of ginger per day helped to reduce muscle pain in people who engage in elbow exercises. You can continue to carry out your physical activities in good shape without complications.
The anti-inflammatory properties of ginger also make it a very strong remedy for osteoarthritis. This common health problem caused by joints degeneration, leading to stiffness and pain, can be improved greatly using ginger. Whether as tea or applied topically with cinnamon or sesame oil, it can give great relief to patients with osteoarthritis.
It is true that there is no definite cure for arthritis, but ginger is a good way to suppress the symptoms and free you from severe pains that can cause discomfort and prevent you from engaging in regular activities.
8. Menstrual Pains
Also called dysmenorrhea, this pain comes during the menstrual cycle and can be a great discomfort for many women. Ginger powder has been found to drastically reduce this pain as it is a traditional pain reliever. Just like ibuprofen, ginger is a potent reliever in such situations.
Just 1 gram of ginger powder taken every day for the first few days of the cycle proved very effective in one study. The women experience drastic reduction during their cycle after taking ginger.
9. Brain Functionality
Some people tend to age faster as a result of stress. Oxidation is another common factor that contributes to diseases related to mental decline. With ginger, you get the necessary antioxidants you require to halt this process and prevent the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
Ginger contains other bioactive compounds that not only slow down brain function deterioration but also greatly improves brain function, including memory gain and reaction. It can slow the rate at which you lose brain function and help you stay mentally fit for a longer time.
10. Cough and Sore Throat
A half teaspoonful of ginger powder, a pinch each of clove and cinnamon powder, as well as a bit of honey mixed in a cup of hot water can relieve a stubborn cough in no time. For a sore throat, you may not require the clove and it’s best to slice fresh ginger into the mixture.
You no longer have to battle with that persistent cough or a sore throat and make everyone else put up with you.
Ginger has also been a good home remedy for cold for thousands of years. Boil ginger (about a teaspoonful) in water and inhale the steam. It is very effective against cold and very easy to use and exploit.
Best Ways to Consume Ginger
While there are several ways to consume this miracle vegetable, it works better when taken the following ways;
1. As a raw vegetable
This is perhaps one of the most effective ways to consume ginger. Some people can simply chew it, or slice it into a smoothie or juice. The unadulterated taste and sensation may not be pleasant for some people, so they prefer to mix with other healthy fruits or vegetables.
2. As Ginger Tea
This form is usually taken as a drink; a cup, twice or thrice daily can do wonders for you. It is a convenient method for people who have an unsettled stomach or nausea. If you still can’t deal with the taste, you can add a little honey for a more appealing taste.
Also Read: Benefits of Chamomile Tea
3. As an Essential Oil
According to experts, Ginger Essential Oil contains the largest amount of gingerol, making it the most potent of all the forms. Whether ingested or applied topically, this makes for really great medicine. You can use it for muscular pains, internal injuries, or other health conditions.
4. As Ginger Powder
Did you just say “yummy”? Well, you can say it again. Ginger when ground into powder serves as an amazing spice for making several meals. I just love it on my meatballs. You can add it to your pumpkin pie, chicken, or smoothie.
5. It can also be encapsulated and taken as a supplement this way. You can find several of them at pharmaceutical stores.
Just ensure you buy the right ginger. The different forms can be found in different places. For instance, ground ginger can easily be found in stores where herbs and spices are sold. Raw ginger should not be difficult to find at supermarkets or vegetable stores. Just ensure you get the one which still has a fresh look and aroma. I have listed some of the best ginger supplement below, check it out.
Side Effects of Ginger
While there are numerous health benefits of ginger, there are some side effects you should take note of. The good thing is; most of these side effects are activated when you take an overdose, so it’s more like drug abuse. It is possible to have minor side effects as stomach discomfort and heartburn when you use ginger. There has also been a complaint of increased menstrual bleeding. Apart from these effects, there may be rare occasions in the following conditions;
If you are a diabetes patient, or at the risk of becoming diabetic, you may want to take caution on how you take ginger. Your doctor should help you adjust your medications to help counter the effects of ginger which may include lowering your blood sugar and increasing your insulin levels.
Another group of people that may react negatively to ginger intake is pregnant women. Although the incidence is very low- less than 2%, you should know that fetal sex hormones could be affected and there has also been a reported case of miscarriage by a pregnant woman who used ginger. That said, I have also seen several pregnant women who have used ginger properly to treat morning sickness without side effects. It’s best to talk to your doctor.
3. Heart Conditions
Although ginger is a good therapy for a healthy heart, taking a more than required dose can easily affect your heart and worsen its condition. It is best to stick to the recommended dose. It sounds ironic that ginger that helps with heart conditions can also worsen heart conditions. The truth is, when any good thing is abused, it usually becomes bad.
I will advise breastfeeding mothers to avoid taking ginger. There is no available information or study that states that ginger can affect breastfed babies, but it is best to apply caution.
We have already established how ginger helps digestion; allowing food to pass through the intestines smoothly. However, it’s not just food. Stool as well. By making this passage swift, excessive intake of ginger can easily lead to diarrhea.
Oral Allergy Syndrome may occur in some individuals when they take ginger. Itching in the mouth is possible. Other forms of irritation Or allergies include itchy eyes, skin rash, skin inflammation or redness. These are some of the very common side effects of ginger.
Several reports have been published where women have been advised to stay away from ginger during their menstrual cycle. The anti-platelet nature of ginger is what gives it this feature.
Drugs you should not take Ginger with
Although it is safe to take ginger with several natural foods and therapies, there are some drugs that you should not mix with ginger. It is best to check with your doctor if you must; They include;
- Insulin or medications for oral diabetes
- Aspirin and other anti inflammatory drugs
- Danaparoid, Enoxaparin, ardeparin, and dalteparin
- Heart medications
There are several other drugs that are known to interact with ginger. Experts put the number at 76.
It is, therefore, important to be honest with your doctor about all medications you take as this list is not exhaustive.
Best Ginger Supplements
Now that you know the health benefits of ginger and the best ways to use it, you may want to consider using it.
If you do not fancy raw intake of ginger, there are supplements that have been packaged in easy-to-absorb forms. I am going to help you make a choice of the best ginger supplements on the market.
The NOW food ginger supplement is widely regarded as one of the most effective ginger supplements in the market today. The supplement is not only known for its natural and pure ingredients, it also aids digestion in the simplest of ways. The supplement generally helps to improve the immune system and prompt alertness of nerves in the body.
It is also proven to support proper functioning of the heart and prevent certain cardiovascular diseases. The supplement is in form of a capsule. The capsules are packaged in an airtight bottle to prevent leakage, which might reduce the effectiveness of the supplement.
Each of the capsules contains ginger extract and powder roots about 250 mg and 225 mg respectively. The capsules are free of gluten, salt, sugar, and wheat, making it highly safe to use for people with some kinds of diseases.
This Ginger supplement is among the first set of supplements to be certified by TRU-ID. The certification uses biotechnical systems to check for authenticity, quality, and efficiency of Ginger supplements. Nature’s Way Ginger Root supplement is made from pure Ginger extracts and guarantees the adequate result expected.
It contains about 1.3 percent of essential oils (Just the right amount believed to be the best and most effective for perfect skin and gastrointestinal relief). The capsules are well packaged in an airtight bottle to prevent leakage. Each capsule contains about 550 mg of ginger root extracts. The capsules do not contain sugar, salt or gluten and are safe to use.
This is another ginger supplement that ticks the boxes of all the wonderful features a supplement is meant to possess. Solaray organically-grown ginger root is another supplement that is certified by various quality assurance drug and supplement bodies including Quality Assurance International, Washington State Department of Agriculture, Quantity Certification Services, among others.
The supplement is made from pure ginger root extracts with no fillers. It does not contain any artificial ingredient and has no gluten, sugar or salt. Its effectiveness and high quality has been confirmed by food and drug agencies and is safe to use. The supplement is in the form of a capsule, packaged in an airtight small bottle. Each capsule contains about 1,080 mg of pure organic ginger root extract and can be used 2 to 5 times daily.
This is another ginger supplement that ranks high in both quality and effectiveness. The Pure Mountain Botanicals Ginger supplement is made from a hundred percent pure ginger root extracts with no additional filler or artificial ingredient. The supplement is in form of a capsule, with the capsules well packaged in a small airtight bottle to prevent leakage, which might, in turn, reduce the effectiveness of the supplement.
Each capsule contains about 500 milligrams of organic ginger root. It does not contain gluten, salt or sugar, making it very safe to use. The supplement is certified by food and drug agencies with the ingredients. The Pure Mountains Botanicals Ginger Supplement has been tested and confirmed authentic. This supplement aids digestion and also ensures nausea relief. It is recommended that one capsule of the supplement is used 1 to 3 times per day.
This is another ginger extract that boasts of high quality and effectiveness. Pure Encapsulations Ginger Extract is in form of an easily digestible capsule, with the capsules packaged in an air-free small bottle. This supplement is made with some vegan ingredients, with each capsule containing about 500 mg of ginger extract and about 25 mg of gingerol.
The supplement basically supports the circulatory system and also ensures easy digestion and absorption of food. It also helps to stimulate enzymes and aids production of bile from the gallbladder and liver. The extract is naturally made and is certified by drug and food agencies. It has no trace of gluten or sugar and is safe for consumption.
The super food, ginger has surpassed many expectations, especially in the field of medicine. It is actually very affordable and does not require complex medical procedures to prepare or administer. Plus, it is an amazing addition to your gourmet meals. You can enjoy the taste and watch it work wonders in your system. How better can it get?
Depending on your needs, any of the products reviewed here have been clinically tested and approved for providing the best forms of ginger medicine. They all have a rating of above 4 out of 5 stars. They are natural, with no additives, safe and can take care of your health conditions for as long as you stick to the proper dose and prescriptions.
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