Ginger is a plant with a pungent and unique flavor that’s used in stir-fries, juice, tea, soup and also for medicinal use. For centuries, ginger has been used to treat and manage an array of health problems ranging from digestion, nausea, migraines, colds and high blood pressure. Most of us are familiar with the rhizome or the root of this spicy plant and it is the most commonly used ingredient in many households around the world. What makes ginger a superfood? Let’s dive right into the top eight health benefits of ginger.
1. Ginger Speeds Up Digestion
Ginger contains phenolic compounds which are known to stimulate the production of saliva and bile to aid the movement of food through the Gastrointestinal (GI) tract. This reduces gastric contractions. At the same time, ginger speeds up gastric emptying, the body’s ability to empty food from your stomach. With increased gut flow in your stomach, chances of a heartburn or stomach pain are greatly minimized. This spicy plant has a calming effect on the stomach making it a good remedy for gas and bloating.
2. Ginger is an Anti-Inflammatory
Gingerol, a natural anti-inflammatory compound found in superfoods like cardamom and turmeric, is also an active ingredient in ginger. The gingerol compound is helpful when your immune system overreacts, causing excessive inflammation. This can lead to various unpleasant conditions such as fibromyalgia and celiac. Also an antioxidant, ginger curbs inflammation throughout the body.
3. Ginger for Nausea
Nausea is not an exciting feeling and whether you get it from morning sickness, seasickness, or chemotherapy, you’d be happy to find a remedy quickly. Well, ginger is all you need. For thousands of years, sailors have used ginger to manage nausea due to seasickness. It’s also used to effectively reduce the feeling of nausea after a surgery, hangover or cancer treatment.
4. Ginger is a Pain Reliever
If you workout, sore muscles can be a big deterrent to keeping up with your routine. Ginger helps to relieve muscle pain due to its anti-inflammatory properties. It doesn’t just suppress inflammation, but it also quashes the pain itself. A study on the effects of ginger found that when participants took a ginger supplement for 11 days, they experienced an impressive reduction in pain by up to 25 percent. However, keep in mind that pain relief is not instant, it takes at least 24 hours. Taking ginger daily will ease muscle pain and get you back on track. ”
5. Ginger Subdues Menstrual Pain
Women who experience unbearable pain during their periods will be glad to know that ginger is the natural remedy for menstrual pain. It’s the same anti-inflammatory properties that give ginger its wide applications. According to a study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, ginger was found to provide relief as effectively as ibuprofen does. In another study, 150 women were asked to take one gram of ginger powder daily for the first three days of their periods. The participants reported a significant reduction in their menstrual pain.
6. Ginger Fights Infections
Ginger kills the flu-causing virus and prevents it from entering the body. No wonder it’s the most effective treatment for colds. Moreover, clinical tests show that ginger kills over 13 types of disease-causing fungus in humans. Other disease-causing bacteria known for skin infections, lung infections and food poisoning among others were eliminated by the anti-bacterial properties in ginger.
7. Ginger Boosts Testosterone in Men
Many studies have been conducted to prove the link between ginger and testosterone in men. One recent research concluded that there was a testosterone increase of up to 17 percent in the 75 participants after taking ginger supplementation for three months. Get this: ginger also increased the men’s sperm count, testosterone-boosting hormones, and sperm mobility. The reason behind these findings suggested that ginger increased blood flow to the testes, was effective in combating oxidative stress in the testes, helped to boost antioxidant enzymes and increased cholesterol in the testes.
8. Ginger Fights Cancer
Research shows that ginger can remarkably reverse the effects of cancer. Studies on mice found that gingerol compounds stopped the spread of breast cancer to other cells. It also blocked colon, stomach, pancreatic, skin and ovarian cancer cells from spreading to other blood vessels. Other pungent elements in ginger inhibited the growth of bone and liver cancer cells, slowing them down or completely killing them.
With countless studies about the ginger plant ongoing, we can only expect to discover even more value, both nutritional and medicinal. Ginger has few and isolated side-effects including mouth irritation, diarrhea, and acid reflux. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers ginger to be generally safe and approves its use to treat various conditions. As a precaution, you’re advised to check in with your doctor before taking ginger supplementation, especially if you’re pregnant, using blood thinners, or under medication. All in all, making ginger part of your meals is the right step towards healthy eating.
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