Ginger. Whether it’s fancily set next to your sushi, or taking a dive into your green smoothie, ginger packs a wide range of health benefits. This nutritious spice can provide flavor and zest to just about any dish and take your health from good to great. So, let’s talk about the benefits of eating ginger that can improve your overall health and wellness.
What Is Ginger
Ginger is a flowering plant native to Southeast Asia. It’s part of the Zingiberaceae family, closely related to other spices such as Turmeric and cardamom. Ginger contains powerful antioxidants, and a hefty amount of vitamin C, magnesium, and potassium. Ginger contains a bioactive polyphenol called Gingerol, a ketone which gives ginger it’s spicy component and reported antioxidant properties.
5 Benefits of Eating Ginger
1. Ginger Can Help With Nausea
One of the most established benefits of eating ginger, is alleviating symptoms of nausea and vomiting. The direct mechanisms on which ginger acts as an antiemetic has been attributed to its carminative effect, which helps to break up and expel intestinal gas. As a kid, some of you may remember your parents giving you a ginger ale, to help alleviate your upset stomach. Well, this is why. Only problem, is that most ginger ale soda, does not actually contain real ginger [R].
Ginger is also a common treatment for preventing motion sickness. Studies have shown that ginger extract or root, is far superior that other treatments Dramamine [R]. A systematic review published in the Nutrition Journal examined 1278 pregnant woman, and the effectiveness of pregnancy induced nausea and vomiting and found that nausea was significantly reduced.
2. Ginger May Help Weight Loss
Research has shown that gingerols enhance the thermic effect of food, stimulate lipolysis, and promote feeling of satiety, which can have a positive effect on weight loss. The thermic effect of food is one of the components of metabolism or total daily energy expenditure along with resting metabolic rate, basal metabolic rate, activity level, age, and gender. Thermogenesis is essentially the energy “cost” it takes to breakdown your food, digest it, and turn it into fuel. While the cumulative effect of the thermic effect of food on total daily expenditure is small, it still contributes to burning more total calories and supporting your weight loss goals.
A systematic review on the effects and benefits of ginger on weight loss and metabolic rate on obese individuals, found that ginger may help reduce body weight and fasting glucose levels [R]. Another study published in the journal Metabolism found that ginger enhances the thermic effect of food and promotes feelings of fullness, which can help you achieve a caloric deficit [R].
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3. Ginger May Help Inflammatory Bowel Disease
A series of studies have shown that the anti-inflammatory properties of ginger, may have a benefit on IBD (inflammatory bowel disease), such as colitis. Preliminary research indicates ginger could prevent intestinal inflammation by increasing the levels of anti-inflammatory cytokines such as interleukin-10 (IL-10) and IL-22 and decreasing the levels of proinflammatory cytokines [R].
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4. Ginger Can Benefit Blood Sugar Levels
Studies have demonstrated that ginger can help maintain steady blood sugar and increase insulin sensitivity, which is key in controlling long term health effects of type 2 diabetes. A study published in the Iran Journal of Pharmaceutical Research investigated the effects of ginger on fasting blood sugar in type 2 diabetic patients. Results indicated that ginger significantly reduced fasting blood sugar, which can help control and regulate insulin production.
5. Ginger May Improve Testosterone Production
Testosterone is an active and vital hormone in both men and women. It plays a role in your mood, energy levels, regulating bodily functions, and let’s not forget your sex drive. And the biggest role, the balance of estrogen. Low testosterone can cause symptoms such as chronic fatigue, moodiness, or loss of sexual desire. Research has shown that ginger, and its bioactive ingredient gingerol may help increase natural testosterone levels.
A systematic review published in the journal Biomolecules showed that ginger does have a statically significant link positively effecting testosterone production, particularly in oxidative stress conditions [R].
RELATED ARTICLE 6 Symptoms of Low Testosterone In Men
Ginger Benefits: Takeaway
Ginger contains some pretty powerful health benefits and can be a very valuable addition to your nutrition plan. Including raw ginger in your smoothies or salads, is another simple addition you can make to derive powerful antioxidant, vitamin, and minerals into your diet.
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Bode AM, Dong Z. The Amazing and Mighty Ginger. In: Benzie IFF, Wachtel-Galor S, editors. Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition. Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press/Taylor & Francis; 2011. Chapter 7. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92775/
Edible ginger-derived nanoparticles: A novel therapeutic approach for the prevention and treatment of inflammatory bowel disease and colitis-associated cancer.
Mao, Qian-Qian et al. “Bioactive Compounds and Bioactivities of Ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe).” Foods (Basel, Switzerland) vol. 8,6 185. 30 May. 2019, doi:10.3390/foods8060185
Banihani, Saleem Ali. “Ginger and Testosterone.” Biomolecules vol. 8,4 119. 22 Oct. 2018, doi:10.3390/biom8040119