10 Health Benefits of Ginger (zingiber officinale)
Ginger, scientifically known as zingiber officinale, is a flowering plant that is closely related to turmeric and cardamom. The underground stem, or rhizome, of the ginger plant is commonly known as the ginger root and is well-known for its medicinal properties.
Ginger has been used across the globe as a natural remedy for thousands of years due to its medicinal properties. In fact, ancient Sanskrit, Chinese, Roman, Greek, and Arabic texts have all documented the use of ginger root to help improve health and well-being.
Ginger has been revered as a culinary and medicinal spice in many traditional cultures. It is also a very powerful herb with numerous proven health benefits.
Ginger has a long history of health benefits, including relief from nausea, digestive issues and pain. The most commonly used part of the plant for medicinal purposes is the root or underground stem, known as the rhizome.
The health benefits of ginger are largely due to its antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties and content of therapeutic compounds like gingerol, shogaol, paradol and zingerone.
Consumable in fresh, dried, ground, capsule and juice form, ginger root is easy to add to the diet and can have a lasting impact on just about every aspect of health.
100 grams (about 3.5 ounces) of raw ginger contain approximately:
- 80 calories
- 8 grams carbohydrates
- 8 grams protein
- 7 grams fat
- 2 grams dietary fiber
- 415 milligrams potassium (12 percent DV)
- 2 milligrams copper (11 percent DV)
- 2 milligrams manganese (11 percent DV)
- 43 milligrams magnesium (11 percent DV)
- 5 milligrams vitamin C (8 percent DV)
- 2 milligrams vitamin B6 (8 percent DV)
- 7 milligrams niacin (4 percent DV)
- 34 milligrams phosphorus (3 percent DV)
- 6 milligrams iron (3 percent DV)
In addition to the nutrients listed above, ginger also contains a small amount of calcium, zinc, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, and thiamin.
If you haven’t yet incorporated ginger in your diet, here are some reasons why you must!
10 Health Benefits of Ginger
- Ginger Relieves Digestive Issues: The phenolic compounds in ginger have the properties to relieve irritation in the gastrointestinal tract. They stimulate saliva and bile production while allowing food and fluids to move through the GI tract smoother than normal.
- Ginger Helps Treat Nausea: Used historically as a natural remedy for sea sickness and morning sickness, ginger is perhaps most well-known for its ability to treat nausea and vomiting. Several tests have found that ginger was effective at decreasing symptoms of nausea with minimal risk of side effects. Plus, another study from the University Of Rochester Medical Center showed that ginger helped reduce nausea severity in patients receiving chemotherapy.
- Ginger Can Help With Food Satiety: In addition to increasing fat loss, ginger may also help a person to feel satiated, which in turn reduces food consumption. Also, it’s been proved that ginger works as a natural appetite suppressant which is the best way to lose weight. Natural appetite suppressants are safe and cause no rebound. Ginger is nearly calorie-free, and when used in cooking or brewed in tea, it can give you a slight advantage in meeting your weight loss goals. Ginger and weight loss go together well partly because ginger is known to be a thermogenic food. It raises the temperature of the body and helps boost metabolism, so you burn fat more than you would simply by dieting alone.
- Ginger Helps Regulate Cholesterol: Consuming ginger can have a profound effect on high cholesterol levels that are often attributed to obesity among women and men. High cholesterol levels in a person can indicate higher than normal BMI and can thus, lead to obesity-related illnesses like heart disease and certain cancers. Ginger helps lower cholesterol by significantly reducing serum and hepatic cholesterol levels. Ginger also acts as a blood thinner and reduces blood pressure.
- Ginger Reduces Inflammation: Osteoarthritis is a common health problem that involves the degeneration of the joints in the body, causing joint pain and stiffness. In a trial of 247 people with osteoarthritis of the knee, those who took ginger extract had less pain and required less pain medication.
- Ginger Can Boost Immunity: Ginger helps improve the immune system. Ginger is one of the oldest cures for cold, nausea and flu as it has anti-viral and anti-fungal properties. It cures cold and provides instant relief and also kills the bacteria that causes cold and ensures that it doesn’t return. Drinking ginger as a tea will ease sore throat, non-stop coughing and even congestion. Ginger contains chromium, magnesium and zinc which can help prevent chills, fever, and excessive sweat. Plus, it acts as an antihistamine and hence is useful in dealing with allergies. Ginger tea is used for weight loss as it increases metabolism, stimulates circulation and excretion of toxins from the body.
- Ginger May Reduce Risk of Heart Disease: In a study involving participants with type 2 diabetes, researchers found that 2 grams of ginger powder each day lowered blood sugar and led to a 10% overall reduction over a period of 12 weeks. High blood sugar is a major risk factor for heart disease. With the effects of ginger on blood sugar, your risk of heart disease may be lowered by at least 10%.
- Ginger Can Help Treat Chronic Indigestion: Chronic indigestion (dyspepsia) is characterized by recurrent pain and discomfort in the upper part of the stomach. It is believed that delayed emptying of the stomach is a major driver of indigestion. Interestingly, ginger has been shown to speed up emptying of the stomach in people with this condition. After eating ginger-rich soup, ginger reduces the time it took for the stomach to empty from 16 to 12 minutes. 1g of ginger powder before a meal accelerates emptying of the stomach by 50%.
- Ginger May Have Anti-Cancer Properties: A substance in ginger known as 6-gingerol has been studied as an alternative treatment for several types of cancer. Research on this theory is still being conducted, but one study found that 2 grams of ginger extract each day significantly reduced pro-inflammatory signaling molecules in the colon.
- Ginger May Improve Brain Function Oxadative stress and chronic inflammation are two factors that can accelerate the aging process, and become a key driver of Alzheimer’s disease and other age-related cognitive impairments. Some studies suggest that the antioxidants and bioactive compounds in ginger can inhibit inflammatory responses that occur in the brain. In a study of 60 middle-aged women, ginger extract was shown to improve reaction time and working memory, suggesting that ginger supports brain health in multiple ways.