If there is one spice that everyone should have in their kitchen at all times, that is ginger. The Indian-origin spice is one of the healthiest spices on the market and can be a wonderful addition to your cooking. One of the best cooking pairings is ginger and garlic. On its own, ginger is extremely healthy, and when paired with some other spice, the health results are astonishing. That being said, let’s take a look at some of the benefits of ginger on its own.
Most of the diseases, illnesses and conditions you see nowadays are the result of inflammation in your stomach, gut or anywhere else. Some foods cause inflammation, and then some foods have anti-inflammatory properties, essentially protecting you from any inflammatory disease.
Ginger is best known for its anti-inflammatory properties, making the spice extremely useful for reducing pain, especially with arthritis patients. In addition, thanks to the anti-inflammatory properties, ginger lessens swelling and can help with diseases like diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular diseases and others caused by inflammation.
Fighting and helping with common illnesses is one thing, but the area where ginger excels is helping with serious health conditions like cancer. Ginger has been used for decades in alternative medicine for treating ovarian cancer, destroying ovarian cancer cells. According to a study from the University of Michigan, ginger not only kills cancerous cells but also does that by making cancer cells attack themselves, essentially working in the same way as chemotherapy.
Ginger also helps with colon cancer, stopping and slowing the progression of colorectal cancer cells. And more importantly, ginger can outperform some cancer drugs.
Heartburn and Acid Reflux
One of the benefits of ginger consumption includes treating conditions like heartburn and indigestion. It all comes back down to the anti-inflammatory properties of ginger. Ginger outperforms pharmaceuticals designed for acid reflux, and there are no side effects, something that cannot be said for use of pharmaceutical drugs that can increase the risk for certain diseases.
Cough and Sore Throat
Ginger is one of the best, if not the best, and widely used home remedies for cough and sore throat. There are several ways to use ginger for common illnesses like a cold and sore throat. For cold, for example, the best way is to slice and crush ginger and then boil it. The procedure will draw out the active ingredients of the ginger, and make it as potent as possible. Drink the ginger tea on its own, or add honey and lemon for taste. In any way, the tea will help with both cold and sore throat.
An upset stomach is not something you want to suffer from. Luckily, ginger can help treat upset stomachs and improve digestion. It comes back again to its anti-inflammatory properties, and drinking ginger ale is a great way to calm your stomach down. Or, you can grate ginger, boil, and add some mint leaves. Boil for few minutes, and then drink the solution, followed by a tablespoon of honey.
Ginger can be used both as a remedy, but also as prevention and precautionary measure for your gastro problems. Consuming ginger regularly helps you eliminate gastrointestinal distress, essentially preventing symptoms of motion sickness and seasickness. Ginger is even more potent and effective than Dramamine, the common OTC drug for seasickness. Unlike drugs, ginger helps you get rid of all the symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and cold sweating.
Joint Pain and Muscle Soreness
As mentioned previously, consuming ginger helps with pain reduction. People suffering from joint pain, or those with muscle soreness can effectively treat their conditions with some ginger. A cup of ginger tea after a workout is an effective way to relax your muscles, provide your body with some fluids to recover and rejuvenate, and relax.
Toothache pain, another problem for many people around the world is also treatable with ginger. Using the spice as a tea remedy is something that one generation passes down to another. One way to use ginger is by brewing some ginger tea. Another way, even more, effective is to rub raw ginger into the affected area and on the gums. If you are using ginger tea, make sure to let the tea cool down and use it as a mouth rinse.
Ginger is one of the three potent herbs that can treat headaches and migraines, along with peppermint and cayenne pepper. You can use the herbs together or on your own. For a more potent remedy, mix ginger with a little cayenne pepper powder and some dried peppermint. You can use stevia for sweetening.
Nausea and Vomiting
Ginger is a great remedy for fighting nausea and vomiting, and some women even use it as a remedy for morning sickness. However, one should be precautions with the use of ginger for morning sickness. In situations like post-surgery and cancer treatments, ginger is a great remedy for fighting nausea.
Lower Blood Sugar
Ginger helps lower your blood sugar levels, effectively keeping a healthy balance of blood glucose levels, preventing diabetes and lowering the risk of heart-related diseases. In a study in 2015, patients with type 2 diabetes had their blood sugar level lowered by 12% by consuming just two grams of ginger powder per day.
Lowers Cholesterol Levels
Speaking of heart diseases, ginger also helps with another major cause of heart diseases, cholesterol. In a study, almost 100 people were exposed to ginger powder for 45 days. The results showed a significant reduction of LDL or bad cholesterol levels, almost on the same level as some cholesterol drugs like atorvastatin.
Last, but not least, people that want to lose weight might like to include ginger in their daily diet. Ginger is one of the spices that rapidly increase your metabolic and fat burn rate. As a result, you are burning way more calories, and you are losing weight without even working out. Of course, you won’t lose 10 pounds in a month.
How to Add Ginger to Your Diet?
Ginger is a spice that can be easily incorporated into your daily diet, but you should not overdo it. Here are some ways how to add more ginger:
- Add some ginger to your rice, just before the end of cooking, add some finely chopped ginger along with garlic for a burst of flavour
- Grate some ginger in your tea for cleansing and healing
- Ginger powder can be added to almost any pastry you make. Ginger deserts are delicious and healthy
- Combine fresh lemon juice with freshly grated ginger, or some honey, water and ginger
- Ginger can be mixed with garlic, olive oil and soy sauce for wonderful salad dressing
- You can add ginger to pureed sweet potatoes
- Add ginger to your smoothies for a kick in flavour
One thing to note, when you add ginger at the beginning of cooking, you will get a subtler flavour. On the other hand, if you add ginger at the end, the result will be a pungent flavour and taste.
Risks and Side Effects
In general, ginger is a healthy spice that everyone can use. However, some situations require special precautions when using ginger. There are also side effects reported by some people, and those mild side effects include diarrhea, stomach discomfort and heartburn.
Pregnant women should not use ginger, as there have been reports of ginger causing miscarriage during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Ginger also might affect fetal sex hormones during pregnancy. On one hand, ginger might be a great asset for battling morning sickness as the spice helps with nausea and vomiting, but consult your doctor to be safe and secure. The risk is between 1% and 3%, but some people want to be completely safe. Breast-feeding is another period when the use of ginger is not recommended. While there are no reports of ginger being unsafe, there are also no reports of ginger being safe during breastfeeding.
One condition when ginger is not recommended is during bleeding disorders, as ginger might increase the risk of bleeding. High doses of ginger can also worsen heart conditions.