Ginger, a natural herb, is used as a spice all over the world. This herb is immensely popular owing to the various health benefits it offers. Several studies have proven that it is extremely effective in treating a number of health issues.
A minimum of 115 constituents has been identified in fresh and dried ginger varieties.
‘Gingerols’ are the major constituents of fresh ginger. The concentrations of shogaols, which are the major gingerol dehydration products, are more abundant in dry ginger.
Besides these, amino acids, raw fiber, ash, protein, phytosterols, vitamins (e.g., nicotinic acid and vitamin A), and minerals are also present in this ingredient.
Nutritional Value of Ginger
Ginger consists of antinausea, antispasmodic, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antibacterial, antiviral, and antitussive (cough-suppressant) properties that can do wonders for your health.
Also, ginger is rich in several nutrients, including vitamin A, C, and E, Bcomplex, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, sodium, potassium, silicon, zinc, iron, and beta-carotene.
Nutritional value of ginger roots per 100 grams:
- Water – 78.89 g
- Energy – 80 kcal
- Protein – 1.82 g
- Total lipid – 0.75 g
- Carbohydrate – 17.77 g
- Fiber – 2.0 g
- Sugars – 1.70 g
- Calcium, Ca – 16 mg
- Iron, Fe – 0.60 mg
- Magnesium, Mg – 43 mg
- Phosphorus, P – 34 mg
- Potassium, K – 415 mg
- Sodium, Na – 13 mg
- Zinc, Zn – 0.34 mg
- Vitamin C – 5.0 mg
- Niacin – 0.750 mg
- Vitamin B-6 – 0.160 mg
- Folate – 11 mcg
- Vitamin E –0.26 mg
- Vitamin K – 0.1 mcg
To enjoy the medicinal benefits of ginger, you can use it in fresh, dried, powdered, juice, or oil form.
How Ginger Benefits Your Health
Here are 10 key health benefits of adding ginger to your diet.
1. Settles Upset Stomach
The carminative properties present in ginger can be effective in calming an upset stomach. It prevents gas and bloating by helping relax the gastrointestinal muscles.
Health experts often recommend ginger to treat stomach ailments such as dyspepsia and colic. It is also used for curing bacteria-induced diarrhea. Ginger can help alleviate the various symptoms of food poisoning as well.
To improve digestion, try to eat ginger after any large meal.
2. Treats Cough, Cold, and Flu
Ginger helps boost the immune system, so it is used as a natural treatment for cold and flu. Moreover, this ingredient contains antiviral, antitoxic, and antifungal properties. By inducing sweating and expelling heat, it also helps relieve mild fever.
Being a natural analgesic and painkiller, ginger can be used to soothe the pain and irritation of a sore throat. It can also help reduce coughing, especially when caused by the common cold. The warming action of ginger tea helps to eliminate mucus from the lungs that may be causing the cough.
- Consume ginger several times a day when suffering from a cold or flu. It will aid in detoxifying your body naturally, thus making you feel better and speeding up the healing process.
- Boil 1 teaspoon of ginger powder or 2 teaspoons of freshly grated ginger in 2 cups of water. Inhale the steam to get relief from congestion and other symptoms associated with common colds.
- You can chew some fresh ginger root or drink ginger juice or tea to suppress a cough.
- You can also massage your chest and back with ginger oil to help relieve and treat a cough.
3. Treats Morning Sickness
Pregnant women who suffer from morning sickness can use ginger to get rid of the problem.
Vitamin B6 is known to be effective in getting rid of pregnancy-induced nausea. Ginger works like vitamin B6 in the treatment of morning sickness.
Even when suffering from general nausea, one can use ginger to get instant relief.
- Chew on a piece of ginger (preferably tossed in a little honey) to get rid of morning sickness, motion sickness, or nausea.
- If you do not like the taste of raw ginger, you can opt for ginger supplements.
4. Reduces Arthritis Pain
According to a 2001 study, a ginger extract was found to be effective in reducing the symptoms associated with osteoarthritis of the knee.
- To treat the pain, apply warm ginger paste with turmeric to the affected area twice a day.
- Also, include raw or cooked ginger in your diet.
- Plus, you can add a few drops of ginger essential oil to your bath to help ease aching muscles and joints.
5. Backents Cancer
Ginger has proven to be helpful in preventing cancer.
A 2007 study published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that ginger powder induced cell death in ovarian cancer cells.
Another study by the University of Minnesota found that ginger can also slow the growth of colorectal cancer cells and thus helps prevent colon cancer to a great extent.
This ingredient also has the ability to combat other types of cancer, including lung, breast, skin, prostate, and pancreatic cancers.
6. Reduces Menstrual Pain
Being a natural painkiller and anti-inflammatory agent, ginger can be used to reduce menstrual pain.
Women suffering from menstrual pain can take ginger powder or ginger capsules to get relief.
You can also drink ginger tea. This will give you instant relief from the pain and tenderness from cramps that often occur at the beginning of the monthly menstrual cycle.
7. Treats Migraines
Research has shown that ginger may offer relief from a migraine due to its ability to stop prostaglandins from causing pain and inflammation in the blood vessels.
Drink ginger tea during migraine attacks to block the unbearable pain and stop the associated dizziness and nausea.
8. Promotes Heart Health
Ginger has long been used for promoting heart health. It can help lower cholesterol levels, regulate blood pressure, and prevent blood from clotting, which in turn helps reduce the risk of various heart diseases.
Being high in potassium, ginger is great for heart health. Also, it contains a good amount of manganese, which can help protect the heart, blood vessels, and urinary passages.
Include this herb in your regular diet to maintain good cardiovascular health.
9. Controls Diabetes
Research suggests that ginger can help lower your blood sugar level and increase the effectiveness of insulin and other drugs used for treating diabetes.
Experts recommend drinking 1 glass of warm water mixed with 1 teaspoon of ginger juice first thing in the morning to regulate blood sugar.
Various health complications associated with diabetes may also be limited to a great extent with the help of ginger. Regular intake of ginger may reduce urine protein levels, decrease water intake and urine output, and decrease the risk of various types of damage caused by uncontrolled blood sugar. This particular herb can also protect nerves in patients with diabetes and lower blood fat levels.
10. Improves Brain Functions
Oxidative stress and chronic inflammation can speed up the aging process. These are considered to be the key factors of Alzheimer’s disease and age-related cognitive decline. Studies have suggested that the antioxidants and bioactive compounds in ginger can inhibit inflammatory responses that occur in the brain.
Also, there is some evidence suggesting that this herb is capable of directly enhancing the brain function. In a study that included 60 middle-aged women, a ginger extract was shown to improve reaction time and working memory.
- Add fresh ginger root to curries, soups, stews, or other dishes on a daily basis to promote brain health.
- You can also make a decoction from this herb.
If you prefer natural solutions for the various health problems that you may encounter, then ginger is one ingredient that you must always keep handy.
Precautions to Keep in Mind
- Since ginger is suspected to raise the odds of bleeding during pregnancy, expecting mothers are advised to stay off it, especially in the period approaching the delivery date. As a general rule of thumb, it is essential to run any such medicinal decision by your OBGYN to prevent future risks.
- Consuming ginger in appropriate food amounts is likely to be safe for most people, but can experience mild side effects including diarrhea,heartburn and general stomach discomfort. Prolonged or unusually heavy menstrual flow has also been reported by some women as a side-effect of excessive ginger usage.
- Diabetics have to tread carefully when using ginger as it might dangerously raise their insulin levels and/or lower their blood sugar. It is best to consult your healthcare provider about what amount is considered safe, as well as possible adjustments in your diabetes medications.
- Ginger might make one increasingly susceptible to bleeding as excessive consumption can delay the blood clotting process. People with pre-existing bleeding disorders are particularly vulnerable to this blood thinning effect of ginger and should exercise restraint and caution.
- High doses of ginger might aggravate certain cardiovascular conditions.
Use Ginger with precaution if you are taking antidiabetic, blood thinning or high blood pressure medications as using ginger along with these medications may further reduce the sugar levels, slow down blood clotting or reduce the blood pressure respectively.
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