You may know that ginger is a popular ingredient in Asian and Indian cuisine, but did you know that it’s been used for centuries for its healing properties?
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.
It can be consumed fresh, powdered, dried as a spice, or used in the form of an oil or as juice. If you’re not familiar with this root, here are 8 reasons to take it every day.
1. Ginger relieves digestive issues
The active compounds found in ginger, gingerols, and shogaol, both stimulate digestion by increasing saliva and bile production as well as promoting the activity of enzymes like trypsin and pancreatic lipase. They also increase nutrient absorption by reducing inflammation and irritation of the gastrointestinal tract.
Additionally, the root prevents constipation, indigestion, bloating and cramps by increasing gastric motility (emptying of the stomach). In fact, taking just 1.2 grams of ginger before a meal can reduce indigestion by up to 50 percent.
2. Ginger relieves nausea
Ginger fights nausea by helping break up and expel intestinal gas, accelerating gastric emptying and stimulating antral contractions. 2-gram doses are commonly used by naval cadets to treat seasickness and by pregnant women to lessen morning sickness.
In fact, ginger was found to work better than dimenhydrinate (Dramamine) against symptoms of motion sickness. It may even work better than vitamin B6 in preventing nausea and vomiting in patients undergoing chemotherapy or surgery.
3. Ginger can relieve pain
A study conducted at the University of Georgia found that daily ginger supplementation reduced muscle pain by 25percent. Ginger has also been found to reduce pain during menstrual cycles. Researchers also believe that ginger is effective at reducing the day-to-day progression of muscle pain.
4. Ginger reduces inflammation
Like anti-inflammatory drugs, ginger inhibits pro-inflammatory cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) expression to provide relief to a patient suffering from an inflammatory disease like arthritis. In fact, a study published in the Journal of Complementary Medicine found that ginger was just as effective as and much safer than diclofenac, a popular nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug used to treat osteoarthritis.
Ginger may also be beneficial in managing asthma and other inflammatory conditions.
5. Ginger may reduce the risk of heart disease
In a recent 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 percent 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 percent.
6. Ginger may have anti-cancer properties
A compound found in ginger, 6-gingerol, has gained increased interest from the scientific community as a possible anti-cancer agent. It has been shown to suppress the proliferation and invasion of cancer cells by preventing angiogenesis in tumors.
Also, the root induces apoptosis of cancer cells to fight the disease outright. 2 grams a day is enough to reduce pro-inflammatory molecules involved in the development of tumors in your colon.
So far, ginger has shown a lot of potential in treating colorectal cancer and continues to be examined as a possible sure to lymphoma, hepatoma, breast cancer, skin cancer, liver cancer, and bladder cancer.
7. Ginger may lower cholesterol levels
A 45-day study involving 85 people with high cholesterol concluded that 3 grams of ginger powder each day caused significant reductions in cholesterol levels. Researchers believe that ginger can aid in lowering cholesterol levels and reducing the risk of heart disease.
8. Ginger may improve brain function
Ginger supports cognitive function by fighting oxidative stress and inflammation in the brain. Researchers believe that it may hold the key to preventing and fighting Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.
A study published in Evidence-Based Complementary Alternative Medicine found that 800mg of ginger taken daily for two months was enough to increase the power and accuracy of attention as well as the speed and quality of memory in middle-aged women.
How to take ginger
To get the most of these benefits and get your body back on track, include ginger into your meals every day by using it to season meat and vegetables, flavor salad dressing or add a kick to desserts.
The easiest way to take it, though, is to make ginger tea and drink it every morning on an empty stomach. To make the tea, add 4 to 6 thin slices of raw ginger to a cup of boiling water and let it simmer for 10 to 15 minutes before removing the slices and serving the tea with a small spoon of honey.