Ginger is part of the plant family that includes cardamom and turmeric, and it has been used for thousands of years not only as a spice but also as a treatment for health issues ranging from nausea to arthritis. It contains antioxidants and other bioactive components including gingerol, shogaol and paradol, which have been shown in numerous studies to have many health benefits.
Antioxidant – Ginger contains very high levels of antioxidants, with only pomegranates and some types of berries having more. It’s important to keep oxidation in check to strengthen the body’s defenses and protect against chronic disease.
Anti-inflammatory – Ginger can decrease inflammation, swelling and pain. Chronic inflammation leads to many chronic diseases like heart disease, autoimmune disorders and cancer. Ginger can also help relieve pain from osteoarthritis, exercise-induced muscle pain and menstrual pain.
Relieve nausea – Ginger is a natural treatment for nausea and vomiting due to pregnancy, chemotherapy and post-surgery nausea. It also helps improve digestion and metabolism.
Lower blood pressure – Ginger is a vasodilator (it expands your blood vessels), which increases circulation in the body to help reduce overall blood pressure. It is also high in potassium which can help lower blood pressure by balancing out your sodium levels.
Reduce cholesterol – Ginger has been shown to significantly reduce LDL and triglycerides while increasing HDL (good cholesterol). It has also been shown to have antiplatelet activity that might be useful instead of aspirin, which has side effects, for preventing coronary heart disease.
Relieve asthma and allergies – Components in ginger can suppress allergic reactions and decrease airway contraction.
Regulate blood sugar – Ginger reduces fasting blood sugar levels as well as A1c levels. High blood sugar is one of the causes of diabetes.
Cancer prevention – Compounds in ginger are able to suppress the growth of tumors and cancer cells as well as being able to induce the destruction of cancer cells to help control and treat cancers.
Antibacterial and antiviral – Ginger has been used for centuries in treating respiratory illnesses and has been shown to be effective against respiratory viruses. It can also inhibit the growth of bacteria and has been found to be an effective antibacterial for many drug-resistant bacteria. It also helps oral health by helping to prevent the growth of bacteria that lead to gum diseases.
There are many ways to use ginger. The most potent form is fresh ginger root, which can be used in cooking and baking, for making teas or mixed into smoothies. You can also use ground ginger or buy ginger teas, dried chews or chunks. No matter how you use it, ginger is an amazing and mighty superfood!