Health Benefits of Ginger To Add The Zing You Were Missing
Ginger is a flowering plant that originated in Southeast Asia and is now known as one of the healthiest spices on the planet. It’s closely related to turmeric and can be used fresh, dried, powdered, as an oil, or as a juice. Since ginger contains gingerol, which has powerful medical properties, there are a ton of health benefits of ginger that can come in handy for a lot of people dealing with a variety of ailments. So, if you’re wondering what the health benefits of ginger in your diet and how it can help you – keep reading!
What are the Health Benefits of Ginger?
Ginger is a well-known medicinal food and home remedy ingredient that comes in many forms–juiced, minced, in supplements, in tea, I mean the list goes on. It has a very very long history of use in traditional and alternative medicine to aid digestion, reduce nausea, help fight the flu, fight infections, combat the common cold, improve mental focus, boost stamina, reduce stress, and boost overall immunity. Plus, gingerol has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects that further aid in treating the skin and improving skin health. To put it in perspective, here is a full list of the health benefits of ginger:
1. Reduce Oxidative Stress
Since ginger has antioxidant effects, it can reduce oxidative stress and fight against an excess number of free radicals in the body. With antioxidants, these compounds can prevent stress and damage to your body’s DNA while fighting off chronic diseases like high blood pressure, heart disease, and lung disease. Plus, you can avoid premature signs of aging.
2. Reducing Inflammation
With ginger’s ability to target inflammation, it is valuable in managing arthritis, headaches, and menstrual cramps.
3. Stimulate Circulation
Ginger has a warming effect that can stimulate circulation (1).
4. Treat Nausea
Ginger is said to be highly effective against nausea and vomiting, especially for those undergoing surgery, chemotherapy, or experiencing pregnancy-related morning sickness.
5. Weight Loss
Ginger may play a role in weight loss as it can help reduce body mass index and blood insulin levels (2). Plus, it’s said that ginger has the potential to help increase the number of calories burned or reduce inflammation.
6. Help with Osteoarthritis
This is a common health problem that involves degeneration of the joints in the body, leading to joint pain and stiffness. Studies have shown that people who used ginger to help with their ailment saw significant reductions in pain.
7. Relieving Pain
Besides helping with osteoarthritis, researchers have studied the effects of ginger on those with exercise-induced muscle pain. Also, another one of the key health benefits of ginger is reducing dysmenorrhea or the pain before or during menstruation.
8. Lower Blood Sugar
Ginger may have powerful anti-diabetic properties as studies have shown that ginger can dramatically improve blood sugar levels. As a result, this can improve various heart disease risk factors in people with type 2 diabetes. As always, it’s important to consult your doctor before making any medical decisions.
9. Reducing Gas and Improving Digestion
Several studies have looked into ginger’s effects on the gasses that form in the intestinal tract during digestion, suggesting that enzymes in ginger can help the body break up and expel gas. This provides relief from the discomfort of trapped gas. Plus, ginger seems to have an effect on increasing movement through the digestive tract to prevent or relieve constipation.
10. Easing a Cold or Flu
Many people use ginger to help recover from the cold or flu, and it’s become a popular home remedy by spreading through word-of-mouth. Fresh ginger has been studied to indicate that it may help protect the respiratory system.
How To Use Ginger
As mentioned earlier, ginger can be used fresh, dried, powdered, as an oil, or as a juice when added to recipes. It’s often added to food, cosmetics, and topicals due to all of their health benefits. Whatever it may be, there are a lot of different ways that you can use this spice in a wellness recipe or topical treatment to get the full health benefits of ginger. Here are our favorite ways to use ginger:
- Make Ginger Tea: Drinking ginger tea when you feel sluggish, lethargic, or unmotivated can give you the right spark of energy that you need to get through the day. This is one of the best ways to get the full health benefits of ginger in your system while giving your tea an extra wellness kick. As an added bonus, it’s great to curl up with a mug of ginger tea when you’re feeling under the weather.
- Add Ginger to your Smoothie/Juice: By adding ginger to your smoothie or juice, you can help aid your body in helping indigestion and any bloating you might be experiencing. To do so, you can get ginger oil or grate some fresh ginger into your blender when you’re working on your next smoothie recipe.
- DIY Ginger Essential Oil: If you don’t have the time or money to go out and buy a ginger essential oil, you can distill ginger into your very own oil from the comfort of your home. Once the oil is made, you can use it directly on your skin (when diluted) or in a diffuser for aromatherapy.
- Make Ginger Soup: What’s better than a nice hot bowl of soup when you’re sick? To take your soup to the next level, grate some fresh ginger inside to rev up your immune system and speed up the time it takes you to “get well soon”.
- Make a Marinade: The next time you’re meal prepping your meat or veggies, add some spice to your marinade by adding ginger! All you need to do is grate some fresh ginger and add it to a rub with more of your favorite spices and ingredients. Leave your food marinating overnight, and boom! Your food not only tastes delicious, but it’s nutritious too.
- Make Potpourri: Mixing dried ginger with other dried spices, essential oils, and flower petals is a great makeshift recipe for potpourri that can deliver the ultimate relaxing aromatherapy. Many people use ginger in potpourri as a makeshift air freshener because it’s organic, non-toxic, and reduces stress (3).
Written by Selena Ponton