Ginger, an herbaceous perennial plant, is a popular ingredient in cooking, and especially in African, Asian, and Indian cuisine.
Humans have been using ginger for medicine for hundreds of years. The health benefits of ginger include its ability to aid digestion, treat cold and flu, lower cholesterol levels, and reduce nausea and vomiting.
It also helps bone health, strengthens the immune system, and help in pain reduction.
What is Ginger?
Ginger (Zingiber Officinale) is one of the most popular spices in the world. You can consume the root of the ginger plant fresh, powdered, and dried as a spice or as juice.
In most parts of the world, humans use it in sweets, biscuits, beer, and wine. Ginger contains gingerols and shogaols that are very beneficial to humans. They are also perfect for healing.
Researchers came to this conclusion after a lot of scientific research and analysis.
Health Benefits of Ginger
Have you eaten and after a while, you feel like six months pregnant? However, instead of a baby inside your stomach, it feels like you are carrying a brick instead.
You are in a state of complete confusion. “Is my body going to digest this food or it is going to sit in there forever?” you begin to wonder. Undigested food in your stomach can cause annoying burping and acid reflux, which results in heartburn.
Heartburn is one side effect of indigestion that can be very painful. Ginger can help in reducing the time your stomach takes in emptying its content. With this increased motility in the digestive system, it is less likely that indigestion or heartburn will occur. This increased motility boosts digestion and alleviates painful stomach spasms.
A study on the effects of ginger on digestion in healthy human volunteers showed that ginger accelerates gastric emptying almost twice as quickly.
Reduces Nausea and Vomiting
Nausea is a feeling of physical unwellness, usually with the desire to vomit. Taking ginger by mouth can help you reduce nausea and vomiting. It is also good for pregnant women.
However, during pregnancy, before taking ginger, be sure to discuss the possible risks with your doctor. You can also take ginger if you suffer from motion sickness as it seems to reduce feelings of nausea, but it does not appear to prevent vomiting.
Chewing raw ginger or drinking ginger tea is a common home remedy for nausea during cancer treatment. Ginger is also useful for cancer patients who have undergone chemotherapy. It helps in relieving the symptoms of nausea and vomiting in cancer patients.
Relieves the Symptoms of Cold and Flu
One way you can consume ginger is using it to make ginger tea. One of the health benefits of ginger tea is treating cold and flu.
Drinking ginger tea during cold weather is an excellent way to keep warm. This is because ginger tea works to warm the body from within, which promotes sweating.
How to make ginger tea at home:
- Slice about 10 to 30 grams of fresh ginger.
- Put it in a cup of hot water.
- Wait for about 5 to 10 minutes, and your tea should be ready.
- You can add citrus like orange, lemon, lime for a better flavour and additional benefits. Citrus is an excellent source of vitamin C.
Helps in Pain Reduction
Daily ginger consumption either by direct chewing or as supplements helps in the reduction of exercise-induced muscle pain. It also used to reduce soreness caused due to exercising.
Research has shown that taking ginger powder helps to minimize dysmenorrhea, the severe pain that some women experience during a menstrual cycle.
Ginger Reduces Inflammation
Inflammation is a natural and healthy response by your body to protect it from injuries and sickness. However, excess or chronic inflammation can be very damaging.
Ginger dramatically reduces swelling and treat inflammatory conditions. Gingerol, shogaol, and paradol are the active compounds present in ginger that acts as a natural anti-inflammatory.
Boosts Heart Health
Ginger can help you reduce your cholesterol levels. It reduces low-density lipoproteins (LDL) which increases your risk of heart attack and stroke.
LDL cholesterol is bad cholesterol because it contributes to fatty build-ups in your arteries. It also reduces the risk of blood clotting, thereby helping regulate hypertension and keeping your heart healthy.
Ginger, when consumed, provides the body with lots of vitamins and minerals. Some include carbohydrate, protein, sodium, iron, potassium, vitamins C and B6, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, folate, riboflavin, and niacin.
You can reduce fresh ginger to smaller pieces by grinding or dried and then pounded.
You can add it to food as flavour. Capsaicin, beta-carotene, curcumin, caffeic acid, and salicylate are some other anti-inflammatory compounds found in ginger, which are very useful to the human body.
Helps Patients with Osteoarthritis
People with osteoarthritis can take ginger by mouth. Research has shown that it helps in slightly reducing pains. Ginger might work as well as ibuprofen for pain in some people with hip and knee osteoarthritis according to a small study.
Gingerol is an organic compound present in gingers. It aids in the prevention of breast cancer and many other types of cancer. You can use ginger to protect your skin against skin cancer.
Researchers have linked ginger to the prevention of gastric, ovarian, and pancreatic cancer.
Despite all the health benefits of ginger, they are also some health risks associated with eating ginger.
- Irritation in the mouth
- Can increase bile production
- Intake of ginger has been connected to miscarriages in pregnant women
- Worsening symptoms of acid reflux are some side effects for high consumption of ginger.
However, natural ginger causes little or no known side effects for most people.
What to look out for when buying fresh ginger:
- Smooth and tense skin
- No wrinkles or minimal wrinkles
- Spicy aroma
Store fresh ginger in a tightly wrapped plastic bag in the refrigerator or freezer, and peel and grate it before use. Add it to any suitable dish for extra flavour.
Fun Facts about Ginger
- Ginger is a flowering plant and has widespread applications in folk medicine and as a spice.
- The part of the ginger plant that we consume is not the root, but an underground stem called rhizome.
- The characteristic smell of ginger comes from some volatile oils that are present in the rhizomes.
- Young ginger rhizomes are juicy, fleshy, and have a mild taste. Mature ginger rhizomes are fibrous and nearly dry.
- The word ‘Ginger’ in English originated somewhere in the mid 14th century. It is believed to have been derived from the Old English word; gingifer.
- According to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, Statistics Division (FAOSTAT), the total ginger production in the world was ~ 2.2 million tonnes.
- India led the world with 30% of world production, followed by China at 19%, Nepal at 13%, Indonesia at 12% and Thailand at 7%.
- Ginger is processed in the form of candies and can is found in China.
- There is an island called Ginger Island. Ginger Island is a presently uninhabited island of the British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean.
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