What are the health benefits of ginger?

Since ancient times, people have used ginger in cooking and medicine. It’s a tried-and-true home remedy for nausea, stomach pain, and other chronic conditions.

Fresh or dried ginger is commonly used in cooking, and some people take ginger supplements for their potential health benefits.

Ginger’s antioxidants and other nutrients may help to prevent or treat arthritis, inflammation, and infection. Researchers have also looked into its ability to lower the risk of diabetes, cancer, and other diseases.

Learn more about the potential health benefits of ginger and the research that supports them in this article.

Benefits

Ginger is thought to have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral, and other health benefits. Some of the medicinal uses of ginger are listed below.

Gas reduction and digestion improvement

Ginger image
Ginger has been shown to aid digestion.

Ginger’s effects on the gasses that form in the intestinal tract during digestion have been studied in several studies.

According to some research, the enzymes in ginger can help the body break up and expel this gas, relieving any discomfort.

Ginger also appears to have a positive effect on the digestive enzymes trypsin and pancreatic lipase.

Furthermore, ginger may aid in the movement of food through the digestive tract, implying that it can help relieve or prevent constipation.

Relieving nausea

According to some studies, ginger can help with morning sickness and nausea associated with cancer treatment.

In a small study published in 2010, 60 children and young adults who were undergoing chemotherapy were given ginger root powder supplements to help with nausea. The supplement reduced nausea in the majority of those who took it, according to the study.

A review of studies published in 2011 came to similar conclusions. They found that taking a daily dose of 1,500 milligrams (mg) of ginger extract divided into two doses helped alleviate nausea symptoms.

They also recommended for more human studies to fully comprehend the effects of ginger on nausea and other gastrointestinal problems.

Easing a cold or the flu

Many people use ginger to aid in the recovery of a cold or flu. The evidence for this remedy, however, is mostly anecdotal.

The effects of fresh and dried ginger on one respiratory virus in human cells were studied in 2013.

Fresh ginger appeared to help protect the respiratory system, whereas dried ginger did not have the same effect.

A small study was also conducted in 2013 to look into the popularity of herbal medicine as a cold or flu treatment.

The researchers discovered that 69 percent of those polled used herbal medicine and that the majority of those polled found it effective after polling 300 pharmacy customers in two different locations.

While ginger was one of the most commonly used ingredients in these remedies, it is possible that some of the participants did not use it.

Relieving pain

Researchers found that a daily dose of 2 grams (g) of raw or heated ginger reduced exercise-induced muscle pain by about 25% in a small study involving 74 volunteers.

Meanwhile, according to a 2016 review of studies, ginger may help reduce dysmenorrhea, which is pain that occurs before or during menstruation. The authors do admit, however, that the studies they included were frequently small or of poor quality.

Inflammation reduction

One group of researchers came to the conclusion that taking ginger by mouth is “modestly efficacious and reasonably safe” for treating osteoarthritis inflammation.

They did point out, however, that the studies in their meta-analysis were small and may not represent the general population.

Meanwhile, a review of 16 clinical trials published in 2017 found that ginger’s phytochemical properties may help to reduce inflammation. Further research into the most effective dosages and types of ginger extract is also needed, according to these authors.

Cardiovascular health support

Ginger extract has been shown to aid in the treatment of cardiovascular disease.

According to one study, a dose of 5 g or more can result in significant, beneficial antiplatelet activity.

Many of the studies included in their analysis did not use human participants, or the numbers of participants were insufficient to ensure reliable results.

They do, however, believe that with more research, ginger could be found to be a safe treatment for cardiovascular disease.

Meanwhile, a small study discovered that ginger extract reduced the incidence of heart abnormalities in diabetic rats. The antioxidant properties of the extract may have contributed to this reduction, according to the authors.

Reducing the risk of cancer

Ginger does not contain any protein or other nutrients, but it is high in antioxidants. As a result, studies have shown that ginger can reduce various types of oxidative stress.

When the body accumulates too many free radicals, oxidative stress occurs. Toxic substances produced by metabolism and other factors are known as free radicals.

Free radicals must be eliminated from the body to prevent cellular damage that can lead to a variety of diseases, including cancer. Antioxidants in the diet aid the body’s elimination of free radicals.

In a 2013 study, 20 people were given either 2 g of ginger or a placebo for 28 days. All of the participants had a high risk of colorectal cancer.

Biopsies revealed that those who consumed the ginger had less negative changes in healthy colon tissue. Cellular proliferation was also reduced in this group. According to the findings, ginger may help to prevent colorectal cancer.

What are some other foods that are high in antioxidants? Find out here.

Nutrition

Although ginger is high in antioxidants, it is low in vitamins, minerals, and calories.

2 teaspoons of ginger contain only 4 calories, according to the US Department of Agriculture. There is no significant amount of any nutrient in this amount.

Risks

Ginger is considered safe to include in one’s diet by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but it is not guaranteed or regulated for use as a medicine or supplement.

Many of the compounds found in ginger have not been studied by scientists. Furthermore, scientific evidence contradicts some claims about ginger’s healing properties.

Consult your doctor before adding more ginger to your diet or taking a ginger supplement. A supplement may interact with prescription medications or cause other health problems.

Conclusion

According to some studies, ginger can help with digestion, inflammation, and pain relief, among other benefits.

However, studies frequently use high doses of extracts; a person’s health may not benefit from simply adding ginger to their diet.

Furthermore, studies on the health benefits of ginger have frequently been small or inconclusive. More research is needed to fully comprehend the effects and safety of ginger supplements.

Sources

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