Ginger is one of the tastiest spices around – and it can provide numerous health benefits to your mind and body.
It originated in Southeast Asia, and it belongs to the Zingiberaceae family of spices. Its close relatives are turmeric and cardamom.
The underpart of the stem is commonly used as a spice and seasoning and is widely referred to as “root ginger”.
Ginger is an incredibly versatile spice and can be used in so many different forms – fresh, powdered, dried, or as a juice. This is what makes it such a common ingredient in everyday recipes.
This guide will discuss 9 health benefits of ginger based on scientific research.
1. Ginger may help with weight loss goals
Studies show that ginger can help aid weight loss based on studies conducted on humans and animals (1).
Ginger supplements can reduce body weight, minimise waist-hip ratio, and help to reduce hip ratio in overweight and obese people (2).
A study in 2016 tested 80 women with obesity and found the ginger helped reduce their BMI levels and blood insulin levels. High insulin levels in the blood have been connected with obesity. The women who took part in the study added 2 grams of ginger powder to their diet for a period of 12 weeks (3).
Ginger can aid weight loss as it helps to increase the number of calories burned and reduces inflammation (4).
2. Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties
Ginger can work as an anti-inflammatory due to its antioxidant effect.
Research suggests that it can also help to reduce oxidative stress, which occurs when you have an excess number of free radicals in the body (5).
3. Ginger may help with indigestion
Chronic indigestion causes pain and discomfort in the upper stomach. This pain is caused when a delay of emptying of the stomach happens. Ginger can help speed up this process (6).
A study in 2011 tested people suffering witch indigestion with no found cause. They were either given a capsule of ginger or a placebo alternative. Later they were all given soup to digest. It took an average time of 12.3 minutes to empty the stomach of those who had the ginger supplement. For those who had the placebo, it took an average of 16.1 minutes (7).
The same test was also carried out on a group of 24 people who didn’t suffer from indigestion. This significantly speeded up the emptying of the stomach process. For those who received ginger, it took around 13.1 minutes to empty their stomachs. It took 26.7 minutes for those who received the placebo to empty their stomachs (8).
4. Ginger may help with osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is a relatively common health problem for many. This occurs when there is a degeneration of joints in the body. This could potentially lead to health issues such as aches and pain in the joints and stiffness.
Studies have found that people who used ginger to treat their osteoarthritis saw a reduction in pain (9).
Participants received around 500 milligrams to 1 milligram of ginger every day for 3 to 12 weeks.
5. Ginger may help with nausea and morning sickness
Ginger can be highly effective at minimising nausea (10).
Studies have shown that taking a daily amount of 1-1.5 grams of ginger every day can help to prevent different types of nausea, including morning sickness and even nausea after chemotherapy treatments.
6. Ginger may lower blood sugars and help improve heart disease risk factors
This is a relatively new area of research, but studies suggest that ginger may have anti-diabetic properties (11).
A study was carried out in 2015 that tested 41 participants that had type 2 diabetes. Participants were given around 2 grams of ginger powder a day, which proved to lower fasting blood sugars by around 12% (12).
Another study showed that it helped to improve haemoglobin levels. This was reduced by 10% over a period of around 12 weeks.
We should bear in mind that it was a relatively small study. More research needs to be done on a bigger scale before any further recommendations can be made.
7. Ginger may help reduce cholesterol levels
High levels of cholesterol have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease. The foods we consume can have an influence on LDL (bad cholesterol) levels.
Studies show that ginger can help reduce bad cholesterol (14).
Research conducted in 2018 with 60 participants who had high cholesterol levels showed that over half of the people who received 5 grams of ginger powder every day saw their cholesterol levels drop by around 17% over a period of 3 months (15).
What is important to note is that the participants received a very high dosage of ginger.
8. Ginger may help improve brain function
Oxidative stress and chronic inflammation have been previously linked to Alzheimer’s disease and congenital decline in the elderly.
Research suggests that that consuming ginger can help to enhance brain functionality. A study carried out in 2012, on healthy middle-aged women showed that taking ginger on a daily basis helped to improve memory and reaction times (16).
9. Ginger may help fight infections
Ginger has been proven to help lower the risk of multiple infections as it can prevent the growth of harmful bacteria (17).
Studies suggest that ginger can be effective in preventing the respiratory syndical virus, which is one of the most common causes of respiratory infections (18).
It is also effective against fighting oral bacterias that are linked to diseases such as gingivitis, which is an inflammatory gum disease (19).
How to add more ginger to your everyday diet
There are many different ways in which you can add ginger into your diet. Try adding some fresh ginger to your weekly dishes, or make a ginger tea to replace your everyday teas – the advantage of this spice is that it is so versatile and tastes great!
The Bottom Line
Ginger really is a superfood worthy of that term.
It’s full of nutrients that can have multiple health benefits on your body and brain.
Try adding fresh ginger to your recipes, or take it in a juice form – you’ll feel great for it!