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8 Fantastic Health Benefits of Ginger (Infographic) 17 December, 2018   

Everyone knows what ginger is: that strange, knobbly-looking brown thing that ends up at the bottom of many a shopping cart. Don’t go by looks, though: ginger is a powerhouse of nutrition that surpasses many marvels of modern medicine, in terms of its efficacy in treating maladies, and its remarkable lack of side effects.


 Ginger is a root that has its roots (see what I did there?) in South East Asia and has been used for more than 5000 years. Ever since the dawn of the 13th century, it has been popularly traded between Asia and Europe. It was expensive and often traded in its dry, preserved form to prevent spoilage (it was traded over long distances). This is evidence that it was valued by cultures far and wide. While ginger was well-known for its culinary uses, it's been celebrated for its health benefits (used in raw and powdered form) as well.

Check out these 8 fantastic health benefits of ginger:

1. Fights against infection:

We are always looking for better ways to treat bacterial and viral infections. With the increasing number of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and constantly-mutating viruses, we need more natural ways to strengthen our immune systems.

Enter ginger, not a panacea for all ailments, but pretty useful all the same.

As published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine (2012), researchers found that ginger (in combination with garlic) can help fight bacteria such as multi-drug resistant clinical pathogens. This is great news as MRSA is an increasing threat to patients admitted to hospitals everywhere.

 With regards to immunity, ginger has anti-microbial properties:

It acts on bacteria such as E coli, Proteus, Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, and simultaneously promotes the growth of gut-friendly microflora, such as Lactobacillus.

It is antiviral, antifungal, and is instrumental in fighting parasitic infections such as Anisakis and Schistosoma.

Compounds in ginger such as Gingerol, Shogaol, and Gingerone have shown to be extremely effective in fighting baddies like Salmonella typhi, Trichophyton violaceum, Vibrio cholerae, Trichonomonads vaginalis and Candida albicans

 2. Reduces joint and muscle pain:

Since ginger warms the body, it can help distribute internal heat to aching joints and muscles. It has blood-thinning properties and helps improve blood circulation. This is similar to the effect a hot water bottle has on an aching back, only it works from the inside.

2. Helps clear throat and respiratory issues:

Ginger helps to reduce congestion (in bronchitis). A tea made of ginger and honey in hot water has been found to be more effective than pharmaceutical cough syrup. It helps provide relief from colds and coughs. Try it the next time you have one!

 3. Helps to mitigate digestive problems:

When it comes to problems with digestion, Murphy’s law usually applies: whatever can go wrong, will go wrong.

From heartburn (which is nowhere nearly as tragically romantic as it sounds) to indigestion (and the source of those mysteriously haunting sounds coming from your nether regions), to acid reflux…. ginger will rush to the rescue!

Ginger helps the body to empty food from the stomach faster. Approximately 60% of the body’s energy goes to metabolism. As ginger helps this process along, you will have more energy left for other things, instead of being curled up in a fetal position in a corner.

4. Ginger promotes the growth of good bacteria:

Ginger is an effective anti-emetic and helps to reduce feelings of nausea and vomiting, which often accompany digestive distress.

 5. Helps to maintain brain health:

All conditions that affect the brain find their roots in brain inflammation and oxidative stress. The phenols and volatile compounds in ginger have been proven to handle inflammation, and therefore maintain brain health.

 6. Lowers cholesterol levels:

In a study published in the Saudi Medical Journal (2008), it was seen that ginger had a significant lipid-lowering effect compared to a placebo. While not all fats are bad, low-density lipoproteins (LDL), or ‘bad cholesterol’ are a concern to doctors and patients alike, as they clog up arteries, and make it difficult for the heart to work. What a relief then, that ginger, as a supplement, can help lower LDL levels, naturally!

 7. Has anti-inflammatory properties:

When does inflammation occur? When the body is trying to fight off diseases and injuries, it sends chemicals, antibodies, and white blood cells. This immune response means that the body is fighting back. Pain, redness, swelling, nerve problems follow. Inflammation can also show up as flu symptoms, impaired limb and joint function, headaches, loss of appetite, etc.  How can ginger help? It’s a natural pain reliever that has powerful phenols and volatile compounds. Studies done by the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) found favorable results in favor of taking ginger for pain twice a day.

 8. Helps to fight Diabetes:

There isn’t a Diabetic out there who isn’t looking for a way to manage erratic blood sugar levels naturally. It’s a daily struggle of managing food and medicine levels. Ginger can help with that. Studies have shown that taking regular supplements of ginger in any form, alongside sensible meal choices and adjustment of medicines can help to reduce blood sugar levels both, in the long and short term. 

 How to include ginger in your diet:

  • You can make a tea or lemonade by adding grated ginger to water, lemon, honey/cane juice and other ingredients of your choice.
  • You can add ginger as a relish.
  • You can add ginger as an ingredient in various cooked dishes, as part of a gravy, marinade, salad dressing, or even dessert.

A word to the wise

While ginger has near-miraculous properties and a variety of uses, it’s a good idea to proceed with caution when including it in your diet.

  • First of all, don’t go off the deep end and start munching all the raw ginger you can eat. It’s strong stuff! Start with a reasonable amount like a teaspoon of ginger juice in a warm glass of water. If you experience allergic reactions such as rashes, itching, chest tightness, breathing difficulties, etc. stop immediately.
  • Second of all, ginger can interact with some prescription drugs, especially in the case of Diabetes (Hypoglycemia) and blood pressure problems (impaired medicine efficacy). When in doubt, consult your physician!
  • Thirdly, be careful about consuming ginger if you have a blood clotting disorder, low platelet count, or are already on blood thinners. Ginger could aggravate your condition, and make wounds and bruises slow to heal.

 Everything considered, introducing ginger into your routine is a step towards a healthier you. Now that you’ve seen the eight fantastic health benefits of ginger, give it a try!


Sources:

  1. http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=72

  2. Dr. S. C Pakrashi, Dr, Anita Pakrashi (2003). GINGER A VERSATILE HEALING HERB, India: Vedams eBooks (P) Ltd. Retrieved from https://books.google.co.in

  3. https://chopra.com/articles/8-incredible-health-benefits-of-ginger

  4. http://www.vegetablefacts.net/vegetable-history/ginger-history/

  5. https://coach.nine.com.au/2018/07/27/17/42/the-top-10-surprising-health-benefits-of-ginger

  6. http://www.indepthinfo.com/ginger/health-benefits.shtml

  7. https://livewell.jillianmichaels.com/ginger-root-inflammation-5589.html

  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18813412

  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3609356/#

  10. https://draxe.com/10-medicinal-ginger-health-benefits/

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