Ginger: Health benefits, nutrients and uses

Medically Reviewed by Checkmark Medically Reviewed By: Sheela Krishnaswamy
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Last Updated on May 5, 2023 by Shabnam Sengupta

Ginger is more than just a flavour. Ginger is derived from a flowering root plant and was discovered in Southeast Asia and has been utilised in Eastern medicine practises since the 9th century. Surprisingly, demand for ginger has increased in North America in recent years, not just for usage as an ingredient, but also for its health benefits. Ginger is commonly used in Chinese, Ayurvedic, and Unani medicines. People widely use it for cooking, but can also be consumed raw, dried, powdered, or as a juice or oil. In addition to its unique flavour and aroma, ginger is packed with nutrients and compounds that offer a range of health benefits.

Health benefits of ginger

May reduce pain

Ginger relieves muscle soreness. According to a 2010 study, consuming raw or heated ginger may reduce the pain after an injury considerably. Ginger contains salicylates, which your body converts into the salicylic acid. Salicylic acid inhibits the production of specific prostaglandins which help reduce pain and suffering.

May improve digestion

Someone suffering from digestive difficulties such as indigestion, ulcers, constipation, or IBS may find relief by using ginger in their diet. According to studies, consuming ginger supplement (1200 mg) after a meal increases digestion and gastric emptying process.

Another study where experts have discovered that metabolic processes consume around 60% of your body’s energy, so more efficient digestion means more energy. With ginger, your digestion will improve, giving you more energy. The faster you digest your meal, the faster you absorb the vitamins and minerals from it. In addition to helping dyspepsia symptoms and speeding up stomach emptying, ginger can also boost your energy levels.

Contains antioxidant

Antioxidants scavenge free radicals produced in the body and an increase in free radicals can damage DNA permanently. Ginger has 6-Shogaol, which is a potent antioxidant. It neutralises the markers of oxidative stress caused by high fat diet, smoking, polluted air, industrial pollution and ageing.

Supports immune system

Ginger is commonly used to treat colds and flu. Ginger helps promote immunological function due to its powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. One test-tube study discovered that fresh ginger showed antiviral effects against the human respiratory syncytial virus (HRSV), which causes respiratory infections, and helped increase immune response against HRSV.

Has cardiovascular properties

A large number of studies have shown that the major elements of ginger, including the gingerol and shogaol classes of chemicals, may have a variety of therapeutic effects, including anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and hypocholesterolemic properties. Ginger stimulates heart muscle and dilutes blood circulation.

Good source of minerals

Ginger is also a good source of potassium, magnesium, and manganese, which are important minerals for overall health. Potassium is important for the proper functioning of the heart and muscles, while magnesium helps in over 300 different reactions in the body, including energy production and muscle and nerve function. Manganese can also help in the production of enzymes that are important for the metabolism of carbohydrates, amino acids, and cholesterol.

Helps lose weight

Obesity means excessive fat storage in the body as well as an imbalance between energy intake and expenditure. Ginger is a rich source of gingerols, shogaols, and zingerones. Due to its hypophagic properties (reduces food intake), it also has an anti-obesity effect decreasing intestinal absorption of dietary fat and protects against cardiovascular disease.

Animal studies provide more evidence in favour of ginger’s significance in obesity prevention. Body weight was regularly reduced in mice who were administered ginger water or ginger extract, even when they were simultaneously fed high fat diets.

Ginger’s capacity to promote weight loss may be linked to specific mechanisms, such as its ability to boost calorie burn or lower inflammation.

Cholesterol lowering properties

In addition to its nutrient content, researchers believe that ginger has cholesterol-lowering properties. High levels of cholesterol in the blood can contribute to the development of heart disease. Therefore, eating foods that can help to lower cholesterol is important for overall health. There are several studies which show that consuming ginger regularly can help lower the total cholesterol and LDL (bad cholesterol) cholesterol levels, which can help to improve heart health.

Anti-cancer properties

Ginger may inhibit the growth of many different forms of cancer. Ginger’s chemo preventive benefits are involved through free radical scavenging, antioxidant pathways, changes in gene expression, and promotion of apoptosis (cancer cell death), which results in a reduction in tumour size, development, and progression.

According to research, ginger may have anticancer properties against colorectal cancer. Many in vitro studies show that ginger and its active components may suppress colorectal cancer cell growth and proliferation.

May improve brain functions

Chronic inflammation and oxidative stress can accelerate the ageing process. They are thought to be one of the primary causes of Alzheimer’s disease and age-related cognitive decline. Several studies suggest that the antioxidants and bioactive components in ginger can reduce inflammation in the brain. There is also some evidence that ginger can directly improve brain function. Ginger extract was proven to increase response time in a study of 60 middle-aged women.

May treat nausea and vomiting

Ginger can also be effective in treating nausea. It has a long history of use as a sea sickness treatment. Ginger may also help with nausea and vomiting after surgery, as well as in cancer patients receiving chemotherapy. It may also be beneficial for pregnancy-related nausea, such as morning sickness. According to a study involving 1,278 pregnant women, 1.1-1.5 grams of ginger can dramatically lessen nausea symptoms.

Conclusion 

Ginger is a simple, tasty, and natural way to improve good health. In addition to providing numerous health benefits, it is simple and easy to cook.

If you’re feeling under the weather or just want something warm to sip, a cup of ginger tea allows you to sit back, breathe in, sip slowly, and enjoy.

FAQ on Ginger

Should I eat ginger if I have a heart condition?

Yes. Ginger's crude extract along with its pungent active components, may help in maintaining cardiovascular health. Ginger's cardioprotective effects are due to its cardiotonic, anti-hypertensive, anti-hyperlipidemia, and antiplatelet properties.

Should I eat ginger if I have a kidney problem?

Yes. Ginger can help boost the kidney functions. Gingers increase the flow of oxygenated blood to the kidneys. People who suffer from urinary infection can find a lot of relief if they consume ginger on a daily basis.

Should I eat ginger if I have a liver problem?

Yes. Ginger roots contain potent compounds like gingerols and shogaols, which regulate inflammation and protect against cellular damage, supporting liver functions. Ginger helps protect your liver from poisons such as alcohol.

Should I eat ginger if I have diabetes?

Yes. According to research, consuming 1,600-3000 mg of ginger powder daily for 8-12 weeks may lower fasting blood sugar and hba1c levels in diabetes patients.

Should I eat ginger if I have high cholesterol?

Yes. Ginger is a superfood that can help lower 'bad' cholesterol while increasing 'good' cholesterol. According to research, it activates an enzyme that boosts the body's need for cholesterol while decreasing it.

Should I eat ginger if my bones are weak?

Yes. Consumption of ginger can help promote better bone health, which can reduce osteoporosis risks. Furthermore, they contain significant amounts of iron and calcium, which support bone health and strength.

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

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Last Updated on May 5, 2023 by Shabnam Sengupta

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

Last Updated on May 5, 2023 by Shabnam Sengupta

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

Last Updated on May 5, 2023 by Shabnam Sengupta

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

Last Updated on May 5, 2023 by Shabnam Sengupta

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

Last Updated on May 5, 2023 by Shabnam Sengupta

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

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Last Updated on May 5, 2023 by Shabnam Sengupta

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

Last Updated on May 5, 2023 by Shabnam Sengupta

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

Last Updated on May 5, 2023 by Shabnam Sengupta

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

Last Updated on May 5, 2023 by Shabnam Sengupta

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

Last Updated on May 5, 2023 by Shabnam Sengupta

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

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Garima Dev Verman
Garima Dev Verman
A qualified and experienced dietitian, Garima is analyses and fact checks content around diet and nutrition.
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