(Natural News) Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a popular ingredient that’s used for savory dishes or desserts like gingerbread cookies. It’s also widely used in medicine for its abundance of health benefits. Here are seven more reasons to add ginger to your daily diet.
Ginger root: One-stop shop for your nutrition needs
A cup of freshly chopped ginger root contains about 80 calories, less than 18 g of carbohydrates, and at least 2 g of fiber and protein. This superfood also offers vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, folate, iron, magnesium, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, riboflavin, and zinc.
Below are more incredible benefits that ginger can offer.
It eases menstrual cramps
According to an Iranian study that was published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, ginger was as effective as ibuprofen for relieving the painful symptoms of menstruation. In the study, participants were given a 250 mg ginger powder capsule four times a day for three days immediately after they started their periods.
To relieve period cramps, steep two tablespoons of fresh ginger root in hot water. Strain the mixture, then add honey or lemon for a boost in taste and benefits.
It relieves bloating, constipation, gas
Ginger helps address other digestive issues since it contains zingibain, a digestive enzyme that helps the body break down protein. Zingibain helps food pass through your system more easily, which minimizes bloating, constipation, or gas.
It prevents infections
Drinking fresh ginger juice or a ginger smoothie can fight an incoming cold. The spice contains gingerol, an antioxidant that fights off viruses.
Data from a laboratory study in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology revealed that fresh ginger can fight the human respiratory syncytial virus (HRSV), a common cause of respiratory infections. The researchers noted that fresh ginger was more effective than dried ginger.
It protects against colon cancer
A study published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research, suggested that ginger supplements can prevent colorectal cancer. The participants took a large dose of ginger – eight 250 mg capsules per day.
The researchers noted that the supplements are especially effective for those with an increased risk because of ginger’s anti-inflammatory effects on the gut.
It minimizes inflammation
Gingerol in ginger can reduce inflammation. Studies suggest that ginger supplements and topical ginger ointment can ease pain and stiffness in individuals with osteoarthritis.
Before you use ointments or supplements, consult your healthcare provider to determine a treatment plan that suits your inflammatory condition.
You don’t need to ingest ginger to enjoy its muscle-soothing benefits. Ginger’s warming essential oil helps boost circulation and blood flow, which makes it a natural remedy for tired muscles. For natural muscle pain relief, grate four tablespoons of fresh ginger, then seal it in a cotton bag. Place the bag under running bath water, then soak until you feel better. (Related: Here’s what research shows about the mental health benefits of ginger.)
It relieves nausea
Studies determined that ginger can address nausea caused by pregnancy, travel, and chemotherapy.
In a study published in the Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand, researchers discovered that ginger was just as effective as dimenhydrinate (the active ingredient in over-the-counter motion-sickness medications) at preventing and relieving nausea in pregnant participants.
Keep in mind that ginger contains many bioactive compounds. If you have medical conditions or are pregnant, consult a healthcare professional before taking ginger.
It promotes weight loss
Generally, herbs and spices promote weight loss since these ingredients can make you feel more satisfied after consuming lower-calorie foods.
In a small study published in the journal Metabolism, researchers reported that male participants who consumed a hot ginger beverage (made with ginger powder and hot water) after eating felt full for a longer period. The researchers explained that the ginger beverage enhanced thermogenesis and reduced feelings of hunger, implying that ginger can be used for natural methods of weight management.
You can purchase ginger in the following forms: fresh, dried, powdered or peeled. The spice is also available as chips, juice, or an oil.
Fight inflammation and boost your digestive health by cooking with fresh ginger or drinking ginger tea.