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8 Surprising Health Benefits of Ginger You Need to Know About

8 Surprising Health Benefits of Ginger You Need to Know About

People have dug up Zingiber officinale, a.k.a. ginger, for its health benefits and unique flavor since the beginning of time. But, just because it's been around awhile doesn't mean it's a cure-all for your health. Here, we clarify the myths and facts on this popular spice that's best known for bringing the heat.

 

Fact: It can reduce your risk of diabetes.

Scientists have linked some active compounds in ginger with improvements in insulin and metabolism function. That said, if you're at risk for diabetes, adding extra sugary gingerbread cookies to your diet won't do you any favors! Keep both dried and fresh ginger on-hand for flavoring smoothies and veggie-based stir-fry dishes and soups to get the benefits of the natural vitamins and compounds. While some chemical compounds in ginger may decrease over the shelf life of the root, the drying process enhances other beneficial compounds. 

 

Fact: Ginger is a natural way to relieve period pain.

Out of all of the research done on ginger's pain-relieving properties, results show that it helps with menstrual pain the most. Sipping ginger tea can also soothe nausea and provide other natural benefits while you’re menstruating. However, if you usually take acetaminophen or ibuprofen, ginger may not work as well. Check with your doctor before trying any supplement or natural vitamin in extract or pill form, since it may interact with other medications you're taking.

 

Fact: It's a natural anti-inflammatory supplement.

Like other produce, nuts, seeds, beans, and whole grains, ginger contains antioxidant-like compounds called phytonutrients that may reduce cell damage. The root can also prevent inflammation before it even begins by reducing cell-signaling activity. Adding ginger to already good-for-you, nutrient-dense meals is the key to unlocking those properties and benefiting most from the natural vitamins in the root.

Fact: Ginger can settle an upset stomach.

The knowledge that ginger can help with tummy trouble isn't new. In fact, research has linked multiple digestive benefits to ginger, specifically in how the root acts on the parts of your GI tract that are responsible for nausea, upset stomach, and vomiting. Ginger as a supplement to your diet may also help move food from the stomach to the intestine for digestion and absorption. However, ginger cannot prevent food poisoning or counteract the effects of ingesting a harmful substance, so contact your physician as soon as possible if you require urgent medical attention.

 

Fact: Ginger can also help with morning sickness.

Speaking of an upset stomach, pregnant women in particular should take note that ginger may help reduce symptoms of morning sickness! In fact, some research supports the safety and efficacy of ginger during pregnancy, with the natural supplement providing some improvement in symptoms when compared to a placebo.

Fragrant fresh chopped ginger slices on the table

Fact: It may help prevent heart disease.

The same anti-inflammatory compounds in ginger can also reduce the risk of chronic heart disease. A 2016 review linked regular ginger intake as a dietary supplement to lower cholesterol and blood sugar when compared to a placebo. But just like with diabetes, eating ginger won’t offset an otherwise poor diet that is high in saturated fat and added sugar. To Get the most benefits from the root, you’ll want to make sure you get all your vitamins and consume more veggies, 100% whole grains, lean proteins, fish, legumes, and beans.

Fact: Ginger may lower your risk of cancer.

The cell-protecting properties of ginger can lower the long-term risk of certain cancers. That's because the spice and the vitamins and nutrients within it may reduce cellular activity that cause DNA changes, cell death, and proliferation of cancer cells. Consuming ginger can also help sensitize tumors to treatments like chemo and radiation. While ginger is not a cure-all supplement for any chronic disease, using it regularly with other spices and plant-based foods can help benefit your overall health.

Fact: Ginger can help you lose weight.

Some small studies have linked ginger intake, when combined with other plant extracts, to some benefits in weight loss. There is also some promising animal research linking ginger to weight management. But as with anything else, ginger is no magic weight-loss supplement pill! Other components of a healthy, balanced diet matter just as much and more when it comes to losing weight and keeping it off.

The Bottom Line

Ginger can be a delicious way to flavor and naturally supplement any anti-inflammatory diet plan with multivitamins. Plus, swapping the spice for added salt, sugar, or saturated fat may help you lose any unwanted pounds! Use ginger for seasoning veggie-heavy meals and snacks, as well as for the great health benefits and vitamins.