Did you know that back in the 14th century, a pound of ginger is equal to that of a whole live sheep? That’s how valuable ginger was back in the days. This spice was not readily available and had to be imported from South Asia, where it originated. Later on, other countries started to plant the ginger that they have imported in their own countries and started to grow their own. Because of trade, ginger started to spread in Africa, the Carribean, and many other countries. Nowadays, this superfood can be easily bought in markets and grocery stores anywhere in the world.
When we think of ginger, we hardly think of the plant itself. Instead, we think of the rhizome or ginger root, which has a fibrous and juicy core. It has a flavorful spicy and peppery taste that is why it is widely used in culinary. However, the ginger root is not only widely used as a spice but also as a folk medicine. It is one of those foods that is truly worthy of the term “superfood” because of its many medicinal properties and health benefits.
The ginger root, which is simply called ginger by almost everyone, is packed with a lot of nutrients that are very beneficial to your body. It has gingerols, compounds that have strong medicinal properties, such as anti-inflammatory, antioxidants, anti-pain, and anti-cancer.
Amazing Ginger Root Benefits
Here are the top health benefits that you can get when you incorporate ginger root in your diet.
1. Treats nausea and vomiting
Ginger may be extremely effective against nausea and vomiting. especially in these situations below:
- Morning sickness: A study in 2014 shows that ginger is effective against nausea experienced by pregnant women. Participants (1, 278 pregnant women) who took 1.1 – 1.5 grams of ginger experienced relief from nausea. Their unborn babies also did not experience any side effects. Ginger may just be the best natural remedy for women who suffer from nausea during pregnancy.
- Motion sickness or seasickness: Ginger has long been used as a remedy for seasickness or motion sickness to reduce feelings of nausea. It may just be as effective as prescription drugs.
- Surgery: Clinical research shows that nausea and vomiting can be reduced in the first 24 hours after surgery if you take 1 to 1.5 gram of ginger at least an hour before the surgery. Ginger has been found to reduce nausea and vomiting by 38%. Moreover, applying 5% of ginger oil on the wrists of patients before they undergo surgery has been found to prevent nausea in 80% of patients. Taking ginger by mouth, however, may not reduce nausea and vomiting within 3 to 6 hours after the surgery is done.
- Cancer treatment: Drinking ginger tea or chewing on raw ginger may help cancer patients who experience nausea during chemotherapy.
- HIV/AIDS treatment: Research shows that taking ginger 30 minutes before each dose of antiretroviral treatment in the period of 14 days can reduce the chance of nausea and vomiting in patients who are receiving HIV/AIDS treatment.
- Hangover: People suffering from hangover who sipped ginger ale have reported positive effects.
2. Reduces Inflammation
Inflammation is a natural and healthy response of the body to protect you from illnesses or injuries. Inflammation signals your white blood cells that it’s time to start healing. However, chronic inflammation can be very harmful. As a matter of fact, this is the main reason for a lot of common diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and autoimmune disorders.
Ginger contains gingerol, a natural anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant compound, that inhibits the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Cytokines are a group of proteins that promote inflammation. A high amount of cytokines in the body causes arthritis, asthma, and atherosclerosis. Ginger has shown to effectively decrease their levels, resulting to reduced inflammation in the body.
If you are someone who suffers from an inflammatory condition, adding ginger to your diet will definitely be a great natural remedy.
3. Supports stomach and digestion
One study in the European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology found that ginger supports good digestion by stimulating gastric enzymes, saliva, and bile to speed up the movement of food from the stomach to the small intestine. It also helps to prevent and eliminate gas in the stomach and relaxes the smooth muscle of the intestines.
Ginger reduces bloating and cramps. Incorporating ginger in your food can also awaken your taste buds and get your digestive juices flowing.
Ginger can also alleviate acidity and protect the gastric lining against it. According to experts, ginger may lessen the possibility of stomach acid flowing into the esophagus. Additionally, drinking ginger tea can also relieve gastrointestinal irritation.
Since ginger stimulates digestive juices (like bile and saliva) that aid in digestion of food, nutrients can be better absorbed and assimilated. One cause of bloating is indigestion, and undigested food actually produces toxins which can cause serious health issues.
Drinking ginger juice or ginger tea can definitely aid digestion, prevent bloating, reduce acidity, and heal the digestive tract.
4. Helps with painful menstrual periods
Studies have shown that ginger is helpful against painful menstrual periods or dysmenorrhea. In a study with women age 18 and above, it was found that ginger ibuprofen is just as effective as mefenamic acid in relieving pain caused by dysmenorrhea. In the study, the participants took 250 mg of ginger rhizome powder four times a day for three days since the beginning of their menstrual period.
However, a study done with female university students suggests that taking 500 mg of ginger three times a day two days before the menstrual period is more effective than taking ginger when the menstrual period has already begun. Participants in this study took ginger two days before their period and continued taking it for the next three days. The study suggests that doing this may help alleviate the pain of dysmenorrhea even more.