The health benefits of ginger have been known for centuries from easing morning sickness to reducing the risk of diabetes.
A potent herb and healer
Aromatic, pungent and spicy, ginger adds a special flavour and zest to Asian stir fries and many fruit and vegetable dishes. Fresh ginger root is available year round in the produce section of your local market.
It has been used widely in cooking for centuries but the vast array of its health benefits have only become apparent more recently. Here a just a few of the many ways it can help your health –
It can reduce your risk of diabetes.
Scientists have linked some active compounds in ginger with improvements in insulin and metabolism. That said, if you’re at risk of diabetes, adding extra gingerbread cookies won’t do you any favours! Keep both dried and fresh ginger ginger on-hand for flavouring smoothies and veggie-based stir-frys and soups. While some chemical compounds in ginger may decrease over time, the drying process enhances other beneficial ones.
It’s a natural way to relieve period pain.
Out of all of the research done on ginger’s pain-relieving properties, results show it helps with menstrual pain the most. Sipping ginger tea can also soothe nausea during that time of the month. However, if you usually take ibuprofen, it may not work as well. Check with your doctor before trying any supplement in extract or pill form, since it may interact with other medications you’re taking.
It’s an anti-inflammatory.
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 from starting by reducing cell-signaling activity. With that in mind, adding ginger to already good-for-you, nutrient-dense meals is the key to unlocking those properties.
It can settle an upset stomach.
The idea that ginger can help with tummy trouble isn’t new. In fact, research has linked multiple digestive benefits to ginger, specifically acting on parts of your GI tract responsible for feelings of nausea, stomach upset and vomiting. It may also help move food from the stomach to the small intestine for digestion and absorption. That said, ginger cannot prevent food poisoning or counteract ingestion of a harmful substance, so contact your doctor ASAP if something requires urgent medical attention.
It can also curb morning sickness
Speaking of an upset stomach, pregnant women in particular should take note: Ginger may help reduce symptoms of morning sickness. In fact, research supports the safety and efficacy of ginger during pregnancy, with some improvement in symptoms when compared to a placebo.
Regular consumption of ginger, especially in juice form has been associated with an improvement in asthma and eczema symptoms. An easy way to take ginger daily is in the form of a ginger shot. These can now be bought in supermarkets such as Waitrose but are easily made at home if you have a juicer. You can also freeze batches and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Ginger Shot recipe (makes 1 -2 shots)
To get your daily dose of the health benefits of ginger try this simple ginger shot:
- 1 apple
- 1 piece of ginger the size of the end of your thumb
Juice the ingredients together and serve in a shot glass. You can also stir in a little honey if you have a sore throat and replace the apple with pineapple if you have a cough.