The Nutritional Value of Ginger
Ginger root is most commonly used as a spice, and like many spices, it has a good nutritional profile. It’s low in calories, with only five calories per every six grams, and it’s low in fat, sugar, and sodium, ensuring that it can be part of a healthy diet for people who are trying to lose weight or who have diabetes, hypertension, or heart disease.
Ginger is also loaded with vitamins and minerals. Ginger contains vitamin C, potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, zinc, iron, several B vitamins, and many others, which makes it a healthy part of a nutritious diet. However, it’s the healing properties of ginger which make it a particularly beneficial supplement or superfood.
- Ginger has been shown to help reduce blood sugar levels.
- It may also help regulate insulin response in people with diabetes.
- You shouldn’t consume more than 4 grams of ginger per day.
1. Improve Digestion
One of the most common ginger uses and benefits is for improving digestion and helping manage digestive disorders. Ginger contains phenolic compounds that can help stimulate bile production and move food through the digestive tract. Ginger can also help treat gastrointestinal irritation, making it potentially helpful for digestive disorders such as acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome, and other similar conditions.
2. Reduce Nausea
Ginger can be incredibly effective when used to treat nausea, having been found to reduce symptoms in pregnant women with morning sickness. Studies have found that ginger can help ease nausea, or even eliminate symptoms entirely. Chewing raw ginger is particularly effective against nausea. If you don’t like the taste of raw ginger, you can purchase ginger lozenges. When it comes to nausea, ginger tea also has health benefits.
3. Fight Inflammation
Ginger can be used for its anti-inflammatory properties. In fact, research has found that eating ginger for as little as one month can reduce certain inflammatory markers in the body. Ginger is often used to help treat arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. It also contains antioxidants and compounds that can be effective for fighting chronic inflammation.
4. Reduce Pain
Ginger can also ease pain. One study found that consuming ginger daily was an effective treatment for reducing muscle pain. The results indicated that while ginger doesn’t immediately alleviate pain, it can be effective as a long-term treatment. It’s particularly helpful for people who experience muscle pain after exercise.
5. Reduce Heart Disease Risk
Studies are now finding that ginger may be effective for lowering heart disease risk and may help people with diabetes. Ginger can also lower blood sugar levels.
6. Lower Cholesterol
Several studies have found that eating ginger can significantly reduce cholesterol levels, and can even be as effective as some cholesterol-lowering drugs. High cholesterol is linked to an increased risk of heart disease.
7. Combat Brain Disease
One of the most surprising benefits of ginger may be its effects on the brain. Ginger may be effective for combating age-related cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia. One study found that when middle-aged women ate ginger, their memory improved.
8. Fight Infections
Ginger can also eliminate infections by preventing the growth of bacteria in your body. Bacteria can be the culprit behind many health conditions, including gum disease, digestive disorders, and respiratory infections. Some studies have found that ginger can inhibit certain types of bacteria and is particularly effective against gum disease.
9. Improve Detoxing
Ginger use can promote perspiration. While this may seem unwanted, sweating is actually one of the major ways that the body rids itself of harmful microbes and germs.
How to add ginger to your diet
Though more research is needed, preliminary studies have suggested that ginger can help lower cholesterol and improve cardiovascular health. Ginger is also an efficient aid in preventing and reducing nausea. Most people can safely include it in their diets.
Keep these things in mind when adding ginger to your diet:
- Choose natural, organic ginger root over processed ginger products. Ginger-flavored products, such as salad dressing, drinks, or sweets, generally lack nutritional value.
- Try to be consistent with daily consumption. Regular consumption over a period of at least six weeks has shown positive results in diabetes management.
- Avoid overconsumption. The best results occur by taking a certain dose over a long period rather than taking high amounts over a short period.