Ginger is one of the all-time great superfoods, and if you haven’t yet found a way to incorporate it into your daily diet, you should!
For centuries, ginger has been used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat everything from nausea and indigestion to colds, constipation, and diarrhea.
And these days, there is a lot of research pointing to the wisdom of early ginger-adopters.
But, before we get to the research, allow me to share a bit about my own relationship with ginger.
The truth is that until a few years ago, I didn’t know much about ginger. Then I signed up for a nutritional cleanse that called for LOTS of ginger (even for breakfast) and I began learning first hand about its many health benefits.
After a few days of following the program, I started to feel great. My energy levels were up, my bowel movements were regular, my skin was clear, my eczema was gone and I even cleaned the basement! (disclaimer: I can’t guarantee that you’ll want to clean the basement or even that you have a basement, but the point is I felt so great I was even doing things I normally avoid!)
But, you don’t have to just take my word for this. You can read about Amanda McCoy’s weeklong journey with ginger on PopSugar.
Or if you prefer more medically tuned reading, here is an excerpt from an article written by Jonathan Galland for MBG listing some of the research-backed revelations about the powerful benefits of ginger:
1. It's anti-inflammatory.
Ginger contains dozens of the most potent natural inflammation-fighting substances, like gingerols. The ability for food to reduce inflammation is important, as inflammation contributes to many chronic conditions including obesity, diabetes, pain, and heart disease.
2. It's anti-aging.
Ginger also has powerful antioxidant effects. It raises levels of the master antioxidant glutathione in the body. And by fighting oxidative stress, ginger helps control the process of aging.
3. It reduces pain from exercise.
One study found that eating ginger before cycling reduced quadriceps muscle pain, likely thanks to its anti-inflammatory effects.
4. It assists with weight loss.
Research shows that ginger tea helps prevent metabolic disorders and reduces the feeling of hunger, meaning it plays a role in weight management.
5. It helps treat anemia.
Ginger and its bioactive components, such as gingerols and shogaols, stimulate the production of blood cells in the body and can improve anemia symptoms.
6. It can help manage diabetes.
One study showed that ginger can improve fasting blood sugar in type 2 diabetes patients. And scientists have discovered that combining honey and ginger reduces oxidative stress as well as the complications of diabetes.
This is especially important, given that the number of people with diabetes across the world is predicted to increase from 171 million in 2000 to 552 million by 2030.
7. It helps prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
Since ancient times, natural compounds of ginger have been appreciated for their use in preventing various age-related ailments, including brain aging and neuro-degeneration. Recent studies have emphasized ginger’s benefits in treating Alzheimer’s disease.
8. It can ease symptoms of osteoarthritis.
In traditional Indonesian medicine, red ginger has been prescribed to relieve arthritis pain.
Now, an unprecedented study has found that topical ginger treatment using either a traditional manually prepared ginger compress or a standardized ginger patch could relieve symptoms for people with chronic osteoarthritis.
9. It can prevent liver disease.
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a common liver disease that's quickly turning into an epidemic. Insulin resistance is a major feature in patients with NAFLD.
But research has shown that gingerols, the active component of ginger, could help improve insulin resistance, serving as a natural way to prevent NAFLD.
Illustrations by Sami Gaston