by Matt Weik, BS, CSCS, CPT, CSN
Ginger and ginger roots are spicing up medicine and kitchen cabinets with their true greatness. The spice that has become so common today was a luxury back in ancient times because of its benefits. Ginger roots have been used for medicinal and culinary purposes in India and China for years.
Before we dig into the health benefits of using ginger roots, let’s first talk a bit about the deeply “rooted” history.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and is not meant to treat or diagnose any condition. It is recommended that you speak with your doctor before including ginger roots in your nutrition plan to ensure it will not interact with anything you may currently be taking or prescribed.
The History of Ginger Roots
Ginger originated in Southeast Asia and belongs to the Zingiberaceae family (the same family as turmeric, galangal, and cardamom). It is one of the most potent and healthiest spices in the world.
As per studies, ginger contains 400+ chemical compounds, but a compound called “gingerol” is responsible for the health benefits of roots (and also for the smell and flavor!).
From fighting germs and preventing infections to easing nausea and soothing sore muscles, ginger offers various health-related benefits. Let’s dive deep into them.
The Many Benefits of Ginger Roots
Below, you will find some health benefits associated with using ginger roots in your nutrition and supplement regimen.
1. The power of gingerol
From improving digestion to reducing nausea, ginger is best known for its health benefits. But ever wondered about the reason behind the powerful properties of ginger?
Well, ginger contains a bioactive compound called “gingerol,” which is responsible for the medicinal properties of ginger. It has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which in turn help to reduce oxidative stress.
And wait… there’s much more to gingerol! It’s the reason behind the amazing fragrance and flavor of ginger.
2. Improves digestion
You’ve probably experienced an upset stomach and felt like, “I’ll do or take anything to make this go away,” right?
Ginger and ginger roots can do that for you. That’s true! Ginger can be your best friend when it comes to digestive health.
Studies show that ginger roots can have a positive effect on the gasses that form during the process of digestion in the intestinal tract. Ginger contains an enzyme that helps get rid of this gas and relieves discomfort.
In addition, it also increases bowel movements, prevents constipation, and provides relief. When your digestion improves, your metabolism improves, and your energy level increases.
3. Relieves nausea
Be it morning sickness, motion sickness, pregnancy, or post-surgery effects, nausea is one of the worst experiences anyone can ever have. And if you are someone who experiences this very often, ginger roots can be a lifesaver!
Studies show that ginger is highly effective when it comes to treating nausea.
A review of around 12 studies, which included 1278 women who were pregnant, shows that 1.1-1.5 grams of ginger can help to significantly reduce the symptoms of nausea.
Though ginger and ginger root is safe to use and consume, it is better to consult a doctor if you have any medical conditions.
4. Boosts immunity
Are you suffering from a cold or flu? Have some ginger tea. How often have you heard this statement? Probably many times, right? It’s because ginger can help you fight infections and recover from a cold and flu more easily.
A study investigated the effects of both fresh and dried ginger roots on the respiratory system. And they concluded that fresh ginger roots help to protect the respiratory system.
Another study shows that the consumption of ginger on a daily basis helps to boost the immune system. Also, it protects against chronic diseases and helps speed up recovery.
5. Promotes heart health
Ginger acts as a blood thinner and helps to prevent cardiovascular diseases. In short, it reduces the risk of blood clots, which lowers the chances of heart attack or stroke.
A study shows that the consumption of ginger roots helps to protect against heart diseases, fatty liver, high blood pressure, and various other chronic conditions.
Also, ginger has anti-diabetic properties. As per a study, consuming around 2 grams of ginger powder daily helps lower the fasting blood sugar level by 12%.
6. Lowers the risk of cancer
Ginger roots may not contain nutrients, but they are an excellent source of antioxidants, which can help reduce oxidative stress and eliminate free radicals.
As per a review, ginger can be effective when it comes to preventing cancer of the pancreas, liver, and other cancers of the gastrointestinal system.
How to Consume Ginger Roots
Wondering how to add ginger roots to your diet? Here are a few options:
- Add fresh ginger roots to your tea or smoothie
- You can use powdered ginger in baking
- If you aren’t a fan of ginger’s taste, try having capsules or supplements
- Try a few ginger candies with a mild flavor
- If you have pain, try ginger oil, as it has soothing properties