The Benefits of Ginger
Ginger is known around the world for its sweet and warming flavour. Originating in south east Asia, it is used widely in both food and medicine and can be consumed fresh, powdered, as an oil or a juice. Diverse, healthy and delicious? It almost sounds too good to be true!
Ginger has been used for over 5000 years for its medicinal purposes. During the Roman Empire, a pound of ginger was equivalent to the cost of a sheep! Luckily for us, a sheep won’t be required to get your hands on a fresh pound of ginger these days (thank goodness). In fact, once you’ve read about it’s awesome benefits we think it’ll find a permanent place on your weekly grocery list.
When we look throughout ginger’s recorded history, it’s effective treatment of nausea is perhaps it’s most well known benefit. Over a dozen controlled studies show that it helps break up and expel intestinal gas, helping to alleviate the sickly sensation that comes with nausea. Multiple studies have even shown that ginger root can be superior to Dramamine (an over the counter anti-nausea medication) in the treatment of nausea due to motion sickness, morning sickness and even chemotherapy.
A survey of OBGYN’s revealed that 71% recommended ginger to alleviate nausea and indigestion related to pregnancy. This is because it can be consumed daily with no adverse health effects on either the parent or baby.
Helps treat indigestion
As mentioned above, Ginger helps break up shown to break up the gas that can hang around in our intestines and cause discomfort, but it also helps to empty our stomach. Delays in the emptying of the stomach are a major driver for indigestion. A small study done in 2011 showed that participants who consumed the ginger took around 12.3 minutes for their stomach to empty whereas those who did not took around 16.1 minutes.
We’ve all been there; you eat a big, filling meal and suddenly your stomach feels like it’s holding onto a bowling ball. A warm cup of ginger tea can really help get things moving and reduce bloating!
Can help reduce menstrual pain
If you experience dysmenorrhea(pain during menstruation), you know how uncomfortable it can be to try to go about your day when it happens. A 2009 study showed that Ginger was just as effective as NSAIDs in reducing menstrual pain. While it’s true that more research needs to be done on the subject, this can be a great alternative for those with a sensitivity to NSAIDS like naproxen or ibuprofen. Those with a history of ulcers, gastrointestinal bleeding or are currently taking blood thinners are recommended to avoid NSAIDs as they can irritate the stomach lining.
Can lower the risk of cancer
Because ginger is an excellent source of antioxidants it has been shown to reduce various types of oxidative stress. Oxidative stress happens when too many free radicals (A toxic substance produced by metabolism and other factors) build up in the body. These free radicals cause cellular damage that can lead to diseases like cancer. A promising trial in 2013 tested these effects on participants who had a high risk of developing colorectal cancer. Researchers gave 20 participants either 2 g of ginger or a placebo for 28 days. Later biopsy showed that participants who consumed ginger had fewer negative changes in healthy colon tissue.
This is just a fraction of the reported benefits of this amazing spice. More exciting research is being done on ginger’s effects in everything from tumor prevention to respiratory health. Sitting at the intersection of both food and medicine, ginger is well worth incorporating into your daily diet!Want more ginger in your diet? Try BellyCrush Ginger Flax Cookies