You know that spicy, pungent scented flavour that's ginger's calling card. Ginger is one of the healthiest spices on the plant. It is loaded with nutrients and bioactive compounds that have powerful benefits on your body and brain. This is due to gingerol, a compound that has antioxidant properties to help support your immunity. Try sipping ginger tea or making a ginger salad dressing for a quick health boost.
What is ginger
Ginger is a flowering plant that originates from China. It belongs to the Zingiberaceae family and is closely related to turmeric, cardamom, and galangal. It is often called ginger root or just simply ginger. Ginger is native to South- east Asia, India and China. Ginger has been an integral component of the regions diet and valued for its aromatic, culinary and medicinal properties for thousands of years.
Ginger is a multifactual remedy
Ginger roots have a range of health benefits and is known to improve digestion, blood sugar levels and cholesterol levels.
Here is a look at the top ten benefits of ginger.
- Contains Gingerol
Gingerol are phenolic compounds in ginger and are the main bioactive compound of ginger, responsible for much of its medicinal properties. It has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.
- Treatment for nausea and morning sickness
Nausea is no fun. Whether it is due to motion sickness, morning sickness or post-surgery it is an experience nobody wants. Ginger can be highly effective against nausea; it is most effective when it comes to pregnancy related nausea, also known as morning sickness. It is known that just 1-1.5g of ginger can help prevent various types of nausea such as sea sickness. Based on the scientific evidence, ginger is worth a try when you are experiencing nausea of any kind.
- Reduce muscle pain and soreness
Ginger is seen as being very effective in exercise induced muscle pain. Although there will not be an immediate impact it may be effective at reducing the day-to-day progression of muscle pain which can promote enhanced performance and endurance.
Inflammation occurs naturally even in the healthiest of individuals. It is a natural response that happens to protect your body from injury or sickness. When inflammation is excessive or chronic this can be very damaging to your body and can result in excruciating pain.
Osteoarthritis is a common health problem which effects many people worldwide. Osteoarthritis causes a degeneration of the joints in your body which stimulates joint pain and stiffness. There have been some studies that support the effectiveness of ginger on reducing pain and stiffness in patients suffering in osteoarthritis. This is because the properties of raw ginger are responsible for many natural anti-inflammatory effects and inhibits the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Ginger is a great way to help reduce the overall amount of inflammation in the body. If you are experiencing an inflammatory condition, ginger is a natural and powerful anti-inflammatory remedy to try.
- Lower blood sugar and improve heart disease risk factors
This area of research is relatively new, but it known that ginger may have powerful anti-diabetic properties. It said to dramatically improve HbA1c which is a marker for long term blood sugar levels. Ginger can lower blood sugar levels and improve heart disease risk factors in patients with diagnosed type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is the most common disease of the endocrine system. Type 2 diabetes accounts for more than 90 percent of diabetes diagnoses. If you can regulate your blood sugar levels, you will be less likely to experience chronic hyperglycaemia that can lead to diabetes over time.
- Helps to lower blood pressure
High blood pressure is commonly known in people who consume a high amount of processed foods. When hypertension is left untreated it can lead to damaging effects on your arteries, heart, brain, and kidneys. Ginger has been shown to improve blood pressure by acting as a vasodilator. This helps by promoting your blood circulation which can reduce your overall blood pressure.
- Reduce menstrual pain
Menstrual pain refers to pain felt during a woman’s menstrual cycle. Menstrual cramps in the abdomen and lower back are common in dysmenorrhea. One of the traditional uses for ginger is for pain relief. Studies have shown that ginger managed to reduce pain as effectively as drugs such as mefenamic and ibuprofen.
- Lowers cholesterol levels
High levels of lipoproteins (LDL) are known as bad cholesterol and have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease. Your levels of LDL can be strongly affected by your diet. There is evidence that ginger can lead to significant reductions in LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
- Improve brain function
As we’ve seen in the past, oxidative stress and chronic inflammation can have a negative effect on cognitive function and can accelerate the brain’s aging process. These factors are believed to be linked to Alzheimer's disease and age-related cognitive decline. Studies have indicated that the antioxidants and bioactive compounds in ginger reduce inflammation that occurs in the brain. There is also evidence that ginger can enhance brain function directly.
- Help fight infections
Gingerol, the bioactive substance which comes from fresh ginger can help lower risk of infections. Ginger extract can inhibit the growth of many different types of bacteria, it is extremely effective against oral bacteria linked to inflammatory disease in the gums, such as gingivitis and periodontitis. Fresh ginger is also effective against the RSC virus which is associated with respiratory infections.
Ginger activates your digestive enzymes in your body just from its aroma. It increases your appetite and aids in the absorption of vital nutrients that are otherwise excreted from the body without proper assimilation to the blood stream.
Ginger Salad Dressing Recipe
- 2 tsp finely grated fresh root ginger
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- ½ tsp finely grated orange zest (plus 2 tsp orange juice)
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tsp clear honey
- 100ml groundnut oil
- 5ml Omega Oil
- Prepare all ingredients
- Place all ingredients into a bowl and mix well
- Once the ingredients are well incorporated, place in a jug for serving.
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