Ginger is a flowering plant that is native to China. Commonly used as a simple spice, ginger actually packs a significant nutritional punch as well. In most cases, the root of the plant is what is used as the spice. Ginger is closely related to other spices including cardamom and turmeric. Ginger is full of vitamins, minerals and bioactive compounds that offer numerous advantages to your health. Here are five health benefits of ginger that are scientifically proven.
#1: Ginger contains gingerol
Gingerol is the main bioactive compound found in ginger. This compound has many anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. This allows ginger to actually have many medicinal benefits as well. Antioxidants help to neutralize free radicals in the body. Free radicals can increase risk of various health conditions such as cancer. Inflammation is another leading cause of disease. This makes ginger a powerful compound as it has the ability to fight both. The anti-inflammatory properties are also very effective in reducing joint pain and pain brought on by conditions such as osteoarthritis. One study of 247 people with osteoarthritis, found that those who took ginger extract had overall less pain as well as required less pain medication.
#2: Ginger is very effective in fighting nausea
One of the main medicinal applications of ginger is in treating nausea. Women suffering from morning sickness often use ginger to treat their nausea. It is also commonly used to treat seasickness and motion sickness. Ginger can also be used as a post surgical treatment for any residual nausea as well as to combat nausea caused by chemotherapy in cancer patients.
#3: Ginger can reduce muscle pain/soreness
While ginger does not provide immediate relief, it can be used as a day to day supplement to help prevent exercise-induced muscle pain and soreness. Several studies have been conducted with positive results. The reason behind gingers ability to do this is thought to lie in the aforementioned anti-inflammatory properties.
#4: Ginger helps with digestion
Indigestion can be a very painful condition. It’s typically characterized by recurring pain and general discomfort in the upper abdomen. Many experts believe that one of the main causes of indigestion is that the stomach delays the emptying of the food consumed. When ginger is added to the equation, it has been found that it speeds up the process of the stomach emptying its contents. In fact, one study found that ginger reduced the time by up to 50 percent.
#5: Ginger can lower LDL (bad) cholesterol
An increased level of LDL cholesterol is linked to numerous health conditions including heart disease. Studies have shown that consuming a few grams of ginger a day can significantly reduce LDL cholesterol levels. These studies have also shown that ginger also lowers overall cholesterol levels as well as blood triglycerides.