Ginger is an ancient spice that has been used by various cultures to naturally remedy a variety of conditions. Belonging to the same plant family as turmeric and cardamom, ginger has been heavily studied over the past few years due to the increased popularity of alternative medicine and natural remedies. The believed health benefits of ginger have been mostly accounted via anecdotal or historical information, which is why more studies are being conducted to solidify the accounts.
Ginger was once revered as a gift from the gods by the Indian and Chinese healers. This spice does not only belong on a sushi platter next to some fake wasabi; rather, it should become a featured ingredient in your daily life. Ginger has a spicy, slightly sweet aroma, which is due to the ketones and gingerols, the primary component of ginger.
Fun Fact: Ginger is not a root, although it is commonly referred to as such. Ginger is considered to be a rhizome because it is the horizontal stem, from which the root grows. Roots grow vertically, proving that ginger is not technically a root!
It Helps Improve Blood Circulation
Magnesium, potassium, and chromium all help to promote healthier blood circulation. Ginger has all three of these minerals and more! A mere 5 slices of raw ginger can help to improve circulation and overall heart health. In fact, Eastern cultures have used ginger to optimize heart health for thousands of years.
It Has Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Ginger is primarily known for its anti-inflammatory properties. This makes sense because it is in the same family as turmeric, which has been proven to reduce inflammation in the body. Recent studies have indicated that ginger extract can help to drastically reduce overall joint inflammation or general muscular discomfort. Moreover, ginger was proven to be as effective as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs at relieving pain in women with primary dysmenorrhea.
It May Reduce Nausea
Notorious for its effect on upset stomachs, ginger has commonly been used to alleviate motion sickness, nausea, seasickness, or morning sickness. Some evidence indicates that the relief is due to the fact that it inhibits serotonin receptors and exerts antiemetic effects on the digestive and central nervous systems. While more studies need to be conducted, ginger is best for alleviating nausea, vomiting, and nausea associated with pregnancy or chemotherapy.
It Helps Lower Bad Cholesterol
There was a recent study conducted on the effects of ginger on cholesterol in a controlled group of people. The results showed that compounds in ginger helped to reduce triglycerides and LDL cholesterol levels. Additionally, the HDL (beneficial cholesterol) levels increased, which may decrease heart-related issues such as stroke or heart attack. Finally, the results of most studies indicate that ginger works to improve lipid metabolism.
It Fights Colds and Flu
It is common to drink ginger tea when you have a cold or flu, but for different reasons. Drinking ginger tea when you have a cold helps to naturally decongest your sinuses and it acts as a natural antihistamine. Many cough medicines often contain ginger extract for this reason. Ginger is also replete with vitamin C, which is a known immune booster that helps to fight off bacteria and viruses. Drinking ginger tea when you have the flu works to combat nausea and aid with digestion.