Talk about superfoods, ginger is way up in the league. Ginger is among the healthiest (and most delicious) spices on the planet! Native to Southeast Asia, ginger is common in a lot of food recipes and medicines around the world. Ginger is anything but subtle. Its bold flavour strongly matches its competencies. Ginger has an incredible ability to soothe everything from digestive problems to inflammation. Its health benefits are just too numerous to ignore. The ginger plant is rich in natural chemicals that can promote your health and wellness. These active compounds include gingerol, shogaol, paradol, zingerone, zerumbone 1-dehydro-(10)-gingerdione, terpenoids, and flavonoids. These compounds are what make ginger a powerful antioxidant. It is also anti-tumor, anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving, antimicrobial, and liver-protecting! Let’s look at some of the health benefits of ginger.
- Ginger fights cancer!
Yes, cancer! Ginger is packed with antioxidants that help protect the body from cancer, particularly ovarian cancer, liver cancer, bone cancer, skin cancer and pancreatic cancer. Zerumbone, an ingredient in ginger, stimulates apoptosis in cancer cells which in simple terms induces the death of cancerous cells. It also inhibits cancer cell growth.
- It is anti-microbial
Ginger is effectively antiviral, anti-microbial and anti-fungal. Its gingerol compounds lower your risk of multiple infections. Research has also shown that ginger is even more effective at killing Staphylococcus aureus (staph infections) and Streptococcus pyogenes than conventional antibiotics! Ginger prevents cold viruses and flu and also inhibits the growth of oral bacteria linked to gum diseases, like periodontitis and gingivitis. All in all, ginger boosts your immunity by protecting your body against dangerous microbes, leaving you healthy and feeling great!
- It cures respiratory problems
The most popular health benefit of ginger is probably its ability to relieve respiratory issues like nasal and chest congestion. It is a natural expectorant, which means it loosens up phlegm in your lungs and air passages and helps you cough it up. It’s also helpful for a host of other respiratory issues. Ginger helps relax the muscles surrounding your body’s airways, which can constrict and make breathing difficult for those with allergies or asthma. Ginger is also great for coughs.
- It relieves digestive problems
Ginger’s anti-inflammatory effects can relax the muscles within your gut lining and help food move through your digestive system smoothly. It works especially well for people with chronic indigestion, a condition where it takes people longer for their stomachs to empty into their small intestines. The phenolic compounds in ginger are known to help relieve gastrointestinal irritation(GI), stimulate saliva and bile production and suppress gastric contractions as food and fluids move through the GI tract. It staves off bloating, stomach gas, constipation and colon cancer. Ginger is also proven to be a useful treatment against ulcer and heartburn. A 2007 study found ginger multiple times more effective than over-the-counter antacids and acid blockers in treating heartburn and ulcers.
- It is great for weight loss
Ginger improves digestion and accelerates blood circulation. It tremendously boosts body metabolism and that makes it great for weight loss. It reduces atherosclerosis, the buildup of dangerous fat in the arteries. Ginger also helps reduce blood sugar and cholesterol reducing the risk of heart disease. It improves fasting blood sugar in people with diabetes.
- It reduces inflammation and pain
Gingerol in ginger has great anti-inflammatory properties and is used to treat aches in joints no matter the severity. It is especially useful for conditions such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, resulting in less pain and better mobility. If you exercise, you’re all too familiar with the soreness that comes later. Ginger reduces the muscle pain after exercise by over 25 percent. It is also highly effective in reducing menstrual cramps.
- Ginger promotes a healthy mind
Ginger is a powerful antioxidant that helps maintain healthy cognitive functions despite aging. It improves working memory and reaction time in individuals. Its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant functions help to reduce the risk of age-related diseases like Alzheimer’s and age-related cognitive decline. It is also proven to stimulate learning function and retention by increasing activity in the hippocampus – a portion of the brain heavily involved in memory.
Ginger truly is incredible and has some amazing and surprising health benefits. So forget apples, a tablespoon of ground ginger a day keeps the doctor away! Okay, not really—apples are superfoods too, but ginger is the star food for today!