Ginger isn’t only for stir-fries. Inside the bent plant, knobby roots (rhizomes) are health-boosting antioxidants (molecules that ward off cell damage), anti-inflammatories, and germ-smashing antimicrobial agents. Analyses present these compounds good-for-you that can combat nausea and chronic inflammation to oppose disease and pain—and perhaps even cancer. People have unearthed Zingiber officinale, a.k.a. ginger, for its health benefits and spicy taste since the onset of time. It belongs to the same family as turmeric, another potent, good-for-you spice. But just because it’s been roughly a while doesn’t suggest it’s a cure-all for your health conditions. Using ginger in addition to a healthy diet, exercise, and frequent visits to your physician would be best.
This article explains the top 11 ginger health benefits backed by scientific research.
Ginger Health Benefits
To date, nearly 400 bioactive compounds have been recognized in ginger. Possibly 50 of these are antioxidants. Ginger is a staple in many Asian and Indian dishes, but did you know this root has many benefits? It has a long record for thousands of years as a remedy for digestive issues and other ailments. And it’s not just the fresh root or dried powder that contains gingerol, one of the active ingredients in ginger. It can be found in many everyday products, such as candies, cookies, tea bags, sauces, and even toothpaste!
Let’s look at the science-backed health benefits of ginger:
1. Eases Indigestion
Ginger is a spice that can bring comfort if you often suffer from chronic indigestion, also called dyspepsia. Consuming ginger before meals may unload your system quickly, leaving less time for food to sit in and pushing problems. Functional dyspepsia is a term used to define upper abdominal pain, like acid reflux, that is believed to be associated with slowing digestion. It has been proven to alleviate these issues. It also helps improve the body’s ability to unload food from the stomach faster—known as gastric emptying.
In fact, a study of healthy adults indicated that eating ginger capsules (1200 mg) with a meal promotes digestion so much that the gastric emptying rate was doubled!
2. Saves Energy for Metabolism
Ginger healthily benefits metabolism. If ginger can enhance digestion, your metabolism will improve, and fuel will be better available. The more efficient your digestion is, the more energy you will have because researchers have found that around 60 percent of your body’s power goes to metabolic activities. This is feasible because the faster you can digest your food, the quicker you will absorb the vitamins and minerals from your meals. You will also have less unabsorbed food in your digestive tract; food uses energy when left unprocessed. So not only does ginger enable digestion by enhancing signs of dyspepsia and speeding gastric emptying, but it also helps your general energy levels.
3. Supports Brain Health
Ginger has been shown to reduce the risk of developing dementia and improve memory and cognition. It can also help with headaches, migraines, depression, and brain fog. You might have heard that a daily cup of coffee will help you focus better on your work—but did you know that ginger can also increase blood flow to the brain? It’s true! It’s active antioxidant called gingerol (found in fresh root), which helps to improve memory by providing more oxygen-rich blood to the brain cells. This leads to increased energy levels while reducing stress at the same time. Owing to its richness in antioxidants, it protects the brain from free radical damage. As free radicals are unattached oxygen molecules that are a byproduct of metabolic activity. So add some ginger to your diet if you want an improvement in focus at work or school!
4. Helps Manage Blood Sugar Levels
Ginger is a natural remedy for high blood sugar levels, as it helps to reduce insulin resistance and prevent diabetes.
In one study, participants who were given ginger capsules had lower blood sugars than those who took placebos.
It also increases the production of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), which helps to regulate blood sugar levels by increasing metabolism and improving the absorption of nutrients from food.
You can use ginger in multiple ways to manage your blood sugar levels:
- Add sliced carrots or broccoli florets (or any other vegetables) to soups, stews, and stir-fries for added nutritional benefits.
- Add minced onion and garlic cloves to soups or stews for extra flavor without adding fat or calories.
- Create marinades using citrus juices instead of vinegar—they contain less sodium!
5. Fights off cold/flu symptoms
When you’ve caught a cold or the flu, and your body is in fight mode to get rid of what’s making you feel crappy, it can be challenging to focus on healing. This can lead to more discomfort than necessary because your immune system works overtime fighting off bacteria or viruses that make you feel awful. Ginger helps calm down this battle by soothing irritation in the respiratory tract so that healing can take place! Its natural anti-inflammatory properties help with cold/flu symptoms such as nausea, sore throat, coughs, and congestion.
Studies have shown that consuming ginger can relieve pain, especially muscle aches and sore throats caused by colds or cases of flu
Gingerols in ginger can boost your immunity by reducing inflammation and mucus buildup in the nasal cavity, making breathing more accessible when you’re sick or congested with a cold.
6. Antibacterial & Antiviral Traits
A 2011 lab study discovered ginger had a more elevated antibacterial impact than antibiotics against Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes (S. bacterium that induces streptococcal pharyngitis and strep throat).
Current laboratory studies verified the antibacterial effects of ginger. Test tube studies show the antiviral effects of ginger. In animals, research also finds its effectiveness against pain and fever. Fresh ginger is helpful against respiratory viruses. A 2020 lab study revealed that fresh ginger had antiviral traits in respiratory infections. Dried ginger did not have any impact so far. Ginger seems to prevent the virus growth. Moreso, no evidence suggests that ginger can defend against SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19.
7. Helps Increase the Motility of your Bowels
IBS is an ordinary chronic condition with abdominal pain and bowel habits changes. Ginger is found to affect pain and gut motility. Hence, ginger may help relieve both pain and stool changes in IBS. It also has an antigas effect on the intestines, so you may find that you have fewer bloating or intestinal gas problems when you eat ginger regularly. Also, it stimulates the gallbladder (a small organ in your body) to produce bile, which helps break down fats and protein into smaller particles that your digestive system can absorb. Also, it is a natural anti-inflammatory that helps reduce pain and inflammation in the intestines.
8. Fight Inflammation Throughout your Body
It is a natural anti-inflammatory having the active ingredient gingerol. This help reduces inflammation in your body by lowering prostaglandin levels. Prostaglandins are a type of hormone that can trigger inflammation throughout your body. Reducing these hormones can help reduce pain and discomfort from various health conditions like diarrhea, cramps, bloating, and more. Ginger has proven anti-inflammatory properties, which may be why it works so well on arthritis and inflammation in general. It can also help relieve pain and stiffness in your joints. If you’re suffering from joint pain due to arthritis or another medical condition, adding ginger to your diet can make a big difference!
In addition to its anti-inflammatory properties, ginger has shown some evidence of protecting against cancer by preventing tumors from growing or spreading.
9. Improves Gut Health
Ginger’s natural anti-inflammatory properties can help with many digestive issues. This root has many benefits for the heartburn sufferer, including reducing the amount of acid produced by your stomach and speeding up the time for the food to move through your digestive tract efficiently. It also helps calm spasms in the intestines, which may be causing heartburn in some people. If you’re nauseous, try making some honey lemon ginger tea. Ginger is an excellent fiber source, which helps support your digestive system running smoothly. It also acts as an antioxidant and natural remedy for nausea. Ginger can help with constipation by killing off any harmful bacteria in your gut, which can cause stomach aches!
10. Boosts Immune Health
Ginger can help boost your immune system. It contains a compound called gingerol, which acts as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. This means it can help fight off cold and flu symptoms by reducing mucus production in your throat. It also contains shogaols, compounds that inhibit the production of inflammatory compounds in the body, making it easier to recover from illness faster! If you’re feeling under the weather or have an infection coming on, some studies have shown that taking a daily dose of ginger supplements may reduce symptoms by 40%.
Another reason why ginger helps boost immunity is that it helps prevent bacteria from sticking to cells in our respiratory system (including our lungs), so they don’t cause infections there, either!
11. Prevent Stress & Damage to the body’s DNA
Antioxidants in ginger fight off chronic diseases like high blood pressure and heart and lung diseases, plus promote healthy aging. Antioxidants are compounds that assist in neutralizing free radicals, which are known to cause damage to the body and contribute to the development of various diseases. Free radicals can be caused by exposure to the sun, pollution, smoking, and many other things in our daily lives, such as stress, lack of sleep, and poor diet choices. These free radicals can damage cells throughout the body, which leads to severe health problems, including heart disease, cancer, and even premature aging! However, ginger contains antioxidants called gingerols which have been shown in studies to help fight against free radical damage.
12. Reduce Diabetes Risk
Diabetes is a massive global health problem, with a 10.5 percent affliction rate. Moreover, Black Americans, Native Americans, and Alaskan Natives suffer from the disease at a higher-than-average rate, per the American Diabetes Association. Scientists have attached some active compounds in ginger with improved insulin and metabolic activity. If you’re at risk for developing diabetes, eating extra sugary gingerbread cookies won’t do you any favors! Consume dried and fresh ginger on hand for dressing smoothies and veggie-based stir-fries and soups. While some bioactive chemical compounds in ginger may decline over time, the drying process improves other useful ones.
14. Prevent Heart Disease
Anti-inflammatory compounds in ginger can lower the risk of chronic disease. A 2016 assessment related to regular ginger consumption with lower cholesterol and blood sugar as compared to a placebo. A 2020 study found that ginger can decrease blood pressure and blood lipids (fats) levels, which help defend against heart disease. But like diabetes, eating ginger can’t counterbalance an otherwise inadequate diet high in saturated fat and added sugar. To downsize risk, you’ll still have to ingest more vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, fish, legumes, and beans.
15. Speeds Up Weight Loss in Obese
In your belly, ginger is doing much better in facilitating weight management and improving your health. The gut microbiota is one of the most comprehensive research areas in obesity. Researchers know that tiny microbes in your gut greatly affect your body weight. Collectively, these little microbes are called gut microbiota. The types of foods consumed impact the gut microbiota. Ginger is one of the most widely used spices and has a healthy effect on gut microbes. Ginger emerges to lower gut inflammation and helps the body be better responsive to insulin, enabling improved blood sugar control and reduced weight gain.
A 2020 research study published in the European Journal of Nutrition noted that ginger changed the gut microbiota in rats in a manner that helped reduce obesity.
Research has shown that drinking ginger water can help reduce feelings of hunger, increase metabolism, lower cholesterol levels, and burn excess fat.
16. Boosts Sex Drive
Among ginger’s multiple health benefits, it has been used as an aphrodisiac for centuries. An aphrodisiac is any food or medicine that stimulates sexual intuition, cajoles veneral craving, and boosts pleasure and performance. The spicy flavor of ginger can help increase your libido both in males and females. It has also been shown to improve sexual performance, improve overall sexual satisfaction by stimulating sensory receptors in your brain. These receptors allow them to send signals faster across synapses than they usually would have been able to without it (this is why some people say “ginger makes things spicy”). This spice benefits sexually and contains several compounds that are thought to improve blood circulation in the body, including ginkgo biloba.
17. Improves Sperm count and Motility in Men
In many ginger health benefits, it can help boost sperm count and motility, which means that it might help you if you plan to have a baby.
Research reveals that using 100 mg/kg/day of ginger amazingly improved sperm motility, viability, and engagement. It also satisfied serum total testosterone in some infertile males.
These assertions show ginger types could be a feasible alternative for improving male infertility caused by hypertensive disorders. Choices like ginger powder and ginger root can help support male fertility by stabilizing hormone levels, restraining oxidative stress, and boosting sperm quality.
Additional data and human trials are required to assess the full effect of fresh ginger when used as a supplement or aphrodisiac food. But, for those who want to rev up their sex life, ginger tea and ginger supplements can offer considerable benefits.
18. Curbs Morning Sickness in Pregnant Women
Pregnant women, in particular, should take notice when you talk about an upset stomach: Ginger may help reduce signs of morning sickness! In fact, research advocates the safety and effectiveness of ginger during pregnancy, with some headway in symptoms when compared to a placebo. A 2018 study found that moms-to-be who received 1 gram of fresh ginger root per day for four days underwent a notable reduction in nausea, vomiting, and no risk for the mother or her coming baby.
Make your ginger tea by steeping two teaspoons of freshly grated ginger root in hot water for 10 minutes. You can also add honey if you like it, sweet!
19. Promotes blood flow, which might help Hair Growth
Among ginger’s health benefits, it can actually help promote healthy hair growth. That’s because it contains antioxidants like vitamin C and carotenoids (found in sweet potatoes), both of which act as powerful protectors against cell damage. And when it comes to hair growth specifically, cell damage is what causes follicles to become dormant—so preventing that from happening helps keep them active instead. Its active ingredients encourage blood flow, which is essential in boosting hair growth. You can use it as a tea or a supplement, and it’s also used to make things like soup and sushi. It can even be applied directly to the scalp simply by consuming it raw. (If you don’t like the taste of ginger, try making your own ginger ale!)
When applied topically, ginger can help nourish the scalp and stimulate blood flow—two factors that may impact hair growth.
20. Combats Anxiety and Stress
Some of the most optimistic studies concerning whether or not ginger does help with anxiety implicate serotonin. Mainly one of these underlying studies served on rats, and primarily studied the cellular action to decide why ginger does help with anxiety in introductory studies. An animal study analysis found that ginger relieves anxiety by affixing serotonin receptors. The researchers found nine components of ginger that partially bandage the brain’s 5-HT(1A) receptor. In turn, this stimulated reduced symptoms of anxiety in the tested subjects.
Ginger stimulates endorphins (chemical messengers) in your brain, which make you feel good and reduce anxiety. This may also help inhibit the release of histamine, another chemical that triggers feelings of sickness or queasiness.
21. Reduce Nausea and Vomiting
While ginger impacts the gastrointestinal system instantly, there is some proof that it may also be functioning beyond the digestive tract. Analyses present that ginger inhibits neural receptors that signal to vomit, hence easing nausea. This spice is also known to reduce nausea and vomiting in pregnant women. Besides, you can use ginger to treat morning sickness, motion sickness, and even seasickness. It contains volatile oils that act as antispasmodics and helps relieve nausea. It can be beneficial when you’re feeling nauseous because it has anti-inflammatory properties that help relieve the pain associated with headaches, migraines, and other ailments.
THE BOTTOM LINE
We hope you enjoyed learning about these science-backed 21 ginger health benefits. Ginger is one of our favorite spices. It adds a delicious flavor to dishes and has many amazing health benefits. You can use fresh ginger or dried ginger powder in your cooking, so don’t be afraid to experiment with this spice!