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Ginger is one of the most used dietary condiments in the world today, it’s no wonder that the benefits of ginger are pretty impressive. With its zesty, peppery flavor and its extensive list of health benefits, ginger root is equal parts delicious and nutritious. It’s versatile, easy to use and has been associated with everything from beating motion sickness to better brain function.
The health benefits of ginger are largely due to its antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties and content of therapeutic compounds like gingerol, shogaol, paradol and zingerone.
Used historically as a natural remedy for sea sickness and morning sickness, ginger is perhaps most well-known for its ability to treat nausea and vomiting.
Fungal infections cause a wide variety of conditions, from yeast infections to jock itch and athlete’s foot. Fortunately, ginger helps kill off disease-causing fungi due to its powerful anti-fungal properties.
Stomach ulcers are painful sores that form in the lining of the stomach and cause symptoms like indigestion, fatigue, heartburn and abdominal discomfort. Several studies have found that ginger could help prevent the formation of stomach ulcers.
Unfortunately, adverse side effects like pain, period cramps (dysmenorrhea) and headaches are commonly associated with menstruation for many women. While some turn to over-the-counter medications to provide symptom relief, natural remedies like ginger can be just as useful at easing menstrual pain.
One of the most impressive benefits of ginger is its anti-cancer properties, thanks to the presence of a powerful compound called 6-gingerol.
High blood sugar can cause many negative symptoms, from frequent urination to headaches (including migraines) and increased thirst. If left unchecked, it can even cause more serious problems like nerve damage and impaired wound healing.
Research shows that ginger helps promote normal blood sugar to prevent these serious side effects. In one 2015 study, ginger supplementation actually reduced fasting blood sugar by 12 percent and improved long-term blood sugar control by 10 percent.
Because of its ability to reduce inflammation, adding ginger into your diet could help treat both muscle pain and arthritis-related joint pain.
One study showed that daily consumption of ginger resulted in moderate-to-large reductions in muscle pain caused by exercise-induced muscle injury. Another study found that ginger extract helped decrease knee pain and the need for pain medication in individuals with osteoarthritis.
From producing bile to manufacturing hormones, cholesterol is essential to overall health. However, high levels of cholesterol can build up in the blood, causing blockages and increasing your risk of heart disease.
One of the biggest benefits of ginger is its ability to naturally lower cholesterol levels and triglycerides to reduce your risk of heart problems. A study conducted at Babol University of Medical Sciences actually found that ginger was able to significantly reduce bad LDL cholesterol and raise beneficial HDL cholesterol compared to a placebo. An animal study also showed that ginger was nearly as effective in lowering cholesterol (improving cholesterol markers) as atorvastatin, a medication commonly prescribed for high blood cholesterol.
Neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s have been linked to oxidative stress and chronic inflammation in the brain. With its wealth of antioxidants and potent anti-inflammatory properties, ginger is believed to play an important role in the health of your brain.
In addition to its antifungal properties, ginger boasts the ability to fight off bacterial infections as well. Pathogenic bacteria are common culprits behind conditions like urinary tract infections, pneumonia and bronchitis.
Although inflammation can be a normal, healthy immune response to injury and infection, chronic inflammation is believed to be a major contributor to conditions like heart disease, obesity, diabetes and cancer.
One review in the International Journal of Preventive Medicine noted that ginger extract may help inhibit the synthesis of certain markers of inflammation. Besides gingerol, it also contains other anti-inflammatory compounds like shogaol, paradol and zingerone.
There is also a possibility that ginger benefits include preventing blood clots (thus reducing risk of heart attack) due to its natural acids that thin the blood. But studies so far are inconclusive.
One of the most powerful ginger benefits is its ability to support digestive health and prevent problems like dyspepsia, a common condition of impaired digestion characterized by symptoms like pain, heartburn, fullness and discomfort.
According to a study in the World Journal of Gastroenterology, ginger helps speed up the emptying of the stomach by 25 percent compared to a placebo in people with indigestion. Another study even found that taking ginger capsules with a meal actually doubled the speed of stomach emptying.