Even if you’re not really into reading up on health or herbs, you probably know that ginger is good for you. In spite of the fact that ginger is so common and widely cultivated, its benefits are less widely explored. In fact, ginger is a true superfood—with the ability to work magic on the body. It can lower cholesterol, balance blood sugar, reduce pain and inflammation, improve circulation, raise body temperature (if you’re always cold), boost your immunity, and so much more! In this article, you’ll learn all about this amazing plant.
1. Contrary to popular belief, ginger is not actually a root.
The part of the ginger plant that we recognize and use is actually the rhizome, or the stem from which the roots grow. The flowers that eventually blossom from the ginger plant are strikingly beautiful, colorful, and aromatic.
2. The main active compound of ginger is called gingerol.
This compound has many forms—at least 31 gingerol-related compounds have been identified, and they are thought to be responsible for ginger’s healing properties.
3. Ginger has been show to help fight aging from oxidative stress.
Ginger has an extremely high antioxidant content. It has been shown to decrease age-related oxidative stress markers and block free radical production (such as nitric oxide) that causes DNA damage and disease. Ginger has also been shown to protect the kidneys from oxidative stress.
4. Ginger helps to stimulate digestion.
If you have slow or sluggish digestion or are a kapha-type in Ayurveda, ginger can help immensely. Drinking 2-3 cups of a ginger-containing tea, like Lady Ginger or Aromatic Digestive (preferably before meals) can help you digest your food better.
5. Ginger is in the same plant family as turmeric and cardamom.
If you’ve ever thought that ginger and turmeric looked or sounded similar, they are! All of these plants are strongly anti-inflammatory. In Ayurveda, they are considered medicinal and are therefore used extensively in South and Southeast Asian cooking.
6. Speaking of inflammation, ginger is one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory foods around.
Ginger has been shown to be effective against inflammation, osteoarthritis, jaw pain, rheumatism, and inflammation-induced pain. It has been shown to help with muscle pain, especially in women with menstrual pain.
7. Ginger is a stellar hangover cure.
Ginger helps to clear alcohol from the blood and helps to reduce nausea induced by alcohol consumption.
8. Ginger helps with nausea induced by illness or pregnancy.
Ginger has been shown to be even more effective than Vitamin B6 therapy (a powerful therapy for nausea) for vomiting in pregnant women.
9. Ginger is strongly protective against cancers.
Ginger has been shown to be protective against lymphoma, hepatoma, colorectal cancer, breast cancer, skin cancer, liver cancer, and bladder cancer. It is thought to work by killing cancer cells and decreasing cancer cell proliferation.
10. Ginger protects the heart and cardiovascular system.
Research has shown that ginger protects against arterial plaquing and reduces the “bad” LDL cholesterol. It is also being investigated for its potential ability to protect against coronary heart disease.
11. Ginger protects against diabetes.
Research has shown that rats fed ginger had higher insulin sensitivity and tolerance to high insulin levels. It has also been shown to help balance blood sugar levels.
12. Ginger protects the brain from dementia and related disorders.
Ginger promotes blood flow to the brain, the absence of which is thought to underlie dementia. Some research suggests that ginger can even protect against Alzheimer’s disease.
What’s been your experience with ginger? Comment below!