10 Health Benefits of Ginger
In addition to being a tasty spice that adds delicious flavor to your recipes, ginger is one of the very best natural home remedies for a myriad of conditions. Ginger, or Zingiber officinale, has been used worldwide throughout history because of its amazing, natural healing power. It is a very powerful antioxidant and some reports even suggest that it is within the top five antioxidant foods. Let's discuss ten of the health benefits of ginger.
Studies about ginger and its effect on diabetes are somewhat limited, but one thing we do know is that compounds in ginger seem to control blood sugar levels and may also manage the body's release of insulin. In addition to these benefits, ginger has also been shown to slow cataract growth in diabetic mice.
Because ginger is a wonderful source of antioxidants, it can go a long way when it comes to decreasing inflammation and relieving pain. Ginger has powerful anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties and can even compete with over-the-counter pain relievers in relieving pain, especially pain that results from strenuous exercise. Powerful anti-inflammatories called ginerols are present in ginger and have been shown to significantly reduce inflammation and pain in patients with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Blood Pressure Control
There are compounds present in ginger that have been shown to block calcium channels within the body, thereby relaxing blood vessels and reducing blood pressure.
One of the things ginger is best-known for is nausea control and relief. Expecting mothers often include ginger in their diet or supplementation to effectively combat morning sickness. Ginger is especially effective in controlling nausea when paired with a nausea medication.
Cancer Prevention and Treatment
Because ginger is has impressive anti-inflammatory properties, it has been shown to be effective in treating and even preventing cancer. Colon cancer is the second-leading killer among cancers in the United States, yet according to the Journal of Clinical Oncology, people who consumed ginger had lower levels of colon inflammation. The antioxidants in ginger may destroy ovarian cancer cells and have also been shown to shrink prostate tumor size by 56 percent in mice.
Ginger is an excellent source of potassium, magnesium, and vitamin B6, which all help to decrease the risk of heart disease by lowering blood pressure and helping to prevent clogged arteries. Ginger helps lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels while also raising one's beneficial HDL. It can also help to make platelets within the blood less sticky, thereby reducing the risk of heart attack.
Within ginger are two important antioxidants called curcumin and gingerol. These two compounds inhibit and possibly even reverse the deposits of amyloid plaques within the brain. These amyloid plaques are associated with Alzheimer's Disease. Another component of ginger, called zingerone, has been shown to neutralize peroxynitrite, which is also implicated in Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative diseases.
Cold and Flu Treatment
Ginger has been used for centuries for its ability to help relieve the symptoms of garden-variety colds and the flu because it is a natural antiviral and antibacterial substance. It works to thin mucus within the sinuses and lungs.
Heartburn and Acid Reflux
Ginger may have anti-ulcer properties and work very effectively against heartburn and acid reflux. In fact, it has been used as a natural remedy for gastrointestinal conditions throughout history. Some reports claim ginger can perform six to eight times better than common over-the-counter drugs for acid reflux and heartburn.
Ginger is a known source of manganese, which helps to increase a man's sex drive and help produce testosterone. It has also been reported to increase a man's sperm count and boost the health of the sperm. Ginger may also play a role in regulating a woman's menstrual cycle, thereby increasing her ability to conceive.
Hala Ahmed, An Arabic and English Food Blogger and an online content manager for Shahiya.com a Leading arabic recipe website in the Middle East.