Ginger – you’ve probably heard of it as a remedy for nausea, or as a popular ingredient in Eastern medicines. Far from an old wives’ tale, this little root has a host of health benefits. Whether you’re looking to support long-term cell health or treat morning sickness, it’s worth checking in with ginger root’s many benefits.
What Does Ginger Do For You?
Research suggests that ginger can help not just with nausea, but inflammation, pain, fighting free radicals, and overall immunity.
Read on to see the highlights of ginger’s health benefits, and how you can incorporate this powerful root into your diet.
Ginger for Nausea
Possibly ginger’s most famous use is for nausea and indigestion. Humans have been using ginger for hundreds of years to relieve stomach upset – in fact, its use in Europe as a nausea cure can be traced back to the intercontinental spice trade, where it became a popular remedy for seasick sailors bringing spices back from China.
Ginger isn’t just for seasickness, though; research in more recent years indicate ginger is as effective as over-the-counter medication at relieving nausea due to morning sickness, chemotherapy, and even bad foods.
Ginger has powerful antibacterial properties that can fight off bacterial stomach infection from within the body. One study in 2007 found that ginger can even be used to treat diarrhea caused by E. coli . Ginger has also been shown to inhibit salmonella bacteria, helping you recover faster and experience less severe symptoms from this illness.
Ginger is Loaded with Antioxidants
Free radicals are compounds in your body that can cause stress and damage to your cells. An abundance of free radicals has been linked to long-term illnesses like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Antioxidants, like those found in food, actually fight off free radicals and help keep you healthier for longer.
Ginger is a great source of antioxidants, and specific compounds in ginger (like gingerol, the ingredient which gives ginger its distinctive flavour), have been shown to be particularly effective at preventing cancer.
While dietary antioxidants (those found in foods) fight free radicals, research suggests that antioxidant supplements might actually contribute to cell damage, not repair it. For that reason, it’s recommended to get your antioxidants directly from your diet.
A Powerful Anti-Inflammatory
Chronic inflammation can be a serious health concern. It’s more than just swelling – inflammation can cause, or worsen, pain and fatigue, and in the long term lead to conditions like heart disease or arthritis. Ginger can help lessen inflammation, research shows – and sometimes dramatically. It has been shown to be an effective treatment for the pain and inflammation associated with both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Ginger treatments on patients with arthritis were even, in some cases, as effective as over-the-counter medications.
It’s not just limited to arthritic conditions, either. Part of ginger’s beneficial effects on the digestive tract are its ability to relieve inflammation in the stomach and intestines as well.
Ginger For Pain Relief
Nausea and inflammation can be bad enough on their own – but they can also cause some serious pain. Especially with chronic conditions like arthritis or stomach issues, research suggests that relieving inflammation also relieves the pain that comes alongside it.
Consuming ginger, then, can seem like a two-for-one deal. While ginger’s effects on pain caused by arthritis or indigestion are well documented, some studies also suggest the ginger may be an effective remedy for headaches and muscle soreness after exertion. One study found that ginger can be as effective as prescription NSAIDS (non-steroidal antiinflammatory medications) at relieving pain caused by severe menstrual cramps.
Ginger Can Boost Your Immunity
With a powerfood like ginger, so many benefits to the body can have a snowball effect. That’s why ginger is such a popular ingredient in homemade immunity boosters, like ginger shots.
It isn’t just a fad, though: Chronic inflammation and free radicals can overwhelm your system, making it harder to fight off infections or even the common cold. Ginger’s antioxidant content combined with its anti-inflammatory properties can help to strengthen your immune system to fight off disease and illness.
Additionally, ginger contains antibacterial properties, making it a common and effective preventative against bacterial infections.
How to Get More Ginger Into Your Diet
While ginger has a host of benefits, many people find the strong taste unpalatable. Even if you like spicy food, ginger’s strong flavour may make it difficult to add to many dishes without becoming overpowering. Luckily there’s a number of ways you can get more ginger in your diet, without sacrificing flavour!
One popular way to consume ginger is by making “ginger shots” – a strong ginger drink intended to be downed in just one or two gulps. Most recipes for ginger shots combine it with lemon, turmeric, cayenne, and/or honey to maximize its health benefits. While a ginger shot may be the most efficient way to consume concentrated amounts of ginger, the preparation time may make it a less suitable solution for some.
Another popular choice for getting more ginger into your diet is ginger tea. Found in most grocery stores, ginger tea is prepared hot and meant to be drunk more slowly. Many ginger teas are combined with honey or lemon to improve the flavour, but if you don’t enjoy the taste of ginger, this may also not be an ideal solution for you.
Sliced marinated ginger is used as a palate cleanser with many Eastern dishes – most commonly seen in North America beside a plate of sushi. If you enjoy ginger’s acquired taste, the satisfying chew of marinated ginger is a great way to get more ginger into your diet. Ginger in Gummies
Our favourite way to consume ginger is to put it into our gummies! When you add ginger to your DIY Gummies kits, one packet can be added directly to your large melted gummy, giving you the perfect amount of ginger in each bite-sized gummy you make. This is a super fun way to incorporate ginger into your daily diet.
Curious about making your own gummies? Check out our tutorial on how to make CBD gummies (or other kinds of gummies) at home!
The Bottom Line
While ginger might be the first thing to spring to mind when you have an upset stomach, this root has more to it than meets the eye. Ginger’s antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant qualities make it a top choice for long-term health management, and may be beneficial for treatment of many chronic illnesses.
As always, check with your doctor before adding supplementation to your regimen, even natural, plant-based medicines.