From cookies to stir fries, ginger is used in a huge range of delicious dishes. But this superfood doesn’t just taste good – it offers loads of health benefits too. As well as being spasmolytic, anti-inflammatory and anti-viral, it’s loaded with essentials vitamins and nutrients that can help keep you feeling your best.
Ginger can prevent and treat cold and flu
Ginger has been used for thousands of years across Asia as a remedy for cold and flu, and now scientific studies are beginning to prove its effectiveness. In 2013, research published in the The Journal of Ethnopharmacology revealed that fresh ginger is effective against human respiratory syncytial virus (HRSV) infections – a virus responsible for the common cold. On top of that, its stimulating properties can actually make you sweat, helping your body overcome a high fever.
Soothes the digestive system
Perhaps ginger is best known for its ability to soothe stomach aches and ease nausea. Considered an excellent carminative, ginger promotes the elimination of excessive gas from the digestive system. This makes it an excellent treatment for digestive issues like colic and dyspepsia, as well as morning and travel sickness. In fact, one study found that taking just one gram of ginger daily may prevent nausea in pregnant women, working better than a placebo to reduce nausea.
Could ginger reduce cholesterol?
If you’re trying to lower your cholesterol, you might want to up your intake of ginger. Several studies have shown that ginger can lower experimentally-induced high cholesterol in animals by activating an enzyme that increase the body’s use of cholesterol. While more human studies need to be carried out, the research points to ginger’s potential use as a treatment for high cholesterol.
Clear potential to ease arthritis
Ginger is among one of the many superfoods that can help ease arthritis. This health benefit comes from gingerol – a potent anti-inflammatory compound that can be found in ginger root. These gingerols have an analgesic effect on the joints, reducing the pain associated with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
According to one 2001 study, ginger extract can be a particularly effective treatment for people suffering from osteoarthritis of the knee thanks to the anti-inflammatory effect of these gingerols.
Regulates blood sugar
Gingerols have been linked with enhanced insulin sensitivity, which means that it might help to regulate blood sugar. A 2006 study found that gingerols could suppress sorbitol accumulation in human blood cells and sugar-fed rats. In other words, ginger may be able to help prevent the problem, but also potentially reverse it.
Making the most of superfood ginger
The fact that ginger has such a distinctive and delicious taste means it’s easy to add this superfood to both savory and sweet dishes.
For a daily dose of nutrients and vitamins, try adding a shot of fresh ginger juice or powder to a berry smoothie or a spirulina green juice. Or for a warming breakfast, stir in half a teaspoon of ginger powder to your morning oatmeal.
Feel a cold coming on? Add a dash of ginger powder to this stimulating turmeric tea. However you choose to enjoy ginger, you’ll soon find that this tasty superfood becomes a store cupboard staple.
For more ideas on how to make the most of ginger, take a look at this post on accessing the amazing benefits of ginger.