Health Benefits of Ginger
Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a flowering plant whose rhizome, ginger root or ginger, is widely used as a spice and a folk medicine. It is a herbaceous perennial which grows annual pseudostems (false stems made of the rolled bases of leaves) about one meter tall bearing narrow leaf blades. The inflorescences bear pale yellow with purple flowers and arise directly from the rhizome on separate shoots.
Ginger is in the family Zingiberaceae, which also includes turmeric (Curcuma longa), cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum), and galangal. Ginger originated in Island Southeast Asia and was likely domesticated first by the Austronesian peoples. It was transported with them throughout the Indo-Pacific during the Austronesian expansion (c. 5,000 BP), reaching as far as Hawaii. Ginger is one of the first spices to have been exported from Asia, arriving in Europe with the spice trade, and was used by ancient Greeks and Romans. The distantly related dicots in the genus Asarum are commonly called wild ginger because of their similar taste.
Raw ginger is composed of 79% water, 18% carbohydrates, 2% protein, and 1% fat (table). In 100 grams (a standard amount used to compare with other foods), raw ginger supplies 80 Calories and contains moderate amounts of vitamin B6 (12% of the Daily Value, DV) and the dietary minerals, magnesium (12% DV) and manganese (11% DV), but otherwise is low in nutrient content (table).
More Benefits of Ginger
Certain chemical compounds in fresh ginger help your body ward off germs. They’re especially good at halting growth of bacteria like E.coli and shigella, and they may also keep viruses like RSV at bay.
Keeps Your Mouth Healthy
Benefits of Ginger, as far as antibacterial power, may also brighten your smile. Active compounds in ginger called gingerols keep oral bacteria from growing. These bacteria are the same ones that can cause periodontal disease, a serious gum infection.
The old wives’ tale may be true: Another benefit of Ginger is that it helps if you’re trying to ease a queasy stomach, especially during pregnancy. It may work by breaking up and getting rid of built-up gas in your intestines. It might also help settle seasickness or nausea caused by chemotherapy.
Soothes Sore Muscles
Ginger won’t whisk away muscle pain on the spot, but it may tame soreness over time. In some studies, people with muscle aches from exercise who took ginger had less pain the next day than those who didn’t.
Eases Arthritis Symptoms
Ginger is an anti-inflammatory, which means it reduces swelling. That may be especially helpful for treating symptoms of both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. You might get relief from pain and swelling either by taking ginger by mouth or by using a ginger compress or patch on your skin.
Curbs Cancer Growth
Some studies show that bioactive molecules in ginger may slow down the growth of some cancers like colorectal, gastric, ovarian, liver, skin, breast, and prostate cancer. But much more research is needed to see if this is true.
Lowers Blood Sugar
One recent small study suggested that ginger may help your body use insulin better. Larger studies are needed to see if ginger could help improve blood sugar levels.
Eases Period Pains
Got menstrual cramps? The benefits of Ginger powder may help. In studies, women who took 1,500 milligrams of ginger powder once a day for 3 days during their cycle felt less pain than women who didn’t.
A daily dose of ginger may help you battle your “bad” or LDL cholesterol levels. In a recent study, taking 5 grams of ginger a day for 3 months lowered people’s LDL cholesterol an average of 30 points.
Protects Against Disease
Ginger is loaded with antioxidants, compounds that prevent stress and damage to your body’s DNA. They may help your body fight off chronic diseases like high blood pressure, heart disease, and diseases of the lungs, plus promote healthy aging.
If you live with chronic indigestion, also called dyspepsia, ginger could bring some relief. Ginger before meals may make your system empty faster, leaving less time for food to sit and cause problems.
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