Ginger is prized for its aromatic, culinary, and medicinal properties, the root of the ginger plant has been used in cooking and as an herbal remedy since ancient times.
Ginger’s claim to medicinal fame comes from its main active components called gingerols, which are responsible for its distinctive flavor. This zesty spice can be used to alleviate nausea, though studies are mixed on how effective it is.
Fresh ginger root is available year-round at your local market and also comes powdered, crystallized, candied, and pickled. It’s a great way to spice up a stir-fry and even contains a little vitamin C, magnesium, manganese, potassium, and copper, according to WebMD.
The next time you reach for ginger ale to settle your stomach, check the label: Some varieties don’t contain ginger at all, just artificial flavoring.
Ginger May Reduce Muscle Pain And Soreness
Ginger has been shown to be effective against exercise-induced muscle pain.
In one study, consuming 2 grams of ginger per day, for 11 days, significantly reduced muscle pain in people performing elbow exercises.
Ginger does not have an immediate impact, but may be effective at reducing the day-to-day progression of muscle pain.
These effects are believed to be mediated by the anti-inflammatory properties.
The Anti-Inflammatory Effects Can Help With Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is a common health problem. It involves degeneration of the joints in the body, leading to symptoms like joint pain and stiffness.
In a controlled trial of 247 people with osteoarthritis of the knee, those who took ginger extract had less pain and required less pain medication.
Another study found that a combination of ginger, mastic, cinnamon and sesame oil, can reduce pain and stiffness in osteoarthritis patients when applied topically, according to NCBI.
Ginger And Diabetes
Ginger May Drastically Lower Blood Sugars and Improve Heart Disease Risk Factors
This area of research is relatively new, but ginger may have powerful anti-diabetic properties.
In a recent 2015 study of 41 participants with type 2 diabetes, 2 grams of ginger powder per day lowered fasting blood sugar by 12%.
It also dramatically improved HbA1c (a marker for long-term blood sugar levels), leading to a 10% reduction over a period of 12 weeks.
The Active Ingredient in Ginger Can Help Fight Infections
Gingerol, the bioactive substance in fresh ginger, can help lower the risk of infections.
In fact, ginger extract can inhibit the growth of many different types of bacteria.
It is very effective against the oral bacteria linked to inflammatory diseases in the gums, such as gingivitis and periodontitis.
Fresh ginger may also be effective against the RSV virus, a common cause of respiratory infections.
Ginger is one of the very few “superfoods” actually worthy of that term. You can buy fresh or powdered ginger at your local grocery store or purchase ginger supplements online.