There’s a long list of superfoods that are scientifically proven to be hugely beneficial to our health and wellbeing – and ginger is one of them. The root of the flowering plant has for centuries been part of our food culture, and although it’s an acquired taste, there’s more and more research being discovered to suggest its nutrients and bioactive compounds are really great for us. Here’s just some of them.
It can fight infection
Gingerol, a bioactive substance in fresh ginger is thought to help lower the risk of infections, and even be effective against the RSV virus. The substance can also inhibit the growth of many different types of bacteria, including a range of harmful oral bacteria that can cause inflammatory diseases like gingivitis and periodontitis.
It eases the symptom of nausea
Ginger is known to be highly effective against nausea, in which it has been used for centuries as a home remedy for seasickness. The bioactive properties mean it’s still often used as a treatment for nausea in cancer patients and morning sickness in pregnancy.
It’s an anti-inflammatory
Ginger has great anti-inflammatory properties. There have been studies that show consuming at least 2 grams of ginger per day significantly reduces exercise-induced muscle pain. There have also been signs of pain relief in osteoarthritis patients due to its anti-inflammatory properties taking effect on swollen joints.
It lowers blood-pressure
Research has suggested ginger has powerful anti-diabetic properties, significantly reducing long term blood sugar levels and helping keep diabetic patients at safe health. There have also been signs of ginger helping significantly reduce the risk of heart disease, lowering levels of oxidants that act as markers for high blood pressure.
It can treat chronic indigestion
Chronic indigestion, AKA dyspepsia, causes long-term pain and discomfort from acidity in the upper part of the stomach. Studies have shown that ginger can significantly speed up the emptying of the stomach, fastening the digestion process and easing the painful symptoms of dyspepsia.
It reduces cholesterol levels
High levels of LDL proteins (a type of “bad cholesterol) are linked to increased risk of severe heart disease, and ginger has been shown to significantly reduce LDL levels. There are also results that show ginger reduces other types of proteins, lowering the total level of cholesterol in the blood.
It improves brain function
The brain is also thought to benefit from ginger consumption, with its bioactive properties significantly showing improvement in reaction time and working memory. There’s also signs of ginger protecting against an age-related decline in our brain function.
It contains a substance that can help combat cancer
Although results are limited and more studies are needed, gingerol, the substance found in raw ginger is thought to have anticancer properties. The substance acts as an anti-inflammatory to molecules in cells. These links have been shown in many types of cancer including pancreatic cancer, colon cancer, breast cancer, and ovarian cancer.
The term superfood feels a bit overused nowadays, but with ginger, there have been numerous confirmations of ginger’s different health benefits. So next time you’re at the supermarket, pick up that fresh ginger and give it a whirl – there’s plenty of tasty dishes you can make.