Ginger is the underground part of the ginger plant. It has a firm, striated texture. It’s flesh can be red, white, or yellow in color. It is covered with a brownish skin that may either be thick or thin, depending upon whether the plant was harvested when it was mature or young. It can be consumed in many forms such as fresh, dried, powdered, or pill form and in oil and juice or beer form. It has a unique, sharp, peppery flavor and distinct aroma.
According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, it is rich in carbohydrates, dietary fiber, and protein. It also has sodium, iron, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc. Vitamins in it include Vitamin C, Folate, Vitamin B6, Riboflavin, and Riacin. Ginger is even on the FDA’s list of generally safe foods. This root is amazing! Let us look at why.
Promotes Weight Loss
Along with the B-complex vitamins posted above, ginger has antioxidant compounds like pantothenic acid, beta-carotene, capsaicin and curcumin. These substances are very essential to help the body effectively break down nutrients to speed up metabolism and help burn fat. Add fresh ginger to salads, soups and smoothies to consume.
Helps With Pain Relief
Ginger has been used to alleviate joint pain, especially with those suffering from arthritis and menstrual pain. It is said that ginger suppresses the inflammatory compounds like cytokines and chemokines at the source before they begin to affect the body. In some studies, ginger has been shown to reduce menstrual pain as effectively as medications like ibuprofen.
In a study called “Effects of a Ginger Extract On Knee Pain In Patients With Osteoarthritis” by Altman an Marcussen, they concluded that “a highly purified and standardized ginger extract had a statistically significant effect on reducing symptoms of OA in the knee. This effect was moderate.”
Promotes Proper Digestion
Ginger has been used for years to help with digestive issues like heartburn, stomach cramping, and feeling of fullness. It does this by helping to empty the stomach faster. In a study by Wu et al called “Effects of Ginger On Gastric Emptying and Motility In Healthy Humans”, they concluded that “ginger accelerates gastric emptying and stimulates antral contractions in healthy volunteers. These effects could potentially be beneficial in symptomatic patient groups.”
Nausea, Vomiting, and Motion Sickness
In a study called “A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of the Effect and Safety of Ginger In the Treatment of Pregnancy-Associated Nausea and Vomiting” published in the National Journal, researchers set to assess the effectiveness of ginger in treating nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. Their secondary objective was to assess the safety of ginger during pregnancy. The researchers concluded that “based on evidence from this SR, ginger could be considered harmless and possibly effective alternative option for women suffering from NVP”. Note that NVP is nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. If this is effective for pregnant women, I suppose it would help all others who suffer from nausea and vomiting for one reason or the other like motion sickness.
Ginger is one of those roots that are a must have in your kitchen if you are on the path for healthy living. The benefits always far outweigh the side effects. Always start with a small amount and work your way up. Be sure to always check with your medical doctor before consuming.