Why is ginger so good for us?
Ginger has both antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties and is loaded with antioxidants that can help reduce stress and damage to the body’s DNA. Gingerol is the main bioactive responsible for its medicinal properties.
Health benefits of ginger
Long used as a herbal/traditional medicine for a number of ailments, an increasing number of scientific studies show that the health benefits of ginger are more than an old wives’ tale. Ginger has been shown to nausea, including morning sickness and chemotherapy-induced sickness. For pregnant women, however, it seems to have no effect on vomiting due to morning sickness. One of the causes of indigestion is a delayed emptying of the stomach and ginger seems to speed this process up providing a relief to symptoms.
Women suffering from period pains may also want to give ginger a go. Studies have shown supplementing 250mg a day is as affective for period pains as painkillers such as paracetamol, ibuprofen and mefenamic acid.
Consuming ginger may also help with weight loss and obesity. One study in 2016 of 80 obese women found that supplementing 3g of ginger for 12 weeks helped reduce body mass index (BMI) and blood insulin levels (high insulin levels are associated with obesity). The same daily amount (2g) has also been shown to reduce HbA1c – a marker for type II diabetes, while higher levels (3g) have been shown to be beneficial in reducing high cholesterol
Sufferers of osteoarthritis have also seen a reduction in symptoms such as joint pain when supplementing with ginger (1g a day).
Other areas showing early promise in research include it having anti-cancer properties and helping with age-related cognitive decline.
How much ginger should we eat?
Most of the studies seem to have involved supplementing with between 1g and 3g of dried ginger – researchers have noted, however, that the taste of such high levels seems to have been a factor in some people abandoning the clinical tests.
Is there such a thing as consuming too much ginger?
Not really, particularly in its natural form. When supplementing, more than 5g a day can lead to complaints such as gas, heartburn and irritation of the mouth.
Is there anyone who should avoid having ginger?
Pregnant women should speak to their doctor before supplementing, as such those with a bleeding disorder and anyone who takes regular medication – especially those on blood thinners or taking medication for high blood pressure. If unsure, always consult a doctor, dietician or nutritionist.
Tips for incorporating more ginger in our diets
I like adding half a teaspoon of dried ginger in a morning smoothie and I regularly have a ginger tea: Just chop a few 5p-10p sized slices of ginger root and steep it in hot water. I find I can get 2/3 cups out of that by constantly refilling before the flavour goes. Otherwise, ginger is common ingredient in many Asian dishes.