Ginger is one of the most popular spices. It contains many active substances that strengthen the immune system and help with diseases. In this article, you will learn about the health benefits and harms of using ginger.
Little Bit About Ginger
Ginger is the root of a herbaceous perennial plant that looks like a reed. It belongs to the ginger family. It also includes other herbs from which spices are made – turmeric, cardamom, and galangal.
When grown, ginger requires a lot of water and sun. Besides this, it is rather unpretentious, and therefore today it is cultivated in warm countries. It enjoys the greatest popularity in its historical homeland – in Southeast Asia. Almost a third of the world’s ginger grows in India.
Ginger is present in stores as ripe roots, dried powder, pickled, or candied chunks. You can also find ginger oil or root extract commercially. Also, ginger is present in many products – sauces, soda, and spice mixtures. In order to fully reveal the healing effect of the spice, doctors recommend using fresh roots.
Why Is Ginger Good For You?
With a caloric content of 80 kcal per 100 g, ginger contains many substances and trace elements useful for humans. Let’s see some main health benefits of ginger.
Helps With Colds
Ginger warms and induces active perspiration. It does not mean that a cup of ginger tea is likely to be a full-fledged cure for colds. But it will help warm up and alleviate the symptoms of the disease. Therefore, in cold weather, having ginger tea is a healthy option.
Helps To Overcome Alcohol Addiction
Many people cannot afford inpatient alcohol treatment, and they look for alternatives. The ginger remedy is for those people. When a person tries to withdraw from alcoholism, the body demands sulfur, and the craving for alcohol increases. However, by eating or drinking ginger’s water, the body gets the desired amount of sulfur. It helps to minimize the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.
Good For Digestion
In traditional medicine, people used ginger as a remedy for gastrointestinal disorders. According to research, this spice helps with bloating. Its active substances accelerate the breakdown of gases and their elimination.
Also, ginger stimulates the production of pancreatic enzymes, improving digestion, and speeding up metabolism. Finally, ginger is an effective remedy for nausea, including the one that occurs during pregnancy or during chemotherapy.
Effective For Diabetes
Several studies reveal that ginger can lower blood sugar levels. Besides, the anti-inflammatory properties of ginger help to alleviate the secondary symptoms of diabetes – edema and inflammation. Therefore, doctors recommend eating ginger for diabetic patients.
Helps To Normalize Weight
A ginger root lowers blood sugar and stimulates the production of enzymes responsible for breaking down fat. Ginger also leads to a prolonged feeling of fullness. Due to this, a person’s craving to eat more food reduces. As a result, a person stays fit and healthy.
Reduces Pain During Menstruation
For centuries, people have been using ginger as an effective remedy to combat dysmenorrhea, a pain syndrome that accompanies menstruation. According to a 2009 study, adding 250 mg of ginger (a small pill-sized bite) two to three times a day can relieve dysmenorrhea pain. It is as effective as the popular pain reliever ibuprofen.
Helps Relieve Arthritis and Inflammation
Ginger contains gingerol, a phenolic compound that gives the root an intense flavor. It has strong anti-inflammatory properties. In traditional medicine, ginger is used to treat joint diseases – arthritis. A 2014 study proves that ginger is effective in relieving pain in inflamed joints, as well as increasing their mobility.
Gingerol is also an effective antibacterial agent. According to scientists, ginger protects the oral cavity from several types of bacteria that cause periodontal disease and other gum diseases. Gingerol is also effective against fungal diseases such as candidiasis.
Protects The Heart
Ginger has a positive effect on the cardiovascular system. It thins the blood, lowers blood pressure, and protects the heart from coronary artery disease. Moreover, according to a 2017 study, the more ginger a person consumes, the stronger his/her health gets.
People with a healthy gastrointestinal tract can eat ginger every day, but no more than 3-4 g. But pregnant women should not consume more than 1 g. However, those who suffer from stomach or kidney problems should check the permissible dosage of the spice with a doctor. You can replace fresh ginger with drugs or dietary supplements, which contain its extracts.
Harmful Effects Of Ginger
1. During Pregnancy
Ginger can help with many diseases, but you need to be very careful with it. And you certainly shouldn’t turn it into a cure for all diseases.
There is no evidence for the benefits of ginger applied as a compress – the effects are only seen when taken orally. The safety of using ginger in high doses during pregnancy, especially in the latter stages of pregnancy, is controversial.
2. Negative Effect On Digestive System
The main danger of ginger is its negative effect on the digestive system. Like any spicy foods, it irritates the stomach and can cause heartburn, diarrhea, and bowel upset. Many treatments for ginger suggest eating it on an empty stomach or in large doses.
It can cause stomach problems even in healthy people. A single overdose of ginger can lead to diarrhea, upset stomach, and bloating. It can also cause irritation and allergic swelling in the mouth.
3. Harmful For Gastrointestinal Tract
Carelessness with ginger can be very dangerous for people suffering from diseases of the gastrointestinal tract. This root in any form is not at all suitable for people with gastritis, diverticulitis, colitis, stomach ulcers, liver and, pancreas diseases.
Everything is healthy when we consume it in moderate amount, same goes for ginger. Though in some conditions, a person should abandon the use of ginger. Otherwise, the benefits of ginger outweigh its harms, especially in cold weather.