Ginger Tea or Ginger Beer… Here are Some Health Benefits of Ginger
Love it, or hate it – ginger root can rock your health.
The simple root – scientifically called Zingiber officinale – has been dug up (literally) for its health properties and spicy, pungent scent-flavor since the beginning of time. For thousands of years, Arabic, Indian, and Asian healers prized ginger as fare and medicine. Closely related to turmeric and cardamom, the tropical plant was effectively used to relieve nausea and vomiting caused by illness and seasickness, across Southeast Asia.
But just because ginger has been around for some time does not signify it is a cure-all for your current health. It should be used in addition to a healthy diet, daily exercise, and regular visits to your doctor.
What you need to know about ginger
It can act as an anti-inflammatory
That spicy, pungent scent-flavor we speak of is ginger’s “calling card.” Gingerol, that is, is a compound that has antioxidant properties to help support your immunity (also similar to the compound in hot peppers called capsaicin) – reducing inflammation for several chronic conditions, according to recent studies.
One small study suggested that ginger helped reduce the growth of a cancerous tumor, while another study showed a reduction in many inflammation markers in the colon, which the authors suggested could lower the risk of colon cancer.
It can treat nausea
Long approved, one major benefit of ginger is helping symptoms of nausea and vomiting. Additionally, gingerol is known for improving gastric motility (the passing of food through the body) and suppressing muscle spasms, which aids the turning stomach.
It can ease menstrual pain
Ladies: ginger suppresses the production of chemicals that make your uterus contract – causing cramped menstrual pain.
In a 2015 study, scientists reviewed previous research looking at the effects of ginger on menstrual pains and concluded that 750 to 2000mg of ginger powder can help ease discomfort during the first three to four days of the menstrual cycle.
It can regulate cholesterol, helping with weight loss
To feel better with ginger is a bonus, but when it can help lessen longer-term health risk factors, even better. Some international studies have shown ginger can aid in regulating cholesterol, fasting blood glucose and blood pressure. Ginger can also assist appetite and one study proves it may have helped male participants with weight loss efforts.
How to use ginger
Ginger can be a great addition to many recipes, including sauces, soups, salads, and other veggie dishes. It can also be used in beverages like homemade ginger tea (or non-alc ginger beer). The popular “golden milk” can also include ginger to give it an additional anti-inflammatory kick.
It is probably best to obtain ginger from the actual root, whether it is wholly raw, minced, grated, or garnished, to reap the most benefit. Sure, well-built mules or whiskey-ginger highballs could provide some kind of well-being.
Just because the benefits of ginger are well-documented, for some people, more is not necessarily better. Those who take blood thinners, including aspirin and anyone who frequently uses NSAID medications like ibuprofen; certain medications for diabetes, or who are prone to gallstones should speak with a physician before consuming ginger.
Based in NYC, Alana Tielmann is an expert writer and brand educator of wine and spirits. Her words live in Chilled Magazine, Thirsty Media, Tales of the Cocktail, and elsewhere. She also makes an annual appearance in Forbes, as well as impressive whiskey cocktails at home. Follow along @alanatielmann.