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Ginger

By David Crocker

Diet and Exercise

 

Ginger is amid the most healthful and delicious herbs on the planet. Its zesty flavor spices up foods, teas, ales and can even be enjoyed alone as a snack.

Although often call “ginger root”, it’s a rhizome (a continuously growing horizontal stem), not an actual root. The flesh of the ginger rhizome can be yellow, white or red depending on the variety. It is a member of the Zingiberaceae family, which also includes cardamom, galangal (sometimes called Thai ginger) and turmeric. Ginger originated in the tropical rain forests of the Indian subcontinent to Southern Asia and was likely domesticated by the Austronesian people.

Although a fragrant and delectable kitchen spice, ginger lends many healthful benefits, including:

  1. Anti-inflammatory effects

Ginger is an anti-inflammatory, which means it reduces swelling. This may be especially helpful for treating symptoms of both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Folks may get relief from pain and swelling either by taking ginger by mouth, or by using a ginger compress or patch on the skin.

  1. May prevent cancer

Ginger contains naturally occurring nutrients called “gingerols” and “shogaols”. Shogaols have been of interest in medical research for their anticancer and anti-inflammatory benefits. Promising studies have examined their effects on colon, gastric, and breast cancers. Other studies show that bio-active molecules in ginger may slow down the growth of some cancers such as colorectal, gastric, ovarian, liver, skin, breast, and prostate cancers.

  1. Calms nausea

It’s not just an ole wives tale… ginger is an effective and safe therapy for nausea and vomiting, especially in the context of pregnancy, and as an adjuvant treatment for chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting.

  1. Lowers blood sugar

According to one study published in the Journal of Ethnic Foods, taking ginger may help reduce A1C levels, and fasting serum glucose levels in folks with type-2 diabetes. A1C measures what percentage of your hemoglobin is coated with sugar. A normal A1C level is below 5.7, but a level of 6.5 or more indicates diabetes. Another study suggests ginger may help your body use insulin more efficiently.

  1. Prevents free radical damage

Free radicals are unstable atoms, derived from normal metabolic processes, exposure to X-rays, and external pollutants. They can cause cell damage, and lead to illness and hasten the aging process. Ginger contains 40 antioxidant elements that combat free radical damage, while improving blood circulation, promoting collagen production, increasing skin elasticity and evening skin tone.

  1. Eases menstrual pains

One study revealed, women who took 1,500 milligrams of ginger powder once a day, for three days during their cycle felt less pain than women who didn’t. In fact, ginger can be about as effective at easing pain for menstrual cramps as ibuprofen, according to a 2009 study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary medicine.

  1. High levels of LDL

LDL (bad) cholesterol are associated with increased risk of coronary (heart) disease and stroke. One 2014 study demonstrated that ginger can lower total cholesterol and triglyceride (fat in the blood) levels, while yet another study in 2008 determined it can reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol blood levels, and boost HDL (good) cholesterol levels.

  1. Improved brain function

Ginger’s anti-inflammatory properties also protect the brain. Scientists have long recognized inflammation to be a symptom of degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s. According to a 2011 study published in Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, ginger may help decrease inflammation and improve cognitive function.

Questions? Contact David at dwcrocker77@gmail.com.