Whether you buy it fresh from the store or have powder in your cabinets, ginger is a spice that all homes should have. Originally from Southeast Asia, ginger is delicious and packs a nutrient-rich punch that’s hard to beat.
From using it to make tea to cooking it alongside different meats, you can use ginger for almost anything in the kitchen. And, given the plethora of health benefits it offers, you’re going to want to do just that.
Here are seven evidence-based benefits of ginger.
1. Anti-inflammatory properties
Ginger has a history in traditional Asian medicine that stretches back thousands of years. Many of its positive health effects come from the presence of gingerol, a bioactive component.
Numerous studies show that gingerol can help reduce the number of free radicals in your body (1). This gives it and ginger, in general, powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
2. Help with nausea
Are you someone who experiences nausea from time to time? How about bouts of morning sickness? If so, ginger might be able to help. Studies show that just one gram of ginger can help people (and especially pregnant women) overcome nausea (2).
While ginger is safe, make sure to talk to your doctor if you plan on taking large amounts of it regularly.
3. Help with weight loss
While additional research is needed, some studies seem to indicate that ginger can help people lose weight (3). Preliminary research appears to draw a connection between ginger supplements, reduced body weight, and the waist-hip ratio.
Studies with rodents have yielded similar results.
4. Lower the chance of heart disease
Malondialdehyde (MDA) is a byproduct of oxidative stress. Studies show that ginger helps reduce MDA levels, as well as the Apolipoprotein B/Apolipoprotein A-I ratio (4). As high levels of both of these can lead to heart disease, ginger is an effective way to reduce your risk of developing it.
5. Alleviates chronic indigestion
People with chronic indigestion often experience continual pain and discomfort in their stomachs. Some medical experts believe that indigestion occurs when your stomach doesn’t empty fast enough. Studies show that ginger appears to speed the emptying process up (5).
Even if you don’t suffer from indigestion, ginger can help your body process and digest food faster than you otherwise would.
6. Reduced menstrual pain
Women have used ginger for menstrual pain, also known as dysmenorrhea, for centuries. Today, studies confirm that it has a positive effect on alleviating menstrual pain. Some even show that it’s as strong as pain medication, such as ibuprofen (6).
While there appears to be a solid connection, researchers are still trying to conduct additional studies with larger sample groups.
7. Lower cholesterol levels
LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, is another common cause of heart disease. While many people pay attention to foods that can increase LDL levels, not everyone knows that certain foods can also decrease it. Ginger is one such ingredient.
Research shows that ginger can lead to a reduced level of cholesterol in both humans and animals (7).
The spicy truth
While many superfoods are overrated, ginger is full of nutrients and bioactives that make it worthy of the name. All of the compounds it contains can benefit your health in myriad ways.
If you’re looking to prioritize your health and satisfy your taste buds, look into adding it into different recipes!