Ginger root is full of health benefits and has been used in traditional medicine for centuries. It’s cheap and widely available in supermarkets in different forms — fresh, dried, frozen, or as a powder. Ginger adds wonderful flavor to curries, stir fries and soups and is a great addition to herbal tea. Here are some of the root’s top health benefits:
Improves brain function
Ginger is full of antioxidants, which are essential for fighting the inflammation caused by free radicals. Brain disorders — including depression, anxiety, ADHD and Alzheimer’s — are linked to chronic inflammation of the brain, making ginger’s job as an anti-inflammatory useful for improved brain function. Ginger can also enhance brain function directly. A study of 60 middle-aged women taking ginger extract showed they had improvement in reaction time and working memory.
Reduces muscle pain and soreness
Ginger’s anti-inflammatory properties go beyond brain function. Studies have shown the root helps those suffering from arthritis. It can help in treating osteoarthritis of the knee and relieving joint pain from rheumatoid arthritis.
Reduces nausea and sickness
Ginger has been used as a remedy for sea sickness for years. It is also effective in treating morning sickness. In a review of 12 studies that monitored 1,278 pregnant women, taking ginger significantly reduced feelings of nausea. There’s also research to suggest that ginger can reduce vomiting post-surgery and in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.
Treats chronic indigestion
Ginger has long been used to alleviate stomach pain and as a carminative for removing excess gas from the digestive system, but it can also play a key role in dyspepsia (chronic indigestion). The reccurring discomfort is caused by delayed emptying of the stomach, and ginger has been shown to speed this up. One study of 24 healthy individuals taking 1.2 grams of ginger powder before a meal showed an accelerated emptying of the stomach by 50 percent.
Reduces risk of diabetes
There’s a positive link between the intake of ginger and reduction in blood sugar levels, regulation of insulin response in those with diabetes and improved metabolism. One animal study fed rats a mix of ginger and cinnamon and saw a reduction in bodyweight, among many other health benefits.