The Health Benefits of Ginger

Here our nutritionist Ed explains some of the great health benefits of ginger, something we use regualrly on our fasts!

 Ginger, always prominent on our juice menu, is the root of the plant Zingiber officinale, native to South-east Asia, but nowadays grown in more tropical areas around the world. Ginger has a long history as a folk medicine for all different kinds of ailments. Science is catching up with the traditional folk medicine as several studies have shown the benefits of ginger.

The addition of ginger to your diethelps in controlling your blood sugar levels as ginger decreases the spike in your blood sugar after a meal. Daily consumption of ginger also leads to a drop in your insulin level due to increased insulin sensitivity of the cells. This means that your body has to produce less insulin to control the blood sugar level.

Ginger is also beneficial for women with PMS symptoms. In one study, Women with menstrual cramps reported similar benefits with ginger as with Aspirin or Ibuprofen. Another study showed that when women with heavy menstrual bleeding, could cut their blood loss in half by consuming ginger.

In the same way as ginger reduces menstrual cramps, athletes that have ginger on their menu have a reduction in muscle pain after exercise, which leads to a faster recovery time. Ginger is also effective against nausea. Effective for motion sickness, and it is often recommended for chemo induced nausea.

Migraine headaches are another ailments for which ginger can be effective. Ginger actually showed to be just as effective in treating migraines as the commonly prescribed medication for migraine headaches. And all this for a fraction of the price and without the side effects.

Ginger has powerful anti inflammatory effects. On of the mechanism of action of ginger is through suppressing the action of the enzyme cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), an enzyme in the body converts arachidonic acid into inflammatory prostaglandins. This is similar to the way Aspirin and Ibuprofen work. However, these drugs also suppress the enzyme COX-1, which leads to gastrointestinal irritation. Ginger doesn’t suppress this enzyme and is actually protective for the gastrointestinal tract.

The amount of ginger used in these studies is on average a teaspoon of ginger powder a day, which makes ginger a very cheap alternative without any of the side effects of the prescription drugs. The studies used powdered ginger in capsule form so they could have a placebo control group which got capsules without the ginger powder. Ginger contains lots of anti-inflammatory components, the most potent, Shogaol, is more concentrated in ginger powder. As drying or heating of ginger increases this anti-inflammatory component.

Ginger in any form (dried, fresh or heated), is a healthy addition to your diet. We usually serve our guests twice a week a shot of ginger with apple. Ginger combines well with other root vegetables like carrots to make a delicious juice.

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