From Nausea and Brain Health to Cancer: 11 Benefits of the Almighty Ginger

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ginger benefits

From Nausea and Brain Health to Cancer: 11 Benefits of the Almighty Ginger

This unassuming spice lies freely in most homes. Often unused to its maximum potential. While some love it, some despise it due to its strong flavor. But today, it is being studied for its highly anti-inflammatory benefits when it comes to treating colorectal cancer too. It is even found in various organic cosmetics. It has been used in Ayurveda, Chinese medicine, Persian medicine, and even allopathic drugs. Did you guess what spice I am referring to?

I call it the almighty ginger.

It’s funny how when science and medicine study ginger by breaking it down in labs and publishing reports, we are convinced to eat it but we do not trust what nature has given us abundantly and has worked for civilizations.

The power of ginger(ol)

The power of ginger lies in a specific bioactive component that makes it highly anti-inflammatory and effective for colds and coughs and even cancer. It is gingerol.

Photo Credits: Freepik/@stockimagefactorycom

For cold, coughs, and flu

Ginger has been used as a home remedy to break colds, coughs, and fevers for the longest time. It is antibacterial and antiviral. In the olden days, our great-grandparents would brew ginger water to keep colds, coughs, and flu at bay. Ginger water is excellent at reducing inflammation in the lungs. You can either cut thin slivers of ginger and put them in soups, sabzis, curries, salads, or even make ginger tea.

How to make ginger tea or ginger water?

  • Take a one-inch piece of ginger. Peel, cut, and mash it in a pestle. Let it boil with 2 cups of water.
  • If you are an adult, you can choose to add tea leaves – black, green whatever you like. If you are making it for a child, avoid the tea leaves.
  • You can even opt to make plain ginger tea. I prefer to add a pinch of cardamom powder, Sri Lankan cinnamon powder, and a little bit of nutmeg.
  • You can also add turmeric, ajwain (bishop’s weed), or jeera (cumin) to ginger water.

For nausea

From ancient times, ginger was also used as a remedy for nausea. For women who experience morning sickness, it can be effective. If you are in your third trimester or close to your due date, ginger isn’t the best choice for you. If you have issues like excessive vaginal bleeding, or blood clotting or have gone through miscarriages, ginger is not your friend. Before you decide to take it, keep your health professional in the loop.

Those who struggle with motion or sea sickness can benefit from it too. Even mountain climbers at high altitudes where oxygen levels drop can carry pieces of ginger and inhale it to overcome nausea. Yes, you can smell it or add it to your foods and concoctions.

We recommend many of our patients going through chemotherapy and radiation have a nice warm glass of ginger water with a little bit of lemon and cinnamon. Some also prefer adding a dash of turmeric. We also ask them to sniff fresh ginger or have this prepared ginger tea pre, during, or post-chemo or radiation. This has helped many of them with fabulous results to manage nausea.

For arthritis

Since it is highly anti-inflammatory, ginger is also good for those struggling with arthritic flare-ups. Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory lifestyle condition. Ginger works as a natural pain killer by reducing inflammation in your body.

For hypertension

Ginger is effective for people with hypertension as well. Am I saying you should stop taking your high blood pressure medication and have ginger water to lower it? Absolutely, NO. But ginger can help you over and above them when paired with lifestyle changes. Scientific studies show that it has blood pressure-lowering properties. Ginger also acts as a natural calcium channel blocker and ACE inhibitor (both of which are used to treat high blood pressure)

To protect your heart

Most people blame cardiac arrests on high cholesterol. But not many realize that cholesterol alone isn’t to blame. The number one cause of heart attacks and strokes is uncontrolled inflammation. Ginger is anti-inflammatory and full of antioxidants. It protects your heart by lowering triglycerides and bad cholesterol (LDL), reducing blood pressure, and fighting oxidative stress and free radicals.

For those undergoing radiation and chemotherapy

Scientific journals and research show that ginger has radioprotective and chemoprotective properties. We all know that in their honest attempt to kill cancer cells, radiation and chemotherapy can also affect healthy cells and cause toxicity and DNA damage. We must build immunity with vitamins and minerals from natural foods that can neutralize this. Ginger plays a massive role. It can protect cellular health during chemotherapy and radiation. Recent studies show that when it comes to cancers from the prostate to breast and even colorectal cancers, ginger shows favorable action in treatment and management.

Now, this in no way means that it can replace these conventional treatments. But it can support you as you go through them. Gingerol is highly inflammatory and anti-cancerous. It can induce cell apoptosis (cell death). In cancer, many of your cells lose the ability to self-destruct when they become toxic. Ginger and its active compounds have the ability to induce cell apoptosis, reduce the proliferation of cancer cells, and arrest the cell cycle.ginger-benefits

For better gut health

Gingerol is used in many medications and nutraceuticals for gut health. It is freely available in our kitchen pharmacies. Gingerol is used today in the treatment of colorectal cancers by reducing inflammation in the gut. If you struggle with gut issues, a concoction of grated ginger with a dash of cinnamon, cumin, and bishop’s weed relaxes the stomach.

Another of my favorite concoctions is a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar mixed in a tall glass of lukewarm water. I add a pinch of ginger powder, cinnamon powder, and sometimes a dash of psyllium husk. It is nutritious for your gut.

For enhanced digestion and low stomach acid

There’s a reason why the Japanese have ginger before their meals. If you go to a Japanese restaurant or have sushi, you are served slivers of pink ginger before the meal. It stimulates the production of digestive enzymes and more stomach acid. Many people today suffer from low stomach acid and mistake it for excess acid. When you have low stomach acid, you cannot break down protein properly or kill bacterias and pathogens that get into your system, for instance, the dangerous H pylori bacteria enabling them to breed. Consuming ginger before a meal will help you produce the right amount of stomach acid.

For menstrual cramps

If you have menstrual cramps or pains during your period cycle, it is a common remedy to have ginger water or add ginger to your foods.

To lower blood sugar levels

Ginger is also effective in helping manage blood sugar levels among Type 2 diabetics, over and above lifestyle modifications. You are often warned that if you are already on medications, consume ginger carefully. Why? Ginger can drastically lower your blood sugar levels. To avoid going into hypoglycemia, keep your doctor in the loop.

Powerful for your brain

Studies show that ginger can protect glial cells and increase acetylcholine activity in your brain. It helps boost memory and learning, and other cognitive skills. Its highly anti-inflammatory and antioxidant nature is being scientifically studied and documented to fight free radicals and oxidative stress to prevent and manage dementia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and so on.

ginger benefits

Other ways to use ginger

  • You can use fresh ginger, dried ginger powder, or ginger oil.
  • Add slivers of ginger to your salads, soups, curries, sabzis, stir-fries, lentils, and other preparations.
  • You can even pickle ginger with the right amount of good quality salt and oils and have this before a meal. It works as a fantastic prebiotic to boost your gut health. Studies also suggest that having ginger before your meal can reduce appetite, keep you satiated, and avoid overeating.
  • You can also make a prebiotic using a combination of apple cider with a little bit of ginger, garlic, lemon, and cinnamon.
  • You can even have candied ginger by mixing quality ginger and chemical-free jaggery. You can chew on them when you feel nauseous.
  • Make ginger tea or try the different various concoctions I shared with you.
ginger benefits
Photo Credits: Freepik/@stockimagefactorycom

Try these ginger recipes:

Many people complain about ginger creating heat in their bodies. Any food can be heaty when not consumed right. If you are allergic to ginger, make an informed choice and avoid it. Several other spices and herbs also have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that you can have. You don’t have to be stuck on something that doesn’t suit you or feel negative.

Don’t overdo ginger. Even a one-inch piece is sufficient for all of us in our food. If you have severe acidity, don’t cut pieces of ginger and eat it raw because you will experience extreme acidity. It would be better to boil it into a calming tea or add it to your food.

Nature has blessed you with abundance. These little changes are not expensive and easy to adopt. Use them the right way.

ALSO WATCH: Why Our Patients Add Ginger To Their Meals

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