Ginger is a
superfood that has its roots (pun intended) in Southeast Asia. It has been used
to prevent and treat countless ailments over many centuries and, because of
this, is considered to be one of the healthiest spices on the planet. But how
does it work? Why is it so powerful? On this Superfood Spotlight we're going to
answer all that and more!
Ginger first began
being used before the 1st century in Southeast China. According to UCLA,
it was used to help with gastrointestinal distress (upset stomach, nausea,
etc.) and bronchitis. It's effectiveness and popularity took off like wild fire
(even in a time where Tik Tok didn't exist- that's how you know it's good!). It
soon spread to the other Pacific Islands and India, and by the 11th century was
famous in pretty much every populated area on the map.
ginger had back then certainly hasn't died out in a time where
"superfood" is a buzzword. However, now we have scientific proof that
ginger's hype is totally worth it! Let's dive into some of the major health
benefits of consuming ginger regularly:
#1: ANTI-INFLAMMATORY & ANTIOXIDANT
As we should know,
inflammation, acute or chronic, can have damaging effects on the body. Ginger
contains an oil known as gingerol that has powerful anti-inflammatory and
antioxidant properties. Consuming this oil in ginger can help reduce the
risk of many diseases caused by free radical damage, including rapid aging and
certain cancers. The inflammatory properties can also help with menstrual pain and stiffness
due to osteoarthritis.
#2 GASTROINTESTINAL DISTRESS RELIEF
Even without the use
of modern day technology, the people back in the early BCs understood the power
of the ginger root. Today, it has been scientifically
shown that ginger is highly effective against nausea. Unfortunately, there
isn't data showing that it aids with nausea caused by pregnancy.
non-pregnancy related nausea, ginger has been shown to treat chronic
indigestion. When food sits in your stomach for longer than it should you
can feel bloated or uncomfortable. Ginger takes that away by increasing the
rate that food is emptied from the stomach.
#3 IMPROVES YOUR NUMBERS
By the time you're
20 years old, you should be getting your numbers checked annually. Two of the
big numbers you should be aware of are your blood glucose (sugar) and your
cholesterol. If you've gotten your numbers checked recently and didn't like the
results, or want to keep up the good report cards, then ginger should become a
friend of yours. In one study it was
found that consuming 2 grams of ginger powder per day lowered fasting blood
glucose levels by 12%. That's a huge drop, especially if you're on the border
of pre-diabetes! Ginger also was found to drop
LDL (bad cholesterol) values in individuals. With decreased risks in
developing type 2 diabetes and hyperlipidemia, your risk for heart disease
(America's #1 killer) also decreases!
#4 PROTECTS THE BRAIN
I mentioned earlier
that free radicals increase the aging process. This is a big deal, especially
when it comes to the brain. A rapid aging process is thought to be
significantly linked to the development of Alzheimer's Disease. Ginger, as we
already know, can help with that anti-inflammatory aspect of aging. But, ginger
can ALSO help with improving cognitive functioning. One study found
that consuming ginger daily can help improve reaction time and memory.
I know what you're
thinking: let me get my hands on some ginger! I totally understand! In fact, I
understand that desire so much that I've compiled a list with some awesome
ginger recipes for you to try out. Pick one (or all) to make at home then share
what you've cooked up with us on Instagram!