Ginger is a root plant that contains 6-gingerol and 8-gingerol, which are bioactive compounds with thermogenic properties. These compounds boost metabolism and fat burning, which can help to promote weight loss.
Because it is a potent anti-spasmodic, ginger helps to relax the stomach muscles that cause indigestion, nausea and vomiting. It also contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action which can help to prevent and treat diseases like high blood pressure, reflux and arthritis.
Ginger can be purchased at open markets, natural health stores and grocery stores. You can purchase it fresh, dehydrated or in powder form to use in teas, smoothies, yogurt, soup or salads. Ginger can also be found as an essential oil or in supplement capsules.
The main health benefits of ginger include:
1. Help with weight loss
Ginger contains gingerol, which is a bioactive compound with thermogenic properties. It boosts metabolism and stimulates fat burning, which promotes weight loss.
In addition, ginger is a potent diuretic that stimulates the elimination of excess fluid, which can help to relieve water retention.
2. Fight heartburn and intestinal gas
Ginger contains chogaol, gingerol and zingerone, which are bioactive compounds with anti-inflammatory, carminative and antiemetic properties. They help to relax the stomach and intestinal muscles, and decrease stomach acid, making it a great option to ward off heartburn and intestinal gas.
Check out other home remedies for heartburn that you can use to treat and prevent further episodes.
3. Prevent diabetes
Because it contains zingiberene, gingerol and curcumin (which are phenolic compounds with potent antioxidant action), ginger can help to protect pancreatic cells from free radicals. This helps to regulate insulin levels and prevent insulin resistance or diabetes.
4. Improve nausea and vomiting
Ginger contains antiemetic properties that help to empty the stomach. This can help with managing nausea and vomiting that can occur during pregnancy or chemotherapy treatment.
5. Treat and prevent gastritis and GERD
Ginger is a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory that helps to fight stomach inflammation. This is beneficial for the treatment of gastritis and ulcers.
In addition, ginger also has antiemetic properties, which can help with stomach emptying and prevent reflux or indigestion.
6. Prevent cancer
Due to is great quantities of zingiberene, curcumin, farnesene and gingerol (which are bioactive compounds that possess antioxidant activity), ginger can help to fight free radicals throughout the body. This helps to reduce the development and multiplication of cancerous cells.
7. Manage blood pressure
Ginger contains soothing, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, vasodilating and anticoagulant properties, which help to improve contacting and relaxing of arteries. This can promote better circulation and regulate blood pressure.
Ginger can also inhibit the enzyme the converts angiotensin, which is responsible for the contraction of blood vessels. This can prevent increases in blood pressure.
8. Fighting infections
Due to its bactericide and antimicrobial action, ginger is a great complement for the medical treatment of respiratory diseases, like the flu, cold, asthma and bronchitis.
Ginger also helps to treat mouth and throat infections, like pharyngitis, tonsillitis, periodontitis and gingivitis.
9. Relieve muscle pain
Cineol and borneal are bioactive compounds present in ginger that have a strong analgesic action that can help to relieve muscle pain.
Ginger also contains anti-inflammatory and soothing action, which can manage pain related to arthritis, rheumatism and arthrosis.
10. Prevent cardiovascular disease
Ginger contains anti-inflammatory compounds that prevent the formation of fatty plaques in the blood vessels. This can improve blood circulation and prevent disease like atherosclerosis, heart failure and heart attack.
In addition, the antioxidants present in ginger also eliminate excessive free radicals, which inhibit the oxidation of fat cells and help to control cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood.
11. Relieve menstrual cramps
Ginger contains cineol and bornol, which are compounds with analgesic action. Consuming ginger prior to or at the start of your period can help to relieve cramps.
12. Helps to treat inflammatory diseases
Ginger contains bioactive compounds, like chogaol, zingerone and gingerol, which contain anti-inflamamtory properties. Therefore, ginger is a great complement for the treatment of inflammatory diseases like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis.
Ginger can complement the medical treatment of various diseases due to its anticoagulant, antioxidant, vasodilatory, expectorant, analgesic, digestive, anti-inflammatory, antiemetic, antitussive, astringent, carminative, antipyretic and antispasmodic properties.
How to take
Ginger can be taken in fresh, dehydrated or powdered form and added to recipes such as soups, juices, yogurts, cakes, sauces, cookies, salads, breads and hot drinks. It can also be prepared as a tea, syrup or essential oil.
1. Ginger tea
Ginger tea can be used to combat nausea and vomiting, improve digestion, decongest the airways and relieve dry coughs.
- 2 to 3 cm of grated fresh ginger
- 200 mL of water
Additionally, ginger tea can also be made with other herbs, such as lemon, cinnamon or mint.
Place the ginger and water in a pot and bring to a boil for 8 to 10 minutes. Turn off the heat, cover the pot and, when it is warm, strain and then drink. You can drink a maximum of 3 cups of this tea per day.
2. Ginger powder
Powdered ginger can be used to prepare teas. To do this, simply place 1 tablespoon of powdered ginger in 1 liter of boiling water. Powdered ginger can also be added to preparations such as cakes, breads, cookies, soups, juices and yogurts.
3. Ginger syrup
Ginger syrup is a home remedy that can be used to relieve pain, discomfort, cough and fever in cases of flu, colds, sore throat and stomach ache. It has anti-inflammatory and analgesic, antipyretic and expectorant effects.
- 25 g of fresh peeled ginger, sliced or 1 tablespoon of powdered ginger
- 1 cup (tea) of brown sugar
- 100 mL of water
Place the water and sugar in a pot and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring just until the sugar dissolves completely. Turn off the heat, add the ginger and stir well with a spoon. Wait for it to cool and take 1 teaspoon of ginger syrup 3 times a day.
4. Ginger supplements
Ginger supplements are available in the form of tablets or capsules and are indicated to treat nausea, vomiting, menstrual cramps, arthritis or sore throat.
The general recommended amount of ginger capsules is 250 mg to 2 g per day, divided into 2 to 4 doses per day or as directed by your doctor. This supplement should be taken orally, with a glass of water, for the duration of treatment advised by your doctor.
5. Ginger essential oil
Ginger essential oil can be used by diluting 3 to 5 drops of the essential oil in 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil (olive, coconut or almond) and applying it to the skin. Massage it into the skin to treat muscle pain or rheumatic pains.
Another way to use ginger essential oil is to dilute 15 drops of the oil in 3 tablespoons of milk or vegetable drink and dissolve the mixture in a bathtub. You can soak and relax in it for 20 minutes.
Common questions about ginger
Some common questions about the use of ginger are:
1. Is eating ginger bad for you?
When consumed in excess, ginger can cause upset stomach in children and people with a sensitive stomach. Excess intake can also cause drowsiness.
2. Does ginger thin the blood?
Eating ginger regularly can help 'thin' the blood and should therefore be avoided by people taking anticoagulant medications such as warfarin, as it can increase the risk of bleeding.
3. Does ginger increase blood pressure?
Ginger does not increase blood pressure and can, in fact, improve blood pressure. However, people who use medication to control their blood pressure should only consume ginger under medical advice, as it may interfere with the effect of the medication.
4. Does ginger help you lose weight?
Ginger has natural thermogenic action and, therefore, can help accelerate metabolism and consequently energy expenditure, and can be useful in helping to lose weight, especially if accompanied by a healthy diet and regular physical activity.
Read more about how to take ginger tea for weight loss.
Healthy ginger recipes
Check out some delicious ways you can incorporate ginger into your diet below:
1. Gingerbread cookies
- :2 cups (tea) of whole wheat flour
- 1 tablespoon of powdered ginger
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder
- Grated nutmeg to taste
- ¼ teaspoon of chemical baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon of salt
- 100 g butter at room temperature
- ⅓ cup (tea) of brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 4 sheets of 30 cm of baking paper
- Wheat flour to sprinkle the countertop
Place the wheat flour, ground ginger, ground cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, yeast and salt in a bowl, mix well and set aside. Place the butter and sugar in another bowl or a blender and beat at medium speed until a homogeneous cream is formed. Add the egg and beat for another 2 minutes.
Reduce the mixer speed and add the dry ingredients little by little, beating until a very smooth dough forms. Place a little flour on a piece of baking paper and transfer half of the dough. Sprinkle a little wheat flour over the dough and cover with another piece of paper. Press the dough gently and roll it out, with a rolling pin, until it is 0.5 cm high. Do the same with the other half of the dough.
Place the dough in the fridge to chill for 2 hours. Preheat the oven to 180 ºC. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and cut the cookies into the desired shape. Turn the dough over and peel off the paper. Place the cut dough on a baking tray, leaving a space of 0.5 cm between each cookie, and place in the oven to bake for 15 minutes. Remove the baking dish from the oven, let it cool and then serve.
2. Pickled ginger
- 400 g of fresh ginger
- 1 cup (tea) of white vinegar
- 1/2 cup of sugar
- 6 cups (tea) of water
- 1 teaspoons of salt
Peel the ginger and cut into very thin slices. Place the ginger in a pot, cover with half the water and heat until it starts to boil. Drain the ginger and let it cool. In another pot, add the vinegar, water and sugar and heat over low heat until it boils. Let it cool and add the cooked ginger.
Place the entire contents in a sterilized glass jar and cover tightly. Leave the preserve at room temperature for 2 days and then store in the refrigerator, consuming within 3 months.
3. Ginger water
Ginger is a great way to flavor water and promote weight loss.
- Sliced ginger
- 1 L of water
Slice the ginger and add it to 1 liter of water. Let it soak overnight. Strain and consume throughout the day, without sweetening.
4. Ginger juice with lemon and mint
This recipe is easy to prepare and can be a great option to cool off on hot days.
- 1 tablespoon of lemon peel
- 300 mL of lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon of peeled ginger
- 1 cup of mint tea
- 150 mL of warm water
- 1200 mL of cold water
First prepare the mint tea with the leaves and hot water and then blend all the ingredients in a blender, strain and serve chilled.
Possible side effects
The excessive consumption of ginger, over 5 g per day, can cause some side effects which include stomach ache, changes to heart rate, diarrhea and drowsiness.
Contraindications for use
Ginger is not indicated for those with a history of gallbladder stones or hemorrhagic diseases. It should not be used by those who take anticoagulants, as it can increase the risk for bleeding.
People who take blood pressure or diabetes medication should use ginger under the supervision of a doctor, as it can interfere with the medication action. Inappropriate use can lead to low blood pressure and hypoglycemia.
During pregnancy, the maximum recommended dose of ginger is up to 1 g per day for a maximum of 3 consecutive days. Ginger should also not be consumed close to the due date, as it may increase the risk for bleeding.