Health and beautyMedicinal plants

Ginger Has Been Used For Thousands Of Years. What Are Its Health Benefits?

Health Benefits Of Ginger:  While ginger is often used to enhance the flavor of foods such as marinated chicken, soup, grilled fish and even chocolate, the spice also has some surprising health benefits that some peoples have known about for centuries.

It’s been used as a cooking spice in certain regions for more than 4,000 years, but in places like China, it’s also been used for some 2,000 years to treat specific health conditions. Today, the plant’s benefits are appreciated the world over.

“Ginger is originally from southeast Asia but is now grown anywhere in the world where there is a tropical climate,” says Vivian Chen, MD, BSc, a nutrition consultant and founder of Plateful Health.

Also Read: Health Benefits 0f Chicory: 9 Surprising Benefits Of Chicory

What is ginger?

Ginger is a plant with a thick, knotted stem called a rhizome. Its tan-colored root is what’s commonly added to culinary dishes or taken as a dietary supplement, though its leaves are also edible and appreciated for their distinct flavor. The raw root is usually sliced, grated, steamed or juiced and “used for cooking and for making tea,” says Lisa Young, PhD, RDN, an adjunct professor of nutrition at New York University and author of “Finally Full, Finally Slim.”

Health Benefits Of Ginger

Health Benefits Of Ginger, It’s dried and powdered form is also popular as a supplement that many people take as a gummy or capsule. Ginger oil is yet another version of the plant − it can be taken orally or applied topically. “Ginger is a versatile spice that can be enjoyed in a variety of ways,” says Jen Messer, a nutrition consultant and registered dietitian at Jen Messer Nutrition.

What is ginger good for?

Beyond it’s culinary usefulness, ginger has many proven health benefits. “Ginger is an abundant source of bioactive compounds like gingerol and shogaol, which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties,” Chen says. It’s perhaps best known as a treatment against nausea relating to morning sickness, motion sickness, and post-anesthesia or chemotherapy-related nausea, but has also been shown to help with menstrual cramps, relieve stiffness and improve function related to arthritis. “It even improves metabolic health by improving blood sugar balance,” explains Chen.

Health Benefits Of Ginger, Medicinal plants, Young says ginger can help with digestion and immune function as well. “Eating ginger helps improve digestion while reducing bloating, and it helps our body protect against infections and illnesses,” she explains.

The plant may also improve heart health, help with cognitive function and memory, reduce discomfort due to its “analgesic properties that may help reduce muscle pain and soreness,” Messer says, and may even be a natural aphrodisiac − though some research is still ongoing.

“Several scientific studies have been done to examine the effects of ginger in a variety of diseases and conditions,” says Jamie Bering, MD, a gastroenterologist at Mayo Clinic in Arizona. “While some of these studies have conflicting conclusions on the health benefits of ginger, its use may help improve several conditions.”

Health Benefits Of Ginger

Is it OK to take ginger daily?

While there is “currently no standard recommended amount of ginger,” explains Bering, the general recommendation is to take no more than 4 grams of ginger daily, including food sources. Pregnant women are advised to take no more than 1 gram of ginger daily and ginger is not recommended for children under age 2.

Medicinal plants, Adults taking more than 4 grams of ginger per day may experience gastrointestinal issues “including reflux, heartburn and diarrhea,” says Young.

Health Benefits Of Ginger, Messer cautions that taking too much might also have blood-thinning effects and says that even lesser amounts of ginger could interact negatively with certain medications. “It is important to talk to your healthcare provider to determine the appropriate amount for your specific needs,” she says, “and to consider any potential interactions with medications or existing health conditions.”

Also Read: The 12 Best Herbs and Spices for Better Health

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