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10 Ways in Which Ginger Can Benefit Your Health

Ginger is one of the most delicious spices on the planet but it also has a number of qualities that can benefit your health. Its status as a 'healing food' has been known throughout areas of Asia for many centuries, but it is only in recent decades that its remarkable medicinal uses have become known across the wider world. Here are ten welcomed health benefits of this widely available spice that prove that ginger is a super food that you will want to add to your regular diet!

Several sprigs of giner

1. It Can Ease All Types of Nausea and Sickness

Ginger has a long history of use as a defense against various types of nausea, including sea sickness, nausea caused by air travel and  even morning sickness in pregnant women. It can also relieve nausea and vomiting experienced by cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and feelings of sickness after surgery. You don't need much, just 1-2 grams will do. Some studies have even concluded that it is as effective as prescription medicines in easing symptoms.  

2. It Is a Legendary Healer of Aching Muscles and Pains

Numerous studies have concluded that ginger can play an active role in reducing the onset of day-to-day aches and pains. It can be applied directly to the skin but another great way to ease your aches is to drop some essential ginger oil into your bath and let it do its magic while you relax. It won't have an immediate impact but use it for a couple of weeks and you will start noticing the benefits!

3. It Can Help Keep the Brain Sharp

Oxidative stress and chronic inflammation are believed to be two factors which contribute to the onset of Alzheimer's disease and age-related reductions in mental sharpness.  Studies have shown that ginger can both fight inflammatory episodes that occur in the brain and even have a direct, positive effect on mental function, improving reaction time and memory.   

4. It Can Help Unblock a Congested Nose and Chest

Cold Sufferer Sneezing

There is little more annoying than a week spent sniffing and spluttering due to a upper-respiratory problem, but luckily ginger is here to help. Its ability to fight the symptoms of a cough are also said to rival many over the counter medicines so next time you have a common cold, dosing up on cups of ginger tea could be just the answer. And when there's a cold snap, the warming benefits of the tea will give you an extra boost as well!

5. It Fights Indigestion and Heart Burn

Recurrent stomach and chest pain from heartburn can ruin anyone's day. It is believed that one of the chief causes of indigestion is the inability of the stomach to process and digest food quickly enough. Luckily, ginger contains ingredients that appear to speed up the emptying of the stomach by up to 50%, greatly reducing the risk of indigestion. So if you suffer with this persistent problem, just 1.2 grams of ginger shortly before eating can help you enjoy your meal without concern.

6. It Is Great for Your Joints

There is plenty of research that relates ginger to the easing of pain and stiffness in the joints. Studies have shown that arthritis sufferers experienced reduced pain and required less medication when they took ginger extract. Other studies have shown that ginger mixed with cinnamon, mastic and sesame oil can ease joint pain when applied externally and directly to an affected area.

7. It Has An Active Ingredient That Fights Infection

Ginger Tea

Ginger contains 'gingerol', a bioactive substance that can contain the growth of many different types of harmful bacteria. It is particularly effective against a large amount of bacteria found in the mouth and so eating ginger can guard against many types of inflammatory gum diseases. Fresh ginger has also been found to be effective against respiratory infections.

8. It Is Great for Circulation, Cleansing and Even Your Libido!

Ginger is a great 'warming agent' and gets your blood circulating in a way that benefits your health. It can cleanse your skin, stimulate your kidneys and bowels to help keep the body clean and clear and can even have a positive effect on your libido. In fact numerous sources actually credit it as a genuine aphrodisiac so a little ginger soup before bed might just do you wonders!

9. It May Help Protect You from Heart Disease & Reduce Blood Sugar Levels

Research into these health benefits of ginger is still in its infancy, but studies have shown that 2 grams of ginger a day can significantly reduce blood sugar levels in diabetics. The same research concluded that it can also reduce levels of oxidized lipoproteins and ApoB/ApoA-I ratio, both considered to be key indicators of heart disease. Although further research is needed into these benefits, there is evidence ginger can help you maintain a healthy heart. 

10. It Can Reduce Bloating and Flatulence

Ginger and lemon

Ginger stimulates many of the factors needed for effective digestion, including bile, saliva and gastric juice. This naturally reduces the build up of gas after a meal, ensuring that you don't feel bloated. It is not only preventative - a cup of ginger tea has muscle relaxant properties that can help release gases trapped in the digestive system slowly and safely. The food passes through your system more quickly ensuring you both feel better and avoid any embarrassing 'releases'!

So How Can You Add Some Ginger to Your Diet?

With all those qualities, you will want to add some ginger to your diet! Ginger tea is the obvious choice but here are three other ways you can use ginger to make sure you you gain these benefits...

Rice meal

1. Put it in Your Juice

Grate some up and stick it in your blender with your favorite fruits. It tastes particularly great with lemons and/or oranges.

2. Stir It in with Your Rice

Looking to give your stir fry rice a tasty boost? Throw in some ginger! Add garlic and coriander for some extra flavor too.

3. Give Your Dessert an Extra Kick

Sprinkle some ginger over your souffle or sorbet to give it an extra burst of taste.

(Photo by V. Kiatying-Angsulee: freedigitalphotos.net)

Sources - Authority Nutrition and Foodmatters
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