The benefits of Ginger

In Blog, Health, Nutrition, Podcasts by Wendy Christien

Ginger originates from Southeast Asia and is used globally for its medicinal and food enhancing properties. It is rich in beneficial compounds that promote wellbeing and have the following health benefits: 

  • Anti-Inflammatory properties
  • Anti-microbial properties
  • Antioxidant properties
  • Nausea and digestive assistance
  • Blood sugar control
  • Cholesterol support
  • Weight support
  • Hydration

Along with turmeric, cardamom and galangal, it is part of the zingiberaceae (or zingiber) family. The root, or rhizome, is the part of the ginger that is used, and it can be dried, ground, juiced or used fresh as a spice or medicine.

Ginger can also be grown fairly easily by planting a piece that’s shooting in the ground. 

Gingerol, which is the primary bioactive compound in ginger that gives it its fragrance and flavor, also provides its medicinal properties. Gingerol is anti-inflammatory in nature and filled with antioxidant properties which can reduce oxidative stress.

The antioxidant benefits help to reduce the risk for heart disease, neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s and premature aging.

Ginger can effectively help to combat nausea and morning sickness and can settle digestive issues such as indigestion and stomach pain. It is thought to increase stomach emptying which plays a major role in relieving indigestion.

Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, ginger can also be helpful to reduce allergic reactions which are a result of inflammation. It can also be very effective in reducing muscle pain.

As with all herbs, spices, and natural medicines, over consumption can lead to certain side effects and some people will also be allergic to or intolerant of ginger.

Ginger can interact negatively with some medications, so it is always a good idea to check with your doctor before consuming large amounts or using it in supplemental form.

Some of the negative effects caused by ginger include heartburn, digestive discomfort such as pain or flatulence, and a burning sensation in the mouth.

Ginger is great to use to flavour water. To do this, chop your ginger with its skin on into small pieces and place it in a teapot or pot on the stove. Cover with filtered boiling water or bring it to the boil on the stove and leave it for about 10 minutes or until it is cooled. Remove the ginger from the water and drink it at your preferred temperature. The ginger can be left to steep longer if you prefer a stronger taste.

Alternatively, ginger is very versatile so can be added to foods, baked goods, and other beverages to enjoy its many health benefits.

Listen to my interview with Brad Kirsten from Radio Cape Pulpit on 24 June 2021 to learn more. Listen to my next interview on Thursday at 7.45am