When stress has you tied in a knot, your digestion suffers. You know that ginger is one of the very best remedies for digestive complaints, but you may not know that you don’t have to wait for those moments to derive amazing benefits from ginger. You would benefit in several ways from adding it to your daily diet.
Is ginger really that good for digestion?
Ginger soothes digestion, helping to eliminate gas and relax the gastrointestinal tract. Ginger was shown in a 2005 study to be especially effective alleviating the nausea of morning sickness in the first trimester of pregnancy; only small amounts were necessary. Drugs can accomplish the same thing but also increase the risk of birth defects, so ginger is the better choice. In addition, ginger has proven more effective than Dramamine in reducing all symptoms of motion sickness, including nausea.
What else can ginger do for my overall health?
Ginger has several broad benefits for improving health:
- Ginger enhances immune function.
- Ginger is an anti-inflammatory agent.
- Ginger protects against colorectal cancer.
- Ginger reduces blood glucose in type 2 diabetics.
How does ginger improve immune function?
Ginger is a mild diaphoretic: it causes sweating. It also increases the activity of a gene, actively expressed in sweat glands, which produces a compound called dermicidin. Dermicidin-rich perspiration travels to the surface of the body, and there provides defense against Staph bacteria, E. coli, and certain fungi.
Ginger also contains phytonutrient compounds — gingerols — that have been found to kill ovarian cancer cells. Gingerols exert their effect by reducing inflammation and causing programmed cell death in these cancer cells.
So ginger reduces inflammation?
Yes, gingerols also reduce arthritis pain. In the arthritic individual, cells lining the joints and the cells of joint cartilage — chondrocytes — pump out cytokines and chemokines that potentiate inflammation. The phenol gingerol-6 curtails their production.
Gingerol-6 has also been shown to reduce NO (nitric oxide) synthesis, which in turn decreases subsequent formation of the potent free radical peroxynitrite implicated in lipid peroxidation and destruction of glutathione, a mainstay of the body’s antioxidant response system. Newer research suggests that gingerol-6 may also offer protection against colorectal cancer.
Does ginger really help control blood sugar?
In one study lasting a mere 12 weeks, subjects receiving only 1.6 grams of ginger — one-quarter teaspoon! — daily showed significant improvement in:
- Glycated hemoglobin readings, a standard measure of the effects of elevated blood glucose over time
- Fasting blood glucose
- Measures of insulin resistance
- Triglycerides and total cholesterol
- C-reactive protein and prostaglandin E2, markers of systemic inflammation
In addition, ginger was found to be very effective in blocking progression of prediabetes to type 2 diabetes. Since turmeric, another anti-inflammatory spice, has also been shown effective in improving insulin resistance, researchers are examining the connections between chronic inflammation, insulin resistance, and metabolic syndrome and its sequels.
So sip a little ginger tea daily, add ginger powder to your recipes, and juice fresh ginger root with your veggies for a delicious and healthful addition to your nutritional plan. Vibrant health has never tasted better!