ginger

Ginger: Health benifits and dietary tips

 

Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a rhizome or root vegetable native to China, India, and Japan. It has been used as medicine and a condiment for cooking since the 1500s (1). Ginger is composed of predominantly water (79%), some carbohydrates (18%), protein (2%) and fat (1%). It also contains essential minerals and vitamins like vitamin B6, magnesium and manganese (2).

ginger root

The heaslth benefits of ginger

Ginger contains several bioactive compounds such as polyphenols (gingerols, shogaols, and paradols) and terpenes. These compounds are responsible for the numerous health benefits associated with the use of ginger (3). Some of the health benefits of ginger are as follows.

 

  1. Fight inflammation. Ginger’s polyphenols are potent anti-inflammatory compounds which shield the body against inflammatory diseases like arthritis and colitis. In arthritis, for example they decrease the production of leukotrienes which are known to promote inflammation of the joints (4).

  2. Protects against cancer. Ginger’s polyphenols are also powerful antioxidants that chelate free radicals responsible for cell destruction, thus protecting the body from oxidative stress which can cause cancer (4).

  3. Boosts the immune system. Eating raw ginger or drinking ginger tea is effective in decongesting the nasal cavity and relieving breathing problems that develop from common cold or other environmental allergies (5).

  4. Enhance weight loss. Gingerone, gingerol and shogaol, show anti-obesity activities. They prevent the adipogenesis, the process by which adipocytes (specialized fat-storing cells) are formed and accumulate at various sites of the body as adipose tissue. They also enhance the breakdown of fatty acids (3).

  5. Helps with bloating. Enzymes in ginger break up and expel gas produced during food digestion in the stomach, relieving bloating and abdominal discomfort (6).

  6. Helps to soothe acid reflux. Gingerols and shogaols enhance the production of anti-inflammatory cytokines which reduce gastric contractions, decrease swelling and relieve irritation of the gastrointestinal walls (7). These anti-inflammatory activities soothe the esophagus as inflammation and irritation of the esophagus provokes acid reflux (8).

Additionally, ginger improves movement of food in the gastrointestinal tract. By accelerating gastric emptying, the backward flow of food from the stomach to esophagus as is the case of acid reflux is eliminated (9).

  1. Relieves nausea. Gingerols and shogaols help to relieve nausea and prevent vomiting, thus it has been used by pregnant women to alleviate morning sickness (10).

 

Dietary tips for ginger

Ginger is used in varied ways in the different cuisines of the world. To enjoy the full benefits of ginger, here are some ways you can consume ginger (11,12, 13).

  1. In tea. Ginger tea is one of the most consumed beverages after coffee and green tea. Ginger tea is made by boiling grated or chopped ginger roots for a few. The water is strained, and a little honey is added to sweeten.

  2. In soups and sauces. Ginger adds flavor and taste to many foods when chopped or grated and added to the food during preparation.

  3. In fruit juices. Add ginger in juicer and juice together with your favorite fruits. Also, you can add ginger in your smoothies for a great spicy taste or to detox drinks

  4. In stir fries. Ginger can be chopped or grated as part of the vegetable included in stir fries.

  5. In toppings. You can add ginger to apple sauce and apple pies or combine with apple and sugar for use as topping for pancakes.

  6. In baked products. Ginger can be added as ingredient in the baking of gingerbread.

Ginger is a very nutritious root vegetable, with versatile culinary use worldwide. Moderate consumption is safe, but overconsumption can cause abdominal discomfort and heartburn in sensitive persons.

 

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REFERENCES

 

  1. Ginger. (n.d.). Retrieved April 3, 2022, from NCCIH website: https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/ginger

  2. FoodData central. (n.d.-d). Retrieved April 3, 2022, from Usda.gov website: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/169231/nutrients

  3. Mao, Q.-Q., Xu, X.-Y., Cao, S.-Y., Gan, R.-Y., Corke, H., Beta, T., & Li, H.-B. (2019). Bioactive Compounds and Bioactivities of Ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe). Foods (Basel, Switzerland), 8(6), 185. doi:10.3390/foods8060185

  4. Mashhadi, N. S., Ghiasvand, R., Askari, G., Hariri, M., Darvishi, L., & Mofid, M. R. (2013). Anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory effects of ginger in health and physical activity: review of current evidence. International Journal of Preventive Medicine, 4(Suppl 1), S36-42. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC3665023/

  5. Akimoto, M., Iizuka, M., Kanematsu, R., Yoshida, M., & Takenaga, K. (2015). Anticancer effect of ginger extract against pancreatic cancer cells mainly through reactive oxygen species-mediated autotic cell death. PloS One, 10(5), e0126605. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0126605

  6. Anh, N. H., Kim, S. J., Long, N. P., Min, J. E., Yoon, Y. C., Lee, E. G., … Kwon, S. W. (2020). Ginger on human health: A comprehensive systematic review of 109 randomized controlled trials. Nutrients, 12(1), 157. doi:10.3390/nu12010157

  7. Wei, T.-Y., Hsueh, P.-H., Wen, S.-H., Chen, C.-L., & Wang, C.-C. (2019). The role of tea and coffee in the development of gastroesophageal reflux disease. Tzu Chi Medical Journal, 31(3), 169–176. doi:10.4103/tcmj.tcmj_48_18.

  8. What are the 4 types of acid reflux? (n.d.). Retrieved February 5, 2022, from MedicineNet website: https://www.medicinenet.com/what_are_the_4_types_of_acid_reflux/article.htm

  9. Wu, K.-L., Rayner, C. K., Chuah, S.-K., Changchien, C.-S., Lu, S.-N., Chiu, Y.-C., … Lee, C.-M. (2008). Effects of ginger on gastric emptying and motility in healthy humans. European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology, 20(5), 436–440. doi:10.1097/MEG.0b013e3282f4b224

  10. Anh, N. H., Kim, S. J., Long, N. P., Min, J. E., Yoon, Y. C., Lee, E. G., … Kwon, S. W. (2020). Ginger on human health: A comprehensive systematic review of 109 randomized controlled trials. Nutrients, 12(1), 157. doi:10.3390/nu12010157

  11. Fresh ginger tea. (n.d.). Retrieved April 3, 2022, from Martha Stewart website: https://www.marthastewart.com/348798/fresh-ginger-tea

  12. 5 easy tips to include more ginger in your diet. (n.d.). Retrieved April 3, 2022, from NDTV Food website: https://food.ndtv.com/food-drinks/immunity-boosting-diet-5-easy-tips-to-include-more-ginger-in-your-diet-2224389

  13. Hirsch, J. M. (2011, October 28). Fresh ginger — off the beaten aisle. Retrieved April 3, 2022, from Food Network website: https://www.foodnetwork.com/fn-dish/recipes/2011/10/how-to-use-fresh-ginger

 

 

 

 

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