Health Benefits Of Ginger
There are hardly any cuisines in the world that don’t use ginger. Over the ages, ginger has also been used in different cultures for its multifarious properties that not only serve as health tonics but are also used in medicines for various ailments.
Ginger is a core ingredient for several therapeutic treatments in alternative medicine. Contemporary medicine has also recognized the benefits of this rhizome and it is being incorporated in daily life as an active ingredient in dietary supplements and in products such as ginger extracts, teas, capsules and dried roots.
Ginger, also known by its botanical name Zingiber officinale, is a topical plant that carries green-purple flowers and rhizome (an underground stem). Ginger is a rich source of several bioactive substances stratified as phenolics. These potent antioxidants work against oxidative stress in the biological systems and contain several non-volatile pungent compounds like gingerones, paradols, gingerols and shogaols.
These bioactive components have anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, anti-blood clotting, anti-tumor, angiogenesis regulatory properties, and anti-microbial activities.
These ingredients and properties make ginger extremely beneficial for human health. It also provides an important boost to the immune system. It’s anti-inflammatory properties reduce the risks of infections including periodontal infections like gingivitis and periodontitis. Regular intake of ginger also protects from influenza virus and pathogens that cause common cold.
Use of ginger is also associated with reducing muscular stiffness and progression of muscle and joint pain.
Ginger helps in digestion and reduces nausea in pregnancy, chemotherapy and motion sickness. It also helps in treating loss of appetite, dysentery, diarrhea and heartburn.
Diabetes patients can significantly benefit from ginger as it helps in regulating blood glucose levels. Ginger also helps in cutting down high cholesterol levels and consequently contributes towards improving cardiac health to reduce risks of heart diseases.
From ancient times, use of ginger has been associated with pain relief and it is particularly effective in treating menstrual pain. It is also used in pain-relieving medications such as mefenamic acid and ibuprofen.
Anti-cancer properties of ginger also make it an effective treatment option for pancreatic, colon, ovarian, breast and prostate cancer.
Consuming fresh gingers helps in fighting off Respiratory Syncytial virus (RVS) which commonly causes respiratory infections.
Ginger also helps in improving cognitive function of the human brain, particularly by protecting it from the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
The Role Of Ginger In Blood Glucose Level Regulation
The role of ginger in controlling glucose levels is significant for diabetics. Studies show that use of ginger supplements help in improving fasting blood glucose levels and in regulating insulin responses. Regular use of ginger help is lowering circulatory levels of apolipoprotein A-1, apolipoprotein B, hemoglobin A1c and malondialdehyde which are core determinants of blood glucose hemostasis.
A study published in Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine observes that glycemic control properties of ginger are manifested when bioactive components inhibit activities of core carbohydrate metabolism controlling enzymes. This also improves insulin release and sensitivity in the system. 1
This activity leads to increased glucose uptake by the skeletal muscle and peripheral adipose tissues. Furthermore, lipid metabolism regulation and lipid lowering activity of ginger also plays a prominent role in reducing insulin resistance in diabetes patients.
A study published in the Journal of Ethnic Foods found that the use of ginger root supplement helps in reducing fasting blood glucose level and hemoglobin A1c levels that makes it useful in diabetes management. 2
Another study from the British Journal of Nutrition found that treating diabetes-induced rats with 500 mg/kg of ginger extract helped in lowering serum glucose levels 3. Ginger also helped in lowering cholesterol and triacylglycerol levels in diabetes-induced rats. These rats also lost weight, their urination and excessive water-intake also showed improvement. This evidence shows that ginger not only helps in regulating blood glucose levels, but also helps in reversing health complications associated with diabetes.
- Li, Y., Tran, V., Duke, C., & Roufogalis, B. (2017). Preventive and Protective Properties ofZingiber officinale(Ginger) in Diabetes Mellitus, Diabetic Complications, and Associated Lipid and Other Metabolic Disorders: A Brief Review.
- Daily, J., Yang, M., Kim, D., & Park, S. (2017). Efficacy of ginger for treating Type 2 diabetes: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials.
- Al-Amin, Z., Thomson, M., Al-Qattan, K., Peltonen-Shalaby, R., & Ali, M. (2006). Anti-diabetic and hypolipidaemic properties of ginger ( Zingiber officinale) in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. British Journal Of Nutrition, 96(04), 660-666. http://dx.doi.org/10.1079/bjn20061849