Ginger may have many health benefits due to its anti-inflammatory, anti-nausea, and other properties. It can help you lose weight, manage arthritis, reduce menstrual symptoms, and more.
Ginger comes from a flowering plant native to Southeast Asia. It adds flavour to sweet and savoury foods and has many health benefits. It belongs to the Zingiberaceae family and is closely related to turmeric, cardamom, and galangal.
The rhizome (underground part of the stem) is the part commonly used as a spice. It is often called ginger root or, simply, ginger.
You can use ginger fresh, dried, powdered, or in oil or juice form. It is found in many recipes as well as processed foods, home remedies and cosmetics.
What are the 11 health benefits of ginger?
Here are 11 health benefits of ginger that are backed by scientific research.
1. Contains gingerol, which has powerful medicinal properties
Ginger has long been used in various forms of traditional and alternative medicine. It has been used to aid digestion, reduce nausea, and help fight the flu and colds, to name a few.
Ginger’s unique scent and flavour come from its natural oils, the most important of which is gingerol.
Ginger is the main bioactive compound in ginger. It is responsible for many medicinal properties of ginger.
According to research, ginger has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. For example, it can help reduce oxidative stress, which results from too many free radicals in the body.
What is ginger oil and does it have any health benefits?
Ginger is rich in gingerol, a substance with powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
2. May improve brain function and protect against Alzheimer’s disease
Some research suggests that 6-shogaol and 6-gingerol – compounds in ginger – may help prevent degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis.
Oxidative stress and chronic inflammation may be major drivers of Alzheimer’s disease and age-related cognitive decline.
Some animal studies suggest that the antioxidants and bioactive compounds in ginger may inhibit inflammatory responses that occur in the brain. This can help prevent cognitive decline.
3. May help reduce the risk of cancer
Ginger may have anti-cancer properties due to gingerol and various other antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds.
There is some evidence that these compounds may help reduce the risk of gastrointestinal cancers, such as colorectal, pancreatic, and liver cancers.
In one study, 20 people at high risk for colorectal cancer took 2g of ginger daily for 28 days. At the end of the study, the lining of the participants’ intestines showed fewer cancerous changes than expected.
However, most studies relating to ginger and cancer risk have not involved humans.
4. May help lower cholesterol levels
High levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol are linked to an increased risk of heart disease.
In a 2022 review, of 26 trials, researchers found that consuming ginger significantly lowered triglycerides and LDL cholesterol, while increasing HDL cholesterol. Even doses below 1,500 mg per day were effective.
However, it can be difficult to include such high doses of ginger in your diet, especially if you don’t like the taste of ginger.
What is ginger water and is it useful?
There is evidence that ginger can significantly lower LDL (bad) cholesterol.
5. May treat morning sickness and other forms of nausea
Ginger can be effective against nausea, including pregnancy-related nausea, commonly known as morning sickness.
Ginger may help relieve nausea and vomiting in people undergoing certain types of surgery, and it may also help reduce chemotherapy-related nausea.
Although generally safe, it is best to speak with a doctor before taking large amounts if you are pregnant.
Ginger may not be suitable during pregnancy for those close to labour and those with a history of pregnancy loss or vaginal bleeding. It may also not be suitable for people with bleeding disorders.
6. May help with weight loss
Ginger may play a role in weight loss, according to human and animal studies.
A 2019 review concluded that ginger supplementation significantly reduced body weight, waist-to-hip ratio, and hip ratio in overweight or obese people.
Ginger’s ability to influence weight loss may be due to certain mechanisms, such as its potential to reduce inflammation.
Get tips on using ginger for weight loss.
According to animal and human studies, ginger can help improve weight-related measurements. These include body weight and waist-to-hip ratio.
7. May help with osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis (OA) involves degeneration of the joints, leading to symptoms such as joint pain and stiffness.
One review concluded that ginger may help reduce pain and disability. Participants took 0.5 to 1 gram of ginger daily for 3 to 12 weeks, depending on the study. Most had a diagnosis of knee osteoarthritis.
However, other research has not found evidence of the same effects.
However, many stopped the treatment because they didn’t like the taste of ginger or because it upset their stomachs.
8. May help treat chronic indigestion
Ginger can help manage indigestion by speeding up the passage of food through the stomach.
Functional dyspepsia occurs when a person has indigestion – with symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, feeling full, belching and nausea – for no clear reason. It often occurs with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
In one study, scientists found that consuming a ginger and artichoke preparation before eating a main meal significantly improved symptoms of indigestion in people with functional dyspepsia, compared to taking a placebo.
What are the uses of ginger tea?
Ginger appears to speed up stomach emptying, which may benefit people with indigestion and associated stomach discomfort.
9. May reduce menstrual pain
Ginger can help relieve dysmenorrhea, also known as menstrual pain.
Some research has suggested that ginger is more effective than acetaminophen/caffeine/ibuprofen (Novafen) in relieving menstrual pain.
However, further studies are needed.
10. May help fight infections
The antimicrobial properties of ginger might make it useful for fighting bacterial and fungal infections.
Laboratory studies have shown that it may be effective against:
•Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus), responsible for various maladies
•Escherichia coli (E. coli), a cause of intestinal infections
•Candida albicans (C. albicans), which cause fungal infections in the mouth, vagina, etc.
However, further studies are needed.