The Benefits And Harms Of Ginger: 8 Scientific Facts

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The Benefits And Harms Of Ginger: 8 Scientific Facts
The Benefits And Harms Of Ginger: 8 Scientific Facts

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Video: 10 Amazing Health Benefits of Ginger 2022, December
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  1. What you need to know about ginger
  2. Why is ginger good for you?
  3. Ginger: contraindications
  4. Doctor's comment

The material was commented and checked by Alexandra Razarenova, nutritionist, nutritionist, therapist, member of the Russian Union of Nutritionists, Nutritionists and Food Industry Specialists

Interesting facts about ginger

Ginger is the root of a herbaceous perennial plant that looks like a reed. It belongs to the ginger family. It also includes other herbs from which spices are made - turmeric, cardamom and galangal.

When grown, ginger requires a lot of water and sun, but besides this it is quite unpretentious, and therefore today it is cultivated in warm countries. It enjoys the greatest popularity in its historical homeland - in Southeast Asia. Almost a third of the world's ginger is grown in India.

Ginger is considered one of the most ancient spices. The inhabitants of Southeast Asia began to grow it several millennia ago. Ginger is mentioned in ancient Chinese, Indian and Persian medical treatises as a tonic, antipyretic and cleanser.

Photo: Bluebird / Unsplash
Photo: Bluebird / Unsplash

© Bluebird / Unsplash

Ginger is most often sold as ripe roots, dried powder, pickled or candied chunks. You can also find ginger oil or root extract commercially. Also, ginger is included in many products - Asian sauces, soda, spice mixtures. In order to fully reveal the healing effect of the spice, doctors recommend using fresh roots.

Why is ginger good for you?

With a caloric content of 80 kcal per 100 g, ginger contains many substances and trace elements useful for humans.

Nutrients (per 100 mg) [1]

  • Proteins - 1.5 g
  • Fat - 0.73 g
  • Carbohydrates - 1.7 g
  • Fiber - 2 g
  • Water - 79 g

Vitamins and trace elements (from the daily value)

  • Vitamin C - 5 mg (5.6%)
  • Vitamin E - 0.3 mg 1.7%)
  • Vitamin K - 0.1 mg (0.1%)
  • Vitamin B3 - 0.7 mg (33%)
  • Vitamin B6 - 0.2 mg (8%)
  • Folic acid - 11 mcg (3.8%)
  • Vitamin B5 - 0.2 mg (4.1%)

Minerals in ginger

  • Calcium - 16 mg (1.6%)
  • Iron - 0.6 mg (3%)
  • Magnesium - 43 mg (11%)
  • Phosphorus - 34 mg (4%)
  • Potassium - 415 mg (16%)
  • Sodium - 13 mg (1%)
  • Zinc - 0.34 mg (3%)
  • Copper - 0.226 mg (22.6%)
  • Magnesium - 0.43 mg (21%)
  • Selenium - 0.7 mcg (1%)
  • Manganese - 0.229 mg (11%)

1. Helps with colds

Ginger warms and induces active perspiration. A cup of ginger tea is unlikely to be a full-fledged cure for colds, but it will help warm up and soothe symptoms of the disease.

2. Ginger is good for digestion

In traditional medicine, ginger is often used as a remedy for gastrointestinal disorders. It has been proven that the spice helps with bloating - its active substances accelerate the breakdown of gases and their elimination [2]. Also, ginger stimulates the production of pancreatic enzymes, improving digestion and speeding up metabolism. Finally, ginger is an effective remedy for nausea, including the one that occurs during pregnancy or during chemotherapy [3] [4].

Photo: Julia Topp / Unsplash
Photo: Julia Topp / Unsplash

© Julia Topp / Unsplash

3. Effective in diabetes

Several studies have shown that ginger can lower blood sugar levels [5]. In addition, the anti-inflammatory properties of ginger help alleviate the secondary symptoms of diabetes - edema and inflammation.

4. Ginger helps to normalize weight

The spice lowers blood sugar and stimulates the production of enzymes responsible for breaking down fat [6]. Ginger has also been shown to prolong feelings of fullness [7].

5. Reduces pain during menstruation

For centuries, ginger has been used as an effective remedy to combat dysmenorrhea, a pain syndrome that accompanies menstruation. According to a 2009 study, adding 250 mg of ginger (a small pill-sized bite) two to three times a day can relieve dysmenorrhea pain as effectively as the popular pain reliever ibuprofen [8].

6. Ginger helps against arthritis and inflammation

Ginger contains gingerol, a phenolic compound that gives the root a pungent flavor. It has strong anti-inflammatory properties [9]. In traditional medicine, ginger is used to treat joint diseases - arthritis and arthrosis. A 2014 study proves that ginger is effective in relieving pain in inflamed joints, as well as increasing their mobility [10].

Photo: Pixabay / Pexels
Photo: Pixabay / Pexels

© Pixabay / Pexels

7. Ginger Kills Bacteria

Gingerol is also an effective antibacterial agent. Scientists have shown that ginger protects the oral cavity from several types of bacteria that cause periodontal disease and other gum disease [11]. Gingerol is also effective against fungal diseases such as candidiasis [12].

8. Protects the heart

Ginger has a positive effect on the cardiovascular system - it thins the blood, lowers blood pressure and protects the heart from coronary artery disease. Moreover, according to a 2017 study, the more ginger a person consumed, the more pronounced this effect was [13].

People with a healthy gastrointestinal tract can eat ginger daily, but no more than 3-4 g. Pregnant women are not recommended to consume more than 1 g. However, those who suffer from stomach or kidney problems should check the permissible dosage of the spice with a doctor. Fresh ginger can be replaced with drugs or dietary supplements, which contain its extracts.

Contraindications for ginger

Ginger can help with many diseases, but you need to be very careful with it. And you certainly shouldn't turn it into a cure for all diseases.

There is no evidence for the benefits of ginger applied as a compress - the effects are only seen when taken orally. The safety of using ginger in high doses during pregnancy, especially in the later stages of pregnancy, is controversial [14].

The main danger of ginger is its negative effect on the digestive system. Like any spicy foods, it irritates the stomach and can cause heartburn, diarrhea, and bowel upset. Many therapies for ginger involve eating it on an empty stomach or in high doses. It can cause stomach problems even in healthy people. A single overdose of ginger can lead to diarrhea, upset stomach and bloating, as well as irritation and allergic swelling in the mouth.

Carelessness with ginger can be very dangerous for people suffering from diseases of the gastrointestinal tract. Spice in any form is strictly contraindicated for people with gastritis, diverticulitis, colitis and enterocolitis, stomach ulcers, liver and pancreas diseases.

Photo: Anna Shvets / Pexels
Photo: Anna Shvets / Pexels

© Anna Shvets / Pexels

In addition, people with serious cardiovascular diseases need to be careful with ginger. In large quantities, the spice leads to sharp surges in pressure, and also reduces blood clotting and increases the risk of severe bleeding.

Ginger contains a small amount of oxalates - salts of oxalic acid [15]. They are harmful to people with bowel and kidney disease, especially those with urolithiasis with an increased risk of oxalate stones.

Doctor's comment

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Image

Alexandra Razarenova - nutritionist, nutritionist, therapist, member of the Russian Union of Nutritionists, Nutritionists and Food Industry Specialists

Is ginger good for pregnant women?

It all depends on the duration of pregnancy. In general, ginger is considered an excellent helper for the expectant mother as a source of vitamins and nutrients. In the first trimester, its moderate use (no more than 1 g) in the form of, for example, an additive to tea will be a useful addition to the diet both in terms of enriching taste and as a remedy for toxicosis due to its property to reduce the manifestations of nausea and vomiting.

It is necessary to introduce the product into the diet gradually, especially if the woman did not use ginger before. The safest option is a prepared drink with a fresh root, as dried ginger powder can increase the excitability of the nervous system.

At a later date, ginger should be consumed only after consulting with your leading specialist, since ginger tends to thin the blood, and this is fraught with the development of bleeding during delivery.

Ginger is contraindicated in pregnancy if the expectant mother has a history of hypertension (cannot be used simultaneously with medications that lower blood pressure, stimulating the cardiovascular system), cholelithiasis (it is possible to cause stones to move and block their ducts), bleeding disorder (from - for the risk of bleeding), peptic ulcer of the duodenum or stomach (can cause a relapse of the disease), allergic reactions to ginger root.

Does ginger affect the brain and cardiovascular system?

Due to its rich vitamin and mineral composition, ginger can be classified as a product that has a positive effect on the functioning of the brain and cardiovascular system. This is also associated with an improvement in the properties of blood, which is undoubtedly important both for blood vessels and for tissue gas exchange in general. Ginger has an anti-sclerotic effect, lowers blood cholesterol levels, prevents the formation of fatty deposits on the walls of blood vessels and has a beneficial effect on the dissolution of existing cholesterol plaques.

Enhancing cognitive functions is one of the main properties of the herb. With its regular use, concentration of attention increases, memory is strengthened, and speech functions improve.

Ginger contains gingerol. It has anti-inflammatory effects, helping to reduce the amount of free radicals in the body. Thus, ginger slows down aging and brain cells, resists the development of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.

Ginger has a lot of positive properties, but you shouldn't consider it as a panacea. It can be used as an adjunct to therapy, the feasibility of which must be discussed with the attending physician.

How to consume ginger to minimize gastrointestinal harm?

If we are dealing with diseases of the gastrointestinal tract in the phase of exacerbation, then I would recommend excluding ginger from the diet and adhering to medical nutrition, which will ensure a speedy recovery. And in this case, the use of spicy seasonings, which include ginger, is unacceptable.

In a state of remission, the main principle is moderation. It is permissible to use ginger in the form of non-concentrated solutions; in dry form, it can be used in small quantities as a seasoning for dishes. But if the recommendations for therapeutic nutrition indicate the restriction of spicy foods, then in this case it is worth refusing to use ginger so as not to provoke a relapse of the disease.

Are the beneficial substances of fresh ginger retained in pickled form or when brewing tea?

Fresh roots are most useful. But you can find ginger root on sale in several forms: fresh, dried and pickled. It all depends on the purpose of its use and storage method.

Dried root works well as a spice. Pickled is equally suitable for cooking and for the prevention of diseases. In terms of properties, it is slightly inferior to fresh, besides, ingredients for conservation are used in the marinade. Still, pickled ginger retains many active trace elements and nutrients. If ginger is exported from producing countries, then it is better to buy it than dried.

For medicinal purposes, it is best to choose fresh ginger. But you should do it carefully. Go for heavier, firmer and denser roots. If the storage and transportation conditions have been violated, the root becomes dryish, shriveled, and begins to rot. Such a fruit is not suitable for consumption.

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