Ginger is a flowering plant that has been used for centuries for its culinary and medicinal properties. The rhizome or root of the ginger plant contains active compounds like gingerol, shogaol, and zingerone that give ginger its unique flavor and health benefits. Blending fresh ginger into smoothies, juices, and other drinks is an easy way to reap the many benefits this superfood has to offer.
Chronic inflammation is associated with many diseases including arthritis, cardiovascular disease, and even cancer. The phenolic compounds in ginger have powerful anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce inflammation throughout the body. Studies have found that ginger suppresses the inflammatory response by inhibiting the production of inflammatory cytokines and enzymes.
|Study||Key Findings on Ginger’s Anti-Inflammatory Effects|
|Randomized controlled trial in knee osteoarthritis patients (Pham et al., 2019)||– Taking ginger supplements reduced inflammation markers IL-6, IL-8, TNF-α, and CRP|
|Meta-analysis of 8 studies on ginger for osteoarthritis (Zhu et al., 2019)||– Ginger was effective at reducing subjective pain, joint stiffness, and swelling|
|In vitro study on gingerol (Abdullah et al., 2022)||– Gingerol inhibited TNF-α induced inflammatory responses in human lung epithelial cells|
The research indicates that ginger’s anti-inflammatory powers can help tackle inflammatory conditions and improve overall health.
Supports Immune Health
Ginger also contains bioactive compounds that may boost immune function. Studies indicate that ginger stimulates immune cells that help fight infection and prevent chronic disease.
In one randomized trial, taking ginger supplements for 3 months increased serum antioxidant levels while decreasing oxidative stress markers in overweight men (Shirani et al., 2019). The antioxidants in ginger can neutralize free radicals that damage cells and lead to disease.
Ginger also has antimicrobial properties that may inhibit the growth of bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Test tube studies demonstrate that fresh ginger extract has antiviral activity against respiratory syncytial virus (Chang et al., 2013) and anti-fungal effects against Candida albicans (Omran & Esmailzadeh, 2009).
Overall, ginger supports immune defense and helps protect against pathogens that can make you sick. Adding ginger to your diet may help reduce risk and severity of infectious illnesses.
Ginger has traditionally been used to ease digestive issues like nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and constipation. The gingerols, shogaols, and other compounds it contains can relax gastrointestinal muscles to enhance transit and neutralize stomach acids to reduce reflux, gas, bloating, and other symptoms.
|Study||Ginger’s Effects on Digestion|
|Meta-analysis of 5 trials in pregnant women (Viljoen et al., 2014)||– Taking ginger significantly reduced nausea in early pregnancy|
|Double-blind RCT in patients undergoing laparoscopic cholecystectomy (Nanjundaiah et al., 2020)||– Ginger administration alleviated postoperative nausea and vomiting|
|Systematic review of 5 studies (Weidner & Sigwart, 2000)||– Ginger stimulated gastric emptying and antral contractions in patients with indigestion|
Research confirms ginger’s ability to relieve many different types of digestive woes, from morning sickness to upset stomach. Adding it to your diet can support healthy digestion.
May Aid Weight Loss
Ginger may also promote weight loss and fat burning. Compounds like gingerol and shogaol boost thermogenesis and metabolism, which increases calorie expenditure. They can also suppress appetite by modulating hormones like ghrelin.
In one study on overweight men, taking 2 grams of ginger powder per day led to significant reductions in body weight, waist circumference, BMI, and hip ratio after 12 weeks (Mansour et al., 2012).
Another study found that overweight women who took gingerol supplements for 45 days experienced greater weight loss and improvements in insulin resistance compared to a placebo group (Mohammadzadeh Honarvar et al., 2019).
While more research is needed, ginger shows potential as a natural weight loss aid due to its ability to rev up metabolism and enhance fat burning.
May Lower Blood Sugar
Ginger appears to provide benefits for managing blood sugar levels as well. It can mimic insulin by increasing glucose uptake in tissues. Ginger also improves glycogen storage while inhibiting enzymes involved in gluconeogenesis, which is the production of glucose in the liver.
In a randomized trial of type 2 diabetics, taking 2 grams of ginger powder per day substantially reduced fasting blood sugar and HbA1c compared to placebo after 12 weeks of treatment (Arablou et al., 2014).
Other studies demonstrate that ginger extract can prevent diabetic complications like excessive inflammation and oxidative stress that can lead to tissue damage (Shidfar et al., 2015).
Thus, ginger may aid glycemic control and help protect against diabetic complications in patients with diabetes. More human research is needed to confirm effects.
May Lower Cholesterol
High cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease. Some evidence indicates that ginger can reduce cholesterol levels, potentially lowering cardiovascular disease risk.
In a 45-day study in patients with hyperlipidemia, taking 3 one-gram ginger supplement capsules daily caused significant reductions in total cholesterol, triglycerides, and LDL (bad) cholesterol (Arablou et al., 2014).
Ginger may lower cholesterol by inhibiting its absorption in the gut and production in the liver. It can also prevent the oxidation of cholesterol, which makes it more likely to stick to artery walls (Fuhrman et al., 2000).
While cholesterol-lowering medications are usually needed to treat high cholesterol, ginger may help maintain normal cholesterol levels when combined with a healthy diet and lifestyle.
As an anti-inflammatory, ginger can also help reduce pain. The compounds gingerol and shogaol have analgesic properties that make it effective for a variety of pain conditions.
In a clinical trial, taking 250 mg capsules containing ginger powder 4 times per day significantly reduced pain severity and related disability in patients with osteoarthritis after 3 months of treatment (Haghighi et al., 2019).
Other research shows that applying ginger compresses and massaging ginger oil can relieve muscle soreness and pain (Black et al., 2010). Ginger also reduced pain from delayed onset muscle soreness when taken for 5 days prior to engaging in resistance exercise (Mashhadi et al., 2013).
Thanks to its ability to inhibit inflammatory compounds that sensitize pain receptors, ginger can temporarily relieve many different types of pain, from osteoarthritis aches to post-workout muscle soreness.
May Benefit Brain Function
Ginger may even boost brain health and cognition. The anti-inflammatory effects of its active compounds can help protect the brain against oxidative damage and inflammation, which are risk factors for neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Animal studies have found that ginger extract can preserve cognitive function by reducing oxidative stress and inflammation in the brain (Wattanathorn et al., 2011; Lim et al., 2012). It also increased antioxidant levels and enzyme activity in the brains of rats to prevent neuronal loss and cognitive decline.
While human studies are limited, one trial found that taking 400–800 mg ginger extract capsules for 2 months significantly improved attention and working memory in middle-aged women (Saenghong et al., 2012).
Ginger’s ability to fight inflammation and oxidation give it potential as a preventative treatment for age-related cognitive decline.
Blended ginger is simple to make but provides a host of health benefits. The phenolic compounds it contains make it a potent anti-inflammatory that may help relieve pain, improve digestion, enhance immunity, and protect heart health. Ginger has also been shown to aid weight loss, blood sugar control, brain function, and more.
Adding just 1–2 teaspoons of grated ginger or ginger juice to your daily smoothies, juices, teas, and other beverages is an easy way to leverage its medicinal properties. Ginger has an excellent safety profile and minimal side effects, making it easy to incorporate into your routine.
So if you want to fight inflammation, stay healthy, and feel your best, consider consuming ginger daily. Blended ginger gives you an easy and delicious way to unlock its many health-promoting effects.