Everything You Need to Know, from the Ginger Experts
Your culinary friends love its zippy taste, yet perhaps you’re left nodding along while secretly wondering, what is ginger? From its impressive flavouring abilities to its health benefits, here’s everything you need to know about ginger, from the ginger experts. You may have heard nauseated, pregnant women raving about, or noticed this weird-shaped root-like thing in the grocery produce aisle, but you are about to dig up some pretty cool facts as to why ginger is one of the most popular herbal medicines on the planet. Plus, we’ve got how to use ginger in the kitchen, and on the go, to help you enjoy more health.
What is Ginger?
Ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe) is a well-known herbaceous plant. Ginger is the common name used to describe the rhizome (underground stems) of the plant. It’s got fantastic flavor; hence, it is widely used in many cuisines. Ginger is a great way to add a zip to salad dressings and smoothies, and warmth to curries and soups. Yet, what’s most interesting about ginger, is not its flavor (we’ll get back to the tasty part, later), but its benefits as herbal medicine. Traditionally, ginger has been used for centuries to relieve common health problems from pain to nausea.
5 Ways Ginger is Good for You, According to Experts
Researchers reviewed over 100 studies and found that ginger is good for your health in a number of ways:
- Improvement of nausea and vomiting in pregnancy
- Metabolic syndrome
- Digestive function
- Colorectal cancer markers
Is Ginger Healthy for You?
Hiding underground, in the stems of a ginger plant, are some really cool naturally occurring compounds that researchers have found can improve your health. What is ginger good for? According to the European Committee on Herbal Medicinal Products, ginger prevents nausea and vomiting in motion sickness, and for mild complaints of the gut (bloating, flatulence) in adults. How does ginger help your stomach and gut feel better? Researchers think ginger works its tummy-soothing magic by way of blocking serotonin, a hormone, from contracting the smooth muscles inside the stomach and gut.
Ginger is healthy for you in other ways too, says the science experts. Ginger contains many health-promoting compounds, such as terpenes, polysaccharides, lipids, and fibres. Research has accumulated data showing ginger possesses many positive biological effects on our body:
- Cardiovascular protective
- Respiratory protective
It might not get you excited to learn about gingerols, shogaols, and paradols, but these phenolic compounds in ginger have researchers thrilled: these compounds have impressive anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. Why is this so exciting? Researchers explain that the studies show ginger has the potential to prevent various cancers. Talk about a tasty way to promote health! Of note, more research is needed to determine which types of cancer, how much ginger, and in what format is helpful. (But, you can bet our ginger experts, here at The Ginger People, will have their rhizomes wide open looking for the latest quality research to share with you on our blog.)
How Can Ginger do so Many Healthy Things?
It’s because ginger contains so many different natural plant compounds, each capable of interacting with the body. In case your inner geek is curious, here are a few ways ginger is able to influence your health:
- Some compounds in ginger are capable of helping airways (bronchioles) in the lungs dilate, potentially helping with some respiratory disorders, such as asthma, suggests research.
- Ginger appears to prevent lipid accumulation and the formation of fat cells, and regulation of energy metabolism; hence ginger’s anti-obesity benefits suggested by scientists.
- You’ll love the help ginger gives your cardiovascular system – ginger appears to help lower levels of blood lipids, such as cholesterol.
Ginger may be a secret weapon for blood sugar control, and may be a promising adjuvant therapy for people with type II diabetes mellitus and metabolic syndrome, say researchers.
What’s the Best Way to Eat Ginger?
Ginger has a truly distinctive flavor that isn’t quite spicy, nor is it sweet. You could describe it as a bit peppery, so then, what is ginger good in? Whether you’re in the mood for a warm bowl of Roasted Butternut Squash and Ginger Soup, the sweet and spicy delight of Chewy Ginger Snaps, or a refreshing glass of Ginger Lemongrass Mint Spritzer there are many ways to incorporate ginger into your everyday healthy eating plans. As for what’s the best way to eat ginger, there are more ways to eat ginger than the minced ginger, ginger syrup, and crystallised ginger mentioned in these recipes. If nausea is troubling you, you could use an anti-nausea pharmaceutical, or go for a more natural solution, like ginger. Chewing on a slice of raw ginger isn’t fun, but a Gin Gins® Ginger Chew is a tingly, enjoyable way to treat a belly ache or bout of nausea. For a shot of fresh ginger on the go, try Ginger Shots
Now, you’re no longer wondering about ginger. Instead, you’re a rhizome-savvy, healthier, zippy, recipe-making, ginger guru.
- Bioactive compounds and bioactivities of ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe). Foods 2019 May 30;8(6):185.
- Ginger on human health: a comprehensive systematic review of 109 randomized controlled trials. Nutrients 2020 Jan; 12(1): 157.
- Ginger: Zingiber officinale Roscoe, rhizome. European Medicines Agency 2013, July 12.
- Anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory effects of ginger in health and physical activity: review of current evidence. Int J Prev Med 2013 Apr; 4(Suppl 1): S36-S42.
- Effects of ginger and its constituents on airway smooth muscle relaxation and calcium regulation. Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol 2013 Feb; 48(2): 157-163.
- Effects of ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe) on type 2 diabetes mellitus and components of the metabolic syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med, 2018 Jan.
- Ginger prevents obesity through regulation of energy metabolism and activation of browning in high fat diet-induced obese mice. J Nutr Biochem 2019 Aug;70:105-115.
Allison Tannis MSc RHN: Known for her deliciously geeky words, Allison’s books and articles are read around the world by those curious where are the most nutritious (and delicious) places to stick their forks. More at allisontannis.com. Follow @deliciouslygeeky.