Ginger is among the healthiest, most delicious spices available to man. It is loaded with nutrients and bioactive compounds that have potential benefits to the body and the brain. Ginger is a flowering plant that originated from China and belongs to the zingiberaceae family which is closely related to turmeric, cardamon and galangal. The rhizome (underground part of the stem) is the part commonly used as a spice and that is what is referred to as ginger root or simply, ginger.
Ginger is a very popular spice high in gingerol (a substance with powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties). Scientific analysis show that ginger contains hundreds of compounds and metabolites which may contribute to health and healing. Ginger is available as fresh or dried, ginger extract and ginger oil. Some foods that contain ginger include ginger bread, cookies, ginger snaps, ginger ale, and a wide variety of savoury recipes.
Consuming fruits and vegetables of all kinds have long been associated with a reduced risk of many lifestyle related diseases, even though some herbs and spices may affect some part of the health. Fresh or dried ginger can be used to flavor foods and drinks without adding unnecessary salt or sugar. Because it is consumed in such small quantities, ginger does not add signify amount of calories, carbohydrates, proteins and fibre.
Fast Facts on Ginger
- Ginger has long been used for culinary and medicinal purposes.
- Health benefits include reducing nausea, pain and inflammation.
- Ginger can be used to make tea, chopped or crushed in curry and savoury dishes, dried or crystallised in sweets and confectionery.
What are the Nutritional Content of Ginger?
Ginger provides a variety of vitamins and minerals. In a 100g of fresh ginger root there are:
- 79 calories
- 17.86g of carbohydrates
- 3.6g of dietary fibre
- 3.57g if protein
- 0g of sugar
- 14mg of sodium
- 1.15g of iron
- 7.7mg of vitamin c
- 33mg of potassium
Other nutrients found in ginger include
- Vitamin B6
Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds found in ginger which are of health benefit include the following
- Caffeic acid
Amazing Health Benefits of Ginger
- Ginger contains gingerol, a substance with powerful medicinal properties. Ginger has a very long history of use in various forms of traditional and alternative medicine. It has been used to help digestion, and help fight flu and common cold.
- Ginger can treat many forms of nausea especially in “morning sickness”. It appears to be highly effective in tackling nausea cases and there is some evidence that it may be as effective as any prescription medication. Ginger may also relief nausea and vomiting after surgery and in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.
- Ginger reduces muscle pain and soreness. It is very effective against exercise-induced muscle pain. Although it may not have an immediate impact, but ginger may be effective at reducing the day-to-day progression of muscle pain.
- Ginger helps to treat chronic indigestion (dyspepsia) which is characterised by recurrent pain and discomfort in the upper part of the stomach. It is believed that delayed emptying of the stomach is a major driver of indigestion and ginger has been shown to speed up emptying of the stomach in individuals with such conditions.
- Ginger can also help lower cholesterol levels. High levels of low density lipoproteins (the bad cholesterol) are linked to an increased risk of heart disease. Studies have shown that individuals with high cholesterol levels were found to have reduced their cholesterol levels over time after taking ginger.
- Gingerol has been shown to be helpful in fighting infections. This bioactive substance in fresh ginger can help lower the risk of infections by inhibiting the growth of many different types of bacteria. It is very effective against oral bacteria linked to inflammatory diseases of the gums such as gingivitis and periodontitis. Fresh ginger may also be effective against the RSV virus, which is a common cause of respiratory infections.
Joe Leech, MS (2017), “Health Benefits of Ginger”
Full report (all nutrients) : 452911, ginger root, raw, UPC : 719283020758 (2017, June 6).
“Ginger root supplement reduced colon inflammation markers” (2011, October 11).
Palmer S. (2017) : “Top 10 culinary herbs and spices” Flavorful and functional today’s dietitian.