In our last article on ginger facts we learned about the ginger plant, its name, its origins and its production. We also included a few fun facts. However, what we did not cover were the ginger health benefits. In this particular article, we will sum up the most important, research-backed health benefits of ginger. So gear up, there will be loads of information to absorb…
Interesting Ginger Health Benefits Facts: 1-6 | Anti-inflammatory
1. One of the active ingredients found in ginger is 1-Dehydro-(10)-gingerdione. It is known for regulation of inflammatory genes through inhibition of NF-κB pathway. Ginger is also known for blocking production of prostaglandins and leukotrienes (inflammatory chemicals) and blocking COX enzyme activities.
2. Reduces muscular pain: In view of aforementioned properties, studies have found that ginger is a very effective painkiller. Consuming around 2 grams of ginger a day for at least 5 days leads to reduction in muscular pain caused by prolonged running and resistance exercises.
3. Reduces menstrual cramps: It has also been found that ginger is far more effective compared to placebo when it comes to reduction of pain sensitivity. This spice is just as good as mefenamic acid (which is an NSAID pain medication). So, ginger is perfect for reducing menstrual cramps.
4. Helps with osteoarthritis: Some studies have found that ginger is capable of improving effects of osteoarthritis but there are other studies which suggest that ginger is not very effective in dealing with osteoarthritis after the first treatment. So, further research is warranted in this case.
5. Helps with asthma: Researchers have found that ginger’s active ingredient called Zerumbone is responsible for enhancing Th1 response and reduces Th2 allergic response caused by egg white. This spice suppresses Th2-mediated immune response and also helps in reduction of contraction of smooth muscles in airways and helps with asthma.
6. Alleviates eczema: Ginger has a compound known as 6-Shogaol. This compound has been found to reduce allergic dermatitis through inhibition of cytokine. This inhibition is achieved by Nrf2 pathway activation.
Interesting Ginger Health Benefits Facts: 7-12 | Anti-Cancer Properties
7. Cancer cell apoptosis: Terpenoids found in ginger have been found to induce cell death (apoptosis) in endometrial cancer cells. This is achieved by activation of p53. Similarly, Zerumbone found in ginger has also been found to induce cell death in pancreatic cancer cells via p53 signal pathway.
8. Sensitizes cancer cells: Radiation therapy is pretty common among cancer patients. However, the cancer cells need to be sensitive to radiations used. Zerumbone in ginger is capable of sensitizing colorectal cancer cells and hence, making radiation therapy far more effective.
9. Growth inhibition for cancer cells: 6-gingerol – an ingredient found in ginger is known for the ability of inhibiting growth of bone cancer cells and liver cancer cells (known as osteosarcoma and hepatoma respectively).
10. Inhibition of angiogenesis: Angiogenesis is a process through which cancer cells can grow new blood vessels. Ginger can inhibit angiogenesis especially in skin cancer. Angiogenesis in case of colon cancer, ovarian cancer, pancreatic cancer and stomach cancer is inhibited by Zerumbone found in ginger. Zerumbone blocks NF-kB for preventing angiogenesis.
11. Prevents cancer cell migration: In case of breast cancer, migration of cancer cells (known as metastasis) is prevented by ginger.
12. DNA protection: Aflatoxin B1 is a type of mold toxin which is known for damaging DNA. The essential oil found in ginger reduces the damage caused by alfatoxin B1. In addition to this, ginger is also capable of protecting sperm DNA from being damaged by oxidative stress. So ginger is basically something men can rely on to improve fertility.
Interesting Ginger Health Benefits Facts: 13-18 | Improvement of Metabolic Health and Digestion Aid
13. Blood sugar: Ginger has been found to be capable of reducing blood glucose in fasting conditions. It also reduced HbA1c.
14. Prevents obesity: In a study conducted on mice, it has been found that mice on high fat diet do not become obese when given ginger. This is achieved by activation of PPARδ pathway.
15. Effective against Fatty Liver Disease (Nonalcoholic): Studies have found that consumption of 2 grams of ginger daily for 12 weeks in a row is capable of significant reduction in inflammatory cytokines, insulin resistance index and several liver enzymes as compared to placebo. On the other hand, essential oil in ginger is capable of protecting the liver against fatty liver disease (nonalcoholic by nature) and several other related metabolic diseases that is caused by diet high in fat.
16. Improves gut integrity: It has been found that ginger improves gut integrity by increasing prostaglandins in lining of the stomach, which gets reduced by prolonged use of NSAID by osteoarthritis patients.
17. Prevents vomiting and nausea: Vagal nerve overactivation is responsible for vomiting and nausea. Ginger has been found to inhibit serotonin function in digestive tract and hence, prevents vagal nerve overactivation. It has also been found to relieve morning sickness in pregnant women.
18. Reduction of stomach discomfort: Studies have revealed that ginger is capable of stimulating peristalsis in gut, thereby aiding emptying of stomach into the small intestine. This means that those who overeat or have problems with indigestion can consuming ginger for reducing stomach discomfort.
Interesting Ginger Health Benefits Facts: 19-24 | Liver Detox, Cardiovascular Health, Antimicrobial Effects
19. Prevents liver toxicity: In humans, it has been found that liver toxicity caused by antituberculosis drugs is prevents in tuberculosis patients. In animal trials, it have been found that for rabbits poisoned with cadmium, ginger protects both the liver and the kidneys from cadmium toxicity. In case of rats, liver is protected by ginger against aluminum toxicity.
20. Prevents oxidative stress damage to liver: Ginger is known to have several potent antioxidants such as 6-shogaol. These antioxidants protects the liver from oxidative stress damage.
21. Triglyceride profile and blood cholesterol are improved: In humans, it has been found that ginger is capable of improving triglyceride profile, cholesterol, blood sugar markers and blood CRP. Further studies have revealed that ginger stimulates muscarinic receptors and prevents calcium channel blockades, thereby modulating the nervous system and hence, lowering blood pressure.
22. Arteries hardening prevention: Ginger is rich in 6-Gingerol. This ingredient is known for protecting those cells from oxidative stress that line up our blood vessels. This has led the scientists to believe that ginger is capable of preventing arteries hardening.
23. Cold virus inhibition: In a cell-based study it has been found that fresh ginger (not the dried one) is capable of inhibiting cold virus from entering into the cells of human body. Clinical trials need to be conducted to confirm this finding.
24. Wipes out bad bacteria: Studies have found that ginger’s ethanol extract (unheated) has very high anti-bacterial properties. Cell-studies have been performed on various disease-causing bacteria such as Escherichia coli, Salmonella typhimurum, Pseudomonas aeroginosa, Haemophilus influenzae, Staphylococcus pneumoniae and Staphylococcus aureas. It has also been found that ginger’s methanol extract is capable of inhibiting 19 different strains of Helicobacter pylori (some of which are resistant to drugs).