What are the real benefits of ginger? It is easy to find many articles on the subject, but few rely on its aphrodisiac virtues, which have made it famous throughout the world. Ginger is much more than just a libido booster. Ginger has many benefits for our health. It is an ally in all seasons and in many situations. We goes back over the beneficial powers of ginger and presents you through this article its extraordinary therapeutic and medicinal properties.
Ginger, what are its real properties?
Ginger has long been consumed throughout the world to relieve common ailments such as nausea, headaches, colds and rheumatism. Indeed, known to be an exceptional aphrodisiac, it is far from being a simple sexual stimulant. Ginger is a thousand-year-old plant that belongs to the Zingiberacea family. Its scientific name is Zingiber officinale. It is a tropical plant that is most often used as a spice in the cuisine of various countries. The part of the plant that is usually consumed is the rhizome. Today, it is mainly produced in Asia, more specifically in China, India, Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand.
The composition of ginger
There’s nothing magical about the powers of this Asian plant. It is its composition that makes it so interesting and that is at the origin of its benefits. Indeed, ginger is 90% water, but it is also a food very rich in carbohydrates and fibre. In addition, it is an important source of vitamin B9, as well as vitamins C, E, A, B1, B2, B3, B5 and B6 in smaller quantities. The rhizome of the plant is distinguished by its content of mineral salts and trace elements, such as calcium, iodine, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, zinc and iron. Ginger is known to be particularly rich in potassium and manganese. Finally, the rhizome also contains powerful antioxidant compounds, which give it some of its incredible powers.
The health benefits of ginger
Often assimilated to a spice, ginger is a food in its own right and can be consumed in several forms. It is often appreciated for its taste and for what it brings to cooked dishes. But we often forget how valuable it can be and the many health benefits it offers. Here are the different properties of ginger, an exceptional thousand-year-old plant, according to the various scientific studies carried out.
A powerful antioxidant
Ginger contains antioxidants, which are compounds whose role is to protect cells from the effects of free radicals. Free radicals are particularly reactive molecules. They are involved in the ageing of cells, and in the development of certain related diseases. Two studies, a first conducted by Nakatani N. in 2000 and a second conducted by Kikuzaki H, Nakatani N. in 1996 confirm that ginger contains about forty of them . Among them, some of them are said to resist heat and are released during cooking. It is therefore beneficial to consume ginger fresh or cooked, but also in powder form.
The active ingredients responsible for the pungent taste of the rhizome are (6)-gingérol and (10)-gingérol. They are known to have very important antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. In addition, science is currently investigating their anti-cancer potential, especially in the treatment of the prostate.
A natural anti-inflammatory
A review article written by Grzanna R, Lindmark L and Frondoza CG which lists the studies carried out on the plant shows that ginger is a 100% natural and powerful anti-inflammatory. It limits the secretion of prostaglandins. This is how the inflammatory process can be reduced by consuming ginger. The rhizome also relieves the aches and pains associated with these inflammations, such as pain caused by arthritis, tendonitis or low back pain. Its effects are very promising for pain associated with osteoarthrosis and rheumatoid arthritis. The rhizome of the plant is believed to be as effective as drugs such as ibuprofen, for example.
Ginger also has a powerful action on certain ailments such as flu-like conditions, fever and allergies. This Asian plant has the power to alleviate our pains and help us to better prevent them through regular consumption.
Promote better digestion
One of the many virtues of ginger is its power on our digestive system. It acts as a natural stimulant for our metabolism. Its rhizome acts on and stimulates the production of enzymes involved in digestion. It promotes the secretion of bile. This property was highlighted in a review article listing all the studies conducted on this subject by Platel K, Srinivasan K. in 2004. Thus, the consumption of ginger will promote the process of food digestion. But it does not just act on this function of the body from time to time.
By consuming it regularly, other organs of the digestive system such as the mouth, oesophagus, stomach, small intestine and colon can also benefit from it. Finally, ginger is also known to be an excellent natural fat burner. By promoting digestion, it improves the breakdown of fat and stimulates our metabolism! People looking to lose weight can therefore also consume it.
Treating nausea and vomiting
The World Health Organization (WHO) has recognized ginger as a natural antiemetic component. This means that it is effective against nausea and vomiting. It is therefore very practical for people who are prone to motion sickness or vomiting after surgery. Moreover, it is also useful for pregnant women, many of whom experience this phenomenon at the beginning of their pregnancy! Its virtues are made possible by its content of gingerols and shogaols, the effects of which were demonstrated by a study conducted in 2005 by Chrubasik S, Pittler MH and Roufogalis BD. In addition, ginger is an excellent source of vitamin B6 for pregnant women.
Help combat fatigue
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, this food is rich in various vitamins. It is therefore a perfect natural stimulant for the body and its functions. But beyond its vitamin content, it is also an excellent source of mineral salts and trace elements! Ginger is perfect for giving you a boost in times of fatigue: it effectively combats temporary fatigue. But that’s not all, as it also provides a great boost to our natural defences. Thus, the Asian plant is a perfect ally of the immune system, especially against various winter ailments!
Good for the heart and cardiovascular functions
In a way, antioxidant foods are good for the heart. Ginger helps prevent cardiovascular disease because of its influence on blood circulation. It makes the blood thinner and thus promotes its transport through the body. It also detoxifies the blood and thus the whole body. Nevertheless, care must be taken not to overuse it. Indeed, its fluidizing properties are very powerful. If you are undergoing treatment for blood thinning problems, ask your doctor for advice before including ginger in your diet or consuming it in the form of annual cures.
A powerful ally against diabetes
Recent scientific studies have shown a beneficial effect of regular consumption of ginger in people with type 2 diabetes. The ginger extract would not only reduce fasting blood sugar values in these people, but also their glycated haemoglobin values. This food lowers blood sugar levels. In addition, ginger could also improve insulin resistance in diabetic people, according to a study published in 2013 in Int J Food Sci Nutr (Effects of ginger (Zingiber officinale) on plasma glucose level, HbA1c and insulin sensitivity in type 2 diabetic patients).
A natural aphrodisiac
The plant has built part of its reputation on its natural aphrodisiac properties. Its root plays a beneficial role on the sexuality of men and women. It stimulates sexual appetite and desire, and even increases pleasure during sexual relations. If you have libido problems, you will find here a perfectly natural and very effective solution! To this end, you can also combine it with ginseng or maca from Peru.
Ginger against cancer
Science is trying to determine the exact effects of ginger on cancer. At the moment, it is known that it may have anti-cancer properties. It has already succeeded in eliminating ovarian cancer cells. These properties are thought to be linked in particular to the presence of natural antioxidants in its composition.
What you need to know about ginger
How is it consumed? Why combine ginger and lemon? Is candied ginger available? If you need advice on how to consume more ginger every day, here are a few.
How to choose it?
Ginger can be eaten fresh. You can find fresh roots in supermarkets or organic stores. Ideally, choose natural ginger from organic farming. Opt for a golden ginger with rhizomes that are slightly wrinkled and visibly fresh. Its smell should be pleasant. Fresh ginger can be cooked. It is grated or cut into thin strips to season various ready-made dishes. And there is no shortage of recipes! It can also be added to your fruit and vegetable juices.
If you opt for ginger powder, choose a spice from sustainable agriculture, and therefore organic. The rhizome must come from its region of origin. Candied ginger can also be organically grown. Prefer these products which are free of chemical treatments and pesticides. You can also take ginger cures several times a year. Ginger is available as a daily food supplement. Choose natural ginger, grown in its native regions and organically grown. Follow the instructions on your bottle to take full advantage of the plant’s benefits.
Why combine ginger and lemon?
Ginger can be eaten in the form of a spice, and therefore in powder form, to be added to culinary preparations. In powder form, it can be incorporated into a lemon-based drink to enjoy the benefits of the famous ginger-lemon combination. This drink with incredible virtues can then be consumed as part of a cure or simply for its unique taste! Ginger and lemon are great allies when you want to lose weight, for example. Ginger and lemon are also good for the immune system, the skin and digestion.
Eaten alone or combined in water with ginger and lemon, these two elements have purifying properties that cleanse the blood and the body. Ginger and lemon can also be combined in tea (or infusion) and lemonade. Ginger and lemon can also be found on your plate in an original and tasty vinaigrette recipe! Simply add drops of lemon, as well as powdered (or thinly sliced) ginger to your dressing to enjoy the combined benefits of these two foods.
How else can you eat it?
Fresh, powdered or candied: How to choose the right rizome?
Ginger can be found in powder form, but it can also be bought fresh, as a rhizome, from which thin slices must be cut for use in certain recipes. It is in these two ways that it comes to flavor our dishes and offer them this particular little taste. If you enjoy Japanese cuisine, you have probably already tasted ginger in vinegar, which is often combined with sushi. If you’ve never dared to taste these little pink strips with such a special smell, go for it!
You can also eat candied ginger, just like traditional candied fruit. You can then find candied ginger in the shops, or prepare it yourself from fresh ginger. You will then discover the rhizome in a new light. Finally, ginger can also be eaten in tablets or capsules, and thus as a food supplement. In this case, it is important to choose a high-quality product: find out where it comes from, how it is grown and how it is processed.
How to store ginger?
It is possible to store fresh ginger root in the refrigerator. Tip: cut it into cubes and place them in the freezer to keep them even longer. Simply take a piece of ginger out the day before you use it to enjoy its freshness. You can also save money and avoid throwing away pieces of ginger!
Candied ginger has the advantage that it keeps for a long time and is easy to eat. In powder form, it can also be stored for months or even years. Ginger-based food supplements can also be stored for a long time. However, there is always an expiry date on your bottle. You always have time to finish your treatment before the product expires. If your bottle is old, just remember to check the expiry date before you start or restart your treatment.
What contraindications or precautions should I take?
Ginger is a completely natural plant. Its properties are powerful, and some suggest that it should not be consumed with certain supplements, plants and medicines (it increases their effects). For this reason, it is advisable not to associate ginger with blood treatments or before surgery. It should also be consumed in reasonable quantities. Ginger is not advisable during pregnancy, because it could be associated with certain complications and even miscarriages. Always consult your doctor’s advice before taking supplements and for use against morning sickness. There is still a lack of scientific data to conclude that ginger consumption is safe when breastfeeding.
Furthermore, ginger is often confused with ginseng. Both words have the same root, which is “gin” and means “man” in Chinese. They are also both roots, which misleads many people. They are indeed two distinct plants, with very different virtues on the organism, which it can be interesting to associate within the framework of cures or simply in our diet.
What to remember
Ginger is a healthy, natural food with many benefits. It acts on our digestion, our libido, and more generally on our health. Consumed regularly, it helps us to cope with fatigue and seasonal ailments. You can combine ginger and lemon, or eat candied ginger to benefit from its virtues. So it is interesting to consume it occasionally, but also in the form of cures to take advantage of all its benefits on the body!