6 Health Benefits of Ginger

Ginger Root is a popular condiment all over the world. It’s used fresh, dried, and pickled, grated, powdered, and sliced. It is mainly used for tea, supplements, dressings, as a condiment in different dishes. [1]

Ginger is rich in various dietary compounds and exhibits both antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. Some of the bioactive compounds in ginger are gingerol, shogaols, zingiberene, zingerone, and terpenes. [2]

So what are the health benefits of ginger consumption? Why is this condiment not only delicious, but also good for your health? This article will guide you through the answers to these questions!

Let’s get started!

What makes ginger healthy?

Ginger root is very high in antioxidants, but not particularly high in vitamins and minerals. According to data from the USDA, 2 tsp of ginger root contains approximately 4 calories. [3]

Health benefits of ginger

Moderate consumption of ginger root has been associated with various positive health effects:

1. Nausea

Evidence suggests that ginger intake could safely improve the symptoms of nausea and vomiting (also known as morning sickness) in pregnant women without causing adverse effects. [4]

That being said, ginger was found to be effective not only for morning sickness, but also for nausea and vomiting caused by other conditions: motion sickness, post-anestesia, gynecological laparoscopy, postoperative prophylactic antiemetic, and chemotherapy. [5][6]

2. Weight management

A 2019 meta-analysis paper suggests that ginger intake may reduce body weight, waist to hip ratio, hip ratio, fasting blood sugar, and insulin resistance index. At the same time, it may increase HDL cholesterol (also known as good cholesterol). That being said, in these studies ginger consumption had no effect on insulin levels, BMI, triglycerides and LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol, which is a leading factor for artery buildup). [7]

Considering these effects, ginger may reduce the overall risk of metabolic syndrome – a health condition closely related to weight, blood sugar, insulin, and cholesterol factors. [6]

3. Cholesterol

As mentioned, ginger intake may improve lipid metabolism by increasing HDL cholesterol. This way, ginger may reduce the risk of heart disease by improving one’s cholesterol profile. [5]

According to a 2018 systematic review and meta-analysis, one study demonstrated consuming less than 2 grams of ginger per day was shown to lower total cholesterol and triacylglycerol levels. [8]

4. Antioxidant Activity

Ginger root contains various compounds with antioxidant activities, including gingerol and zerumbone. One clinical study from 2009 demonstrated gingerol’s effectiveness in suppressing tumor growth in mice. At this point in time more research is needed to determine whether ginger has anti-cancer properties in humans. [5]

5. Digestion

Evidence suggests that ginger may benefit digestion by reducing gastric emptying time. [6] This means that ginger consumption increases the speed at which food is moved from the stomach into the small intestine. This may help to avoid unwanted side effects of impaired and slow digestion, including bloating, abdominal pain, and gas.

6. Allergies

A small randomized trial from 2020 demonstrated that ginger extract may improve the nasal symptoms of allergic rhinitis just as effectively as loratadine (a popular antihistamine drug). [10] In addition, ginger extract had fewer undesirable side effects when compared to loratadine. [10]

Ginger root side effects

Even though side effects from ginger consumption are uncommon, eating excess amounts of the condiment (or supplementing excessively) can cause mild gastrointestinal issues like heartburn (acid reflux), belching, and bloating. [11]

Keep in mind that some experts suggest that ginger may interact with blood thinner medicines. If you are pregnant or take blood thinners, speak to your healthcare provider about the use of ginger. [12]

Dietitian approved takeaway:

Ginger root has been a popular ingredient in recipes and traditional herbal remedies for many years. While research on the health benefits of ginger and safety guidelines for supplementation in humans is a new field of research, we are seeing many promising results from early studies.

At this time more research needs to be conducted on the safety and efficacy of supplementation before it will be safely recommended by clinicians. If you would like to test the health benefits of ginger for yourself, include ginger root in your recipes at home!