Ginger: Health Benefits & Uses of Zingiber Officinale

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Ginger is probably one of the most commonly used spices in Indian cooking. This root is officially called Zingiber officinale, and is widely available all over the world. It’s peppery flavour is distinct and with a list of health benefits that can go on for pages, it should most certainly be used as a part of your regular diet.

Health Benefits of Ginger

A Bit About Ginger:

Ginger is called Zinziber officinale. It is a root (or rhizome) that is closely related to cardamom and turmeric. For centuries, people have recognised and utilised ginger for its medicinal properties. It is added in drinks to soothe a sore throat, or added to tea for that extra flavour and health benefit.

These days, ginger is not just available fresh but also in the form of powder, extracts and ginger oil. Dried ginger candy has become a popular snack! But people don’t just use these varieties for the flavour. They also use it for the health benefits of ginger.Ginger Plant

Ginger contains a multitude of nutrients, ranging from simple carbohydrates to elements such as manganese, magnesium and potassium and vitamins such as vitamin C and B6. It also contains copper, iron and phosphorus. Of course, these are in small quantities, so best not rely on ginger to get your daily dose of nutrients.

That being said, making it a part of your regular diet is a good idea given the health benefits of ginger. Let’s take a look at these.

Benefits of Ginger for Skin:

The health benefits of ginger are many, and one such benefit is its effect on the skin. While there are numerous benefits that it can have positive effects on the way your skin looks, what you might find most interesting is that it can reduce the formation of fine lines and scars on your skin. It is able to do so due to the high antioxidant properties it possesses. According to some cosmetic sites, by just dabbing the juice of freshly squeezed ginger on areas of scarring, it is possible to reduce the intensity and pigmentation of the scars.

There also appears to be some benefit that ginger has in reducing cellulite. Cellulite is basically a term that is used to describe the presence of excessive fat tissue in the legs. It is believed to help burn fat in these areas and reduce cellulite.

Related Read: Types of Food that can-do Wonders for you Skin

Benefits of Ginger for Hair:

Dandruff is a common problem many of us in India face. The basic problem with the dandruff is that it can make the scalp extremely itchy and even sore at times. Not just that, the presence of dandruff on the scalp can be quite unsightly and embarrassing to some people.

Ginger has powerful antiseptic properties which makes it an excellent treatment in clearing dandruff from the scalp. The recommendation is to use ginger oil or the extract from grated ginger mixed with coconut oil or sesame oil. Apply this generously to the scalp and this should help get rid of the itching problem and clear dandruff within no time.

Related Read: Habits you should Change to Avoid Hair Fall

Benefits of Ginger for Weight Loss:

The benefits of ginger for weight loss are usually seen when it is consumed in the form of ginger tea. By using fresh pieces of ginger, you could flavour your tea to make it a refreshing drink that not just perks you up but also helps you burn calories.

Researchers at Netherlands have found that ginger contains a type of caffeine that can help you lose weight. In another study, it was found that consumption of hot ginger tea could help suppress appetite, break down fat and subsequently lower the size of the waist.

Also Read: Easy Home Remedies to Reduce Weight

Benefits of Ginger for Stomach:

The stomach is lined by a coating that protects it from the acid that is secreted by the cells within it. The acid is necessary to break down food that is consumed on a daily basis.

When this protective lining is damaged, the acid can start to affect the stomach wall and can lead to the formation of stomach ulcers. The symptoms of stomach ulcers include a feeling of bloating, abdominal pain, heartburn, fatigue, headache and constant indigestion. Some people may develop complete aversion to food.

Certain clinical studies have found that ginger may help reduce the formation of these stomach ulcers. While these studies are primarily conducted on animals, what has been demonstrated is that ginger powder can protect the stomach from ulcer formation when aspirin is taken. It does so by reducing the level of certain inflammatory proteins and also by blocking some enzymes which are known to lead to the formation of stomach ulcers.

Adding some ginger to your tea can be a good way to soothe your stomach.

Ginger is also known to have anti nausea properties. In other words, one of the health benefits of ginger is to treat a feeling of vomiting that may be due to any reason. Particularly, morning sickness has been studied in pregnant women and ginger has been found to be effective in reducing the symptoms without causing any side effects. Similarly, other studies have found ginger to reduce nausea symptoms in patients who are taking chemotherapy treatments for any cancer.

Benefits of Ginger for Teeth:

You may be surprised to hear that one of the health benefits of ginger is the fact that it has powerful anti bacterial properties. In a clinical study that was conducted in a Korean University, the research group found that ginger extract could reduce the formation of a biofilm for various types of bacteria that are responsible in the formation of cavities. A biofilm is basically a cluster of bacteria that builds up on our gums and teeth. It is responsible for the formation of tooth decay.

It is understood that ginger contains an active ingredient called raffinose that can inhibit the formation of this biofilm. It does so by blocking the function of galactose, which is a sugar that is responsible for the formation of the biofilm. In addition to this, raffinose also inhibits many bacteria such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa which is responsible for tooth decay. This makes it an excellent solution for unhealthy teeth.

Benefits of Ginger for Cough:

Ginger is used widely as a ”do it yourself” remedy for cough. This use has been around for thousands of years and is commonly mixed with other elements such as mint, honey and sometimes even sugar. Generally, the effect of ginger for cough is mostly for that condition that is associated with the common cold. Ginger lozenges are widely available as a solution for cough. Not just that, adding a small amount of ginger oil into a small bowl containing hot water can help relieve the cough from the fumes that are emanated.

The common household soothing remedy for a cough consists of a combination of hot water with slices of ginger, lemon and honey. This is been proven over generations to be extremely effective as a home remedy for cough.

The primary effect of ginger in helping cough is due to the presence of essential oils combined with antioxidants and oleoresin (this has powerful cough suppressant properties). In addition to this, ginger also has numerous aromatic compounds which can help soothe coughs as well.

Benefits of Ginger for Eyes:

The benefits of ginger for eyes make it useful additive to your daily diet. Ginger tea has been proven to help improve your eyesight to an extent. Ginger can also be added as slices in in juice that is made from carrots. The spicy heat of the ginger in the carrot juice makes it an extremely palatable drink but also makes it extremely healthy.

Benefits of Ginger for Cancer:

Ginger has gained popularity due to it’s one specific property – the anti-cancer effects it has. This is because ginger contains a compound called 6-gingerol that has been shown in studies to block cancer cell growth.

While most studies are lab based, ginger has been found to be effective against cancer of the pancreas, ovary and prostate. More studies are needed in humans to confirm just how effective this health benefit of ginger is, but for now it appears that it does a good job preventing cancer. No reason why you should avoid it, right?!

Ginger is probably an under appreciated super food that has to be a part of your daily diet due to the numerous health benefits that it has. Make sure you reap the health benefits of ginger by including it in your daily diet.

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