The health benefits of ginger are primarily due to ginger's exceptional
Although all spices are good sources of antioxidants, ginger contains over 25 different ones all by itself! Foods that contain a particularly wide variety of antioxidants are more effective at fighting many different types of free radicals, in different parts of your body.
It's a little-known fact that spices (and herbs) such as ginger have far greater concentrations of antioxidants than any common fruit or vegetable source. Spices also contain a particularly wide variety of antioxidants as well, making them some of the top antioxidant foods around.
Antioxidants are nutrient compounds found in virtually all plant foods (and also manufactured in your body). The primary job of antioxidants is to protect your cells against the oxidative stress caused by free radicals, considered to be the primary cause of the aging process.
Protecting yourself against free radicals with antioxidants is the most effective way to reduce the risk of many health problems associated with aging. The benefits of antioxidants include powerful protection against all types of degenerative diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, macular degeneration, Alzheimer's disease, and many more.
Antioxidants work together, synergistically, and each one has its own specific characteristics and benefits. One antioxidant may work in places in the body where another one can't go, and neutralize free radicals that other antioxidants miss. Therefore, getting the widest variety of antioxidants is just as important as how much of any one antioxidant you get. See my page on How Do Antioxidants Work? to learn more about this.
Ginger root is widely used a natural medicine for many disorders and diseases; it has been used for treating everything from motion sickness to menstrual cramps to food poisoning and many other disorders. The health benefits of ginger come from the same compound that gives ginger its distinctive hot and pungent taste, gingerol.
Ginger is very effective in alleviating symptoms of gastrointestinal distress. It promotes the elimination of intestinal gas and relaxes and soothes the intestinal tract. Ginger can aid an upset stomach by providing relief from the feeling of bloating and gas. Ginger also protects the stomach lining from developing stomach ulcers.
Gingerworks very well to prevent the symptoms of motion sickness, especially seasickness. Ginger benefits have been shown to be far superior to Dramamine, a commonly used over-the-counter drug for motion sickness. Ginger reduces all symptoms associated with motion sickness, including dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and cold sweating.
The health benefits of ginger have been shown to be very useful in reducing the nausea and vomiting of pregnancy. Unlike anti-vomiting drugs, which have some potentially severe side effects, ginger is extremely safe, and only a small dose is required. Ginger is also effective in treating problems with painful and irregular menstrual symptoms.
Ginger is an excellent remedy for soothing an irritated throat. Regular consumption of ginger stimulates the secretion of mucus, which soothes and provides relief to the throat. Ginger tea is a very popular home remedy in most Asian countries as treatment against the common cold because of its antiviral properties. Ginger can not only be warming on a cold day, but can help promote healthy sweating, which is often helpful during colds and flus.
Since the oil present in ginger roots is an excellent expectorant, it is quite effective in treating respiratory problems related to colds, flu, cough, bronchitis and asthma. A mixture of honey and ginger is often used as an immediate relief for cough and respiratory problems.
The health benefits of ginger come from very potent anti- inflammatory compounds called gingerols. These substances can help relieve swelling and inflammation associated with arthritis and various other muscular disorders. Many people with osteo- or rheumatoid arthritis experience reductions in their pain levels and improvements in their mobility when they consume ginger regularly. Gingerols also help reduce pain caused by muscle aches, headaches and rheumatism.
Ginger has been found to inhibit the growth of cancer cells that may cause human colorectal and ovarian cancer. Ginger extracts have been shown to have both antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor effects on all cells.
Ginger may be of special benefit for ovarian cancer patients because cancer cells exposed to ginger do not become resistant to its cancer-destroying effects, as they do with chemotherapy.
According to a ancient Chinese belief, ginger strengthens your heart, and ginger oil is often used in Chinese medicine for preventing and treating heart diseases. The benefits of ginger help in reducing blood cholesterol and preventing blood clotting.
Ginger is a good source of potassium, magnesium, copper, manganese and vitamin B6.
Because it's so concentrated, it doesn't take a lot to receive the health benefits of ginger. For nausea, ginger tea made by steeping one or two 1/2-inch slices of fresh ginger in a cup of hot water will likely be all you need to settle your stomach. For arthritis relief, add as much fresh ginger to your cooked foods as possible; more ginger provides quicker and better results.
The health benefits of ginger are so numerous, ideally you'd want to have some every day. However, as with any herb or spice, you may find it impractical to include ginger in your meal plans that often.
There's an easy way to accomplish this — by making yourself a fresh smoothie every day and adding some ginger and other spices to your recipe.
Fresh smoothies make for some of the most nutritious, delicious and easy-to-make meals you could imagine. They're a great way to get more of those "good for you" antioxidant-rich foods (that you may not get enough of) into your diet.
I personally use herbs such as basil, cilantro and parsley in my green smoothie recipes to give them more of the benefits of dark green leafy vegetables. Because they're so concentrated with antioxidants, you can use a much smaller amount than you would with other greens like kale or spinach, and they won't overwhelm the flavor of your smoothie recipe.
I don't stop there, either. I like to use other spices such as cinnamon, cloves, ginger, turmeric and others in my smoothie recipes, mostly for their added antioxidant benefits. Once they're blended in with all the other ingredients, you can't really distinguish any one particular taste. You just need to experiment a little to get the flavor just right for you.
To learn more about the art of making smoothies, skip on over to my page on How to Make a Smoothie the Healthy Way and learn all my tricks for making delicious and nutritious smoothies!
To learn more about ginger and ways to use it, check out
The World's Healthiest Foods/Ginger
Whenever possible, choose fresh ginger over the dried form of the spice since it is not only superior in flavor but contains higher levels of gingerol. Fresh ginger keep very well, so it's easy to have some on hand all the time.
If you want to get all of the health benefits of ginger, and you want to use ginger powder, you'll want to stay away from typical supermarket brands of bottled spices. Most of them are irradiated in order to destroy microorganisms, bacteria, and viruses that might be present.
Irradiation, however, damages the integrity of the spice — destroying vitamins, minerals, proteins and other beneficial micronutrients. Irradiation also creates more free radicals, just the opposite of what you are trying to accomplish by eating spices.
Fortunately, I've got a wonderful online source for premium-quality organic spices — Starwest Botanicals and iHerb.com.
Starwest Botanicals started as a small retail herb shop in 1975 in Sacramento, California. From the beginning, their focus has been on quality; they source their products directly from around the world and process them in-house with their own herb mill to have more control over the finished product.
The Starwest company actively supports sustainable organic farming; as much as possible, they select ingredients from natural renewable sources and use renewable sources of energy.
Today, Starwest is one of the largest suppliers of organic herbs in the United States, with over a million pounds of herbs and spices in stock. You can get discount prices on their premium-quality products by purchasing them at iHerb's Starwest Botanical Store.
The health benefits of ginger are also available in capsules and liquid extracts.
You can find a great selection of ginger products, as well as thousands of other nutritional supplements and natural health products, at iHerb.com. There's many reasons why iHerb is a great place to shop:
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In addition, iHerb has been named
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