Raw ginger is a spice that has been used as an alternative medicine in Chinese Medicine and Ayruveda for centuries. It is closely related to turmeric - both are from the Zingiberaceae family - and shares as many health benefits, while arguably being even more delicious and versatile.
In alternative medicine raw ginger is typically used to relieve nausea, aid digestion, and support immune defences against the flu and common cold. Admittedly, alternative medicine practices are questionable, at best, and oftentimes rely primarily on subjective anecdotes rather than objective facts. More often than not alternative medicine also lacks relevant scientific research from well-controlled human studies.
That being said, let’s dive into the proven benefits of raw ginger:
One of the most obvious benefits that we have all likely experienced is the fact that it can provide a natural, non-stimulant pick-me-up that you can consume any time of the day. A strong shot made with a considerable amount of raw ginger can quite literally kick start your brain and body (imagine the tune ‘firestarter’ by the prodigy), without the need for a caffeinated drink. There is also some emerging evidence that regular raw ginger consumption may aid long-term cognitive functioning, such as memory, attention and decision making.
Gingerol is one of the main bioactive compounds found within ginger and is currently believed to be responsible for most of the health and medicinal properties. Although there are as much as 400 bioactive compounds that we are still learning about, fascinating. Gingerol has potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.
The easiest way to imagine this is to think that inflammation and oxidative stress is like small fires that break out within the body, wreaking havoc on health, stressing physiological systems. If allowed to continue, chronic inflammation and oxidative stress can heighten the risk of various chronic diseases. Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant rich foods, fluids and nutrients, such as gingerol help fight these fires, like fire extinguishers. In doing so they benefit numerous aspects of our health.
Anti Sickness Spice
Raw ginger appears to be a very effective way of treating nausea and sickness. This is one of the traditional alternative medicine practices that actually has some nice evidence to support it.
Research has shown that women experiencing morning sickness when pregnant, nausea during the menstrual cycle, motion sickness for those wobbly ferry crossings or long-haul flights, and even chemotherapy-induced nausea.
A dose of 1 Ginger+ shots would be enough to knock your nausea on the head.
Research in 2015 found that individuals suffering with debilitating osteoarthritis that were provided with 1 gram of ginger per day experienced less pain than those that continued without ginger. This may seem like an insignificant finding, but any reduction in joint pain in those suffering with osteoarthritis is welcome. These findings are similar with turmeric, suggesting that both could be used interchangeably in the treatment of joint conditions.
There is some evidence to suggest that regular consumption of ginger can help improve cardiovascular health, through positive alterations in blood cholesterol. Individuals that consumed ginger experienced a reduction in total cholesterol, slight increase in HDL cholesterol, the big fluffy ‘good cholesterol’ and a reduction in the small damaging LDL cholesterol.
Ginger is most certainly a worthy addition for individuals who hope to address cholesterol issues with diet, exercise and lifestyle changes.
Blood sugar management
Preliminary evidence suggests that daily ginger intake may help manage blood glucose (sugar) levels. A group of individuals that consumed ginger experienced a 12% reduction in fasting blood sugar and positive changes in HbA1c a marker of long term blood sugar and a predictor of diabetes risk.
Individuals concerned about type 2 diabetes are recommended to adjust the diet and begin regular exercise and daily activity, which in combination are the best modes of protection against the disease. However, the addition of ginger will certainly help.
Menstrual cycle symptom smasher
Not only can ginger help reduce nausea associated with the menstrual cycle, but it can also aid in the reduction of pain associated with menstruation too.
A group of women who regularly suffered with menstrual cycle pain were provided either ginger or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Interestingly ginger was equally effective in the reduction of pain, suggesting a Ginger Fix shot a day can be a nice addition to your menstrual cycle plan.
Regular consumption of ginger appears to aid the digestive system by reducing the rate of gastric digestion. Gingerol, the primary bioactive compound in ginger encourages efficient digestion and prevents food from lingering in the stomach for too long, which can increase symptoms of bloating, constipation and general discomfort.
Research has also shown that ginger and ginger juice can positively interact with the gut microbiome, the home to trillions of bacteria, to encourage beneficial bacteria to flourish and promote gastrointestinal health while also reducing pathogenic, bad bacteria.
Improving the gut microbiome is likely to benefit much more than just the gut, in recent years we have learned of connections between the gut microbiome and mental health, immune function, heart health and more. Certainly worthy of consideration.
To conclude the benefits of ginger stem far and wide and including it in your daily diet is a relative no-brainer. It’s super simple to add into recipes, smoothies or snacks, or quite simply shot it back with a daily Ginger+.