News & tips on health, fitness and nutrition

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Medicinal properties of ginger root

The active ingredients in ginger root include volatile oils and pungent phenol compounds known as gingerols, sesquiterpenoids, and shogaols. Ginger oil represents 3 percent of the ginger plant, and it is the oil that causes the spicy fragrance. Recent studies show that ginger has strong antioxidant properties.
  • Aids in Digestion – Ginger is perhaps the best herb for digestion. It helps break down proteins to rid the stomach and intestines of gas. It also aids in the digestion of fatty foods.
  • Alleviates High Blood Pressure – Ginger’s warming quality improves and stimulates circulation and relaxes the muscles surrounding blood vessels, facilitating the flow of blood throughout the body.
  • Treats Nausea and Morning Sickness – Ginger has been widely shown to prevent as well as treat motion sickness, relax the stomach and relieve the feeling of nausea.
  • Lowers LDL Cholesterol – Studies demonstrate that ginger can lower cholesterol levels by reducing cholesterol absorption in the blood and liver. Its extract can help reduce the levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol in the body, reducing the risk of developing heart disease.
  • Reduces inflammation by inhibiting prostaglandin biosynthesis. These effects make ginger comparable to those of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications although ginger does not cause the side effects characteristic of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications.
  • Suppresses the immune system's production of proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines, reducing disease severity in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

Using 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 as well as ginger’s active protease (its anti-inflammatory compound). Fresh ginger root is sold in the produce section of markets. When purchasing fresh ginger root, look for a root with a firm, smooth skin, free of mold and as few twists and joints as possible. If it is wrinkled, it is drying out and will be woody inside.

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