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The Power of Ginger: Multiple Health Benefits You Didn't Know You Needed!

Ginger, derived from the rhizome of the Zingiber officinale plant, has been a staple in traditional medicine for centuries. From a functional medicine standpoint, incorporating ginger into your regular diet can offer a plethora of health benefits, owing to its diverse array of bioactive compounds.

1. Anti-Inflammatory Properties: One of the primary advantages of ginger is its potent anti-inflammatory effects. Chronic inflammation is linked to various health conditions, including cardiovascular disease, arthritis, and even cancer. Ginger contains gingerol, a bioactive compound with strong anti-inflammatory properties. Consuming ginger regularly may help modulate the inflammatory response in the body, potentially reducing the risk of chronic inflammatory diseases.

2. Digestive Health: Ginger can help relax the intestinal tract, reducing symptoms of indigestion, bloating, and nausea. The compounds in ginger stimulate the production of digestive enzymes, facilitating the breakdown of food and absorption of nutrients. Ginger is an excellent motility agent and I use it to help clients with constipation and SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth).

3. Blood Sugar Regulation: Some studies suggest that ginger may have a positive impact on blood sugar levels by enhancing insulin sensitivity. This could be particularly beneficial for individuals with insulin resistance or those at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

4. Nausea and Motion Sickness: Ginger has a well-established reputation for its anti-nausea effects. It is often recommended for individuals experiencing nausea due to pregnancy, chemotherapy, or surgery. Ginger can be effective in preventing motion sickness. Adding some to water on your travels is a good way to keep your tummy settled.

5. Joint and Muscle Pain: Ginger's anti-inflammatory properties can help reduce pain and improve joint function. Incorporating ginger into the diet or using it topically in the form of ginger oil may contribute to managing pain associated with various musculoskeletal disorders.

6. Immune System Support: Ginger contains antioxidants that can help strengthen the immune system by neutralising harmful free radicals. Regular consumption of ginger may contribute to a robust immune response, reducing the likelihood of infections and supporting overall immune health.

7. Respiratory Health:  Its warming nature helps to liquefy and expel mucus, making it beneficial for individuals dealing with respiratory issues like congestion, colds, and coughs. Studies have also shown benefit for asthma sufferers.

8. Cardiovascular Health: Studies suggest that ginger may lower blood pressure and reduce LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels. These effects, coupled with its anti-inflammatory properties, contribute to a heart-healthy profile.

Getting more Ginger in the Diet

It is easy to include ginger in your diet most days. It's worth getting into the habit, as it really is a food that can prevent and address many health concerns.

1. Ginger Tea: The easiest way. You can make it by slicing or grating fresh ginger and steeping it in hot water. Add a touch of honey or lemon for flavor. This is ideally taken first thing, before eating for motility benefits.

2. Smoothies: Add a knob of fresh ginger to your morning smoothie. I typically don't recommend smoothies in colder months, but if you must, then ginger adds a warming effect to counteract the other cooler ingredients.

3. Salad Dressings: Grate fresh ginger into homemade salad dressings or vinaigrettes. Combine it with ingredients like olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, and Dijon mustard for a flavorful dressing.

4. Stir-Fries: Incorporate ginger into your stir-fry dishes. Finely chop or grate ginger and add it to the pan with vegetables, protein, and your favorite stir-fry sauce.

5. Soups and Stews: Enhance the depth of flavor in soups and stews by adding minced or grated ginger. It works particularly well in recipes with Asian or Indian influences, complementing spices and broths.

6. Ginger Shots: Make ginger shots by blending fresh ginger with a small amount of water or lemon juice. Strain the mixture and consume it in small amounts. This concentrated form is a quick and potent way to get a burst of ginger goodness.

7. Baked Goods: Include ground ginger in your baking recipes. Ginger can add warmth to cookies, muffins, and cakes. Try these Ginger cookies.

8. Infused Water: Create ginger-infused water by adding slices of ginger to your water bottle or pitcher. Combine it with other ingredients like cucumber, mint, or lemon for a delicius and healthy drink.

9. Ginger Porridge: Add 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger to your morning porridge. It complements cinnamon and stewed apple well.

10. Pickled Ginger: Pickled ginger, often served with sushi, can be a tasty condiment or side dish. You can make your own by marinating thinly sliced ginger in a mixture of rice vinegar, sugar, and salt. Chewing on pickled ginger before a meal can help to stimulate digestive enzymes and prevent bloating.


Alizadeh-Navaei, R., Roozbeh, F., Saravi, M., Pouramir, M., Jalali, F., & Moghadamnia, A. A. (2008). Investigation of the effect of ginger on the lipid levels. A double blind controlled clinical trial. Saudi medical journal, 29(9), 1280–1284.

Altman, R. D., & Marcussen, K. C. (2001). Effects of a ginger extract on knee pain in patients with osteoarthritis. Arthritis and rheumatism, 44(11), 2531–2538.<2531::aid-art433>;2-j

Khandouzi N, Shidfar F, Rajab A, Rahideh T, Hosseini P, Mir Taheri M. The effects of ginger on fasting blood sugar, hemoglobin a1c, apolipoprotein B, apolipoprotein a-I and malondialdehyde in type 2 diabetic patients. Iran J Pharm Res. 2015 Winter;14(1):131-40. PMID: 25561919; PMCID: PMC4277626.

Townsend EA, Siviski ME, Zhang Y, Xu C, Hoonjan B, Emala CW. Effects of ginger and its constituents on airway smooth muscle relaxation and calcium regulation. Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2013 Feb;48(2):157-63. doi: 10.1165/rcmb.2012-0231OC. Epub 2012 Oct 11. PMID: 23065130; PMCID: PMC3604064.

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