Ginger: Benefits, Effects, Consumption
Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a plant belonging to the turmeric and cardamom root family.
Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a plant belonging to the turmeric and cardamom root family. Ginger is a root plant and has more than 1300 different species. Ginger, used for hundreds of years, is one of the leading medicinal plants, especially in Asian countries. Its most effective properties known to the public are painkillers, anti-nausea and vomiting, digestive aids and expectorants.
It has a pungent taste and odor. These properties come from the primary ingredient it contains, ginger cartons. Gingerols, shogaols, zingiberene and paradols found in ginger are bioactive compounds effective in the treatment of various diseases. The effects of ginger on health arise from these metabolites. It is also a rich source of polyphenols and phytochemicals. It has anticancer, antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties thanks to the components it contains. In addition, it shows antiviral activity because it contains high amounts of antiviral compounds. There is evidence that ginger has healing effects on various diseases, that it can extend lifespan and support the healthy aging process.
What are the properties of ginger?
Ginger is a plant grown in many parts of the world and used in traditional medicine. Ginger has many bioactive compounds. It contains phenolic compounds, terpenes, polysaccharides, lipids and organic acids. Unique ingredients such as gingerol, shogaol, zingiberene, and zingerone are considered the primary source of health benefits. In addition, it contains small amounts of vitamins and minerals. Ginger, which is generally consumed in small amounts, is not considered a rich source of vitamins and minerals. In addition to carbohydrates, fat, protein, fiber, iron and vitamin C, it contains trace amounts of calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, manganese and selenium elements.
What are the Benefits of Ginger?
Ginger components accumulate in the digestive system, especially on the gastrointestinal surfaces, making it known to be anti-nausea and effective against various types of cancer. Ginger is widely used in culinary cultures and traditional medicine. Its most common use in traditional medicine is in the areas of pregnancy, chemotherapy, osteoarthritis, diabetes and cholesterol. It is a root plant that can be used to treat many ailments with its anticancer, antidiabetic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antiemetic properties.
Antioxidant Effects of Ginger
Many diseases are associated with oxidative damage in the body. Oxidative stress, which triggers the development of cancer, obesity and metabolic syndrome, causes damage to cells and organs. Minimizing oxidative damage can improve overall health. Antioxidant compounds are active compounds that minimize oxidative damage. Ginger is a food with high antioxidant content that can reduce the effects of age-related oxidative damage. Ginger, a root plant, contains high levels of antioxidants (3.85 mmol/100 g).
Anti-inflammatory Effects of Ginger
Ginger’s ability to reduce pain, swelling, and inflammation is reported. In addition to the antioxidant properties of the gingerol compound found in ginger, its ability to reduce inflammatory enzymes allows it to play a role as a pain reliever in inflammation-related conditions. Some studies show that ginger is effective in improving osteoarthritis knee pain. Fresh and dried ginger contain the same anti-inflammatory compounds, but when heated, the ginger’s structure changes.
Anti-Nausea Effects of Ginger
Ginger is an effective herb in relieving nausea and vomiting through various mechanisms. The anti-nausea feature of ginger comes from its carminative effect, which helps break down intestinal gases and expel them. Ginger is widely used to prevent morning sickness, chemotherapy and motion sickness. Ginger increases mobility in the digestive system and helps prevent the nerves that trigger the vomiting reflex from being activated. Using ginger during pregnancy is also effective in preventing nausea and vomiting.
Anticancer Effects of Ginger
The anticancer effects of ginger are associated with the antioxidant compounds it contains. Zerumbone, gingerol and various other compounds play a role in inhibiting the activity of carcinogenic antigens. Ginger has been shown to have a role in reducing the activity of receptors involved in tumor development, including breast, ovarian, prostate, gastrointestinal, head and neck, bladder, brain, and melanoma tumors.
Cardiovascular Protective Effects of Ginger
It is reported that ginger consumption may have positive effects on blood lipid levels. According to data, regular use of ginger shows that there is a decrease in total cholesterol, triglyceride and LDL levels known as bad cholesterol. Improving blood lipid indicators reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases. It may also be effective in reducing abnormal lipid levels and body weight caused by insulin resistance.
Antidiabetic Effects of Ginger
People with type 2 diabetes cannot produce enough insulin, glucose accumulates in the circulatory system and is not used by tissues. Studies show that ginger promotes glucose entry into muscles without the need for extra insulin. The antidiabetic effects of ginger come from the fact that gingerol keeps blood sugar levels constant. Keeping blood sugar levels constant is critical in controlling type 2 diabetes. Additionally, regulating blood sugar in the treatment of diabetes and insulin resistance may facilitate weight loss.
What are the Side Effects of Ginger?
Taking up to 4 grams of ginger daily is considered safe. However, using higher doses of ginger may cause some side effects. High doses of ginger have the potential to develop allergic reactions, digestive upset, arrhythmia, pre-existing prolonged bleeding, and depression. If ginger is taken in high doses of 6 grams or more, digestive system disorders such as reflux, heartburn and diarrhea may be aggravated. It may also potentiate the properties of blood-thinning medications such as warfarin, causing potential bleeding. With excessive use of ginger, bile acid secretion increases and the risk of gallstone formation may increase.
How Should Ginger Be Consumed?
Ginger can be consumed fresh and dried, powdered or ground, as tea and pickled. It is a root plant with a spicy and strong aroma, peppery and slightly sweet. The concentration of essential oils in ginger increases as ginger matures, and harvest time is effective in determining the intended use of ginger. Ginger is harvested when it is 8-9 months old and is used by drying or turning it into powder. Ginger harvested in the 5th month is immature and has a thin skin. It is used in fresh or preserved forms. To extract ginger oil, harvest is made after 9 months.
Ginger has many different uses such as main dish and salad sauces, soups, chicken and vegetable dishes, drinks and cakes. Ginger tea, in particular, is widely used in inflammatory diseases and in the treatment of nausea. Fresh ginger can also be stored in freezers and added to recipes as needed.
How Much Ginger Should Be Consumed?
Ginger is a safe food when consumed in recommended amounts, but high doses may cause some discomfort. The recommended daily dose of ginger is a maximum of 3-4 grams. This amount is limited to 1 gram for pregnant women. Additionally, ginger is not recommended for children under 2 years of age. Consuming more than 6 grams of ginger may aggravate heartburn, diarrhea and other digestive disorders. The uses of ginger equivalent to 1 gram are as follows:
½ teaspoon powdered ginger
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
4 cups water soaked with ½ teaspoon grated ginger
When taken in recommended amounts, ginger does not cause any side effects or allergic reactions. However, when negative effects are observed, it is recommended to reduce ginger intake to less than 4 grams.
Who Cannot Consume Ginger?
Since the effects of ginger are generally on the digestive system, it is not recommended for people with digestive system diseases (ulcer, heartburn, reflux, etc.) to consume ginger. Additionally, patients with gallstones, allergic risk, and hypertension should consult a relevant healthcare professional before consuming ginger. Blood thinners such as warfarin, diabetes and hypertension medications may interact with ginger. As a result, the effectiveness of drugs increases or decreases. If you have any medications you use regularly, consult your doctor first.
Ginger is a popular herb known for its benefits to human health. It is used in various treatments and spices. It is safe for healthy individuals in daily use, but young children, pregnant women and individuals with risky diseases should consult their doctor before consuming ginger. If you have an allergic reaction to ginger or severe side effects, contact a relevant healthcare provider.