Ginger: How can it play a role in you health?
One of the most dynamic and well-researched herbal medicines around is ginger. Thanks to its abundant amount of bioactive components, ginger is a commodity that has been used for thousands of years for its potent health benefits. Personally speaking, it’s one of my favorites because it can aid in such a wide variety of health issues.
Ginger is a powerful anti-inflammatory. When people hear anti-inflammatory, they typically think of pharmaceutical anti-inflammatory medications such as Advil or Aleve, but ginger is a natural alternative that can be as effective if taken correctly. Anti-inflammatories aid in sore muscle recovery as well as bring down inflammation in joints from exercise or arthritis. Thanks to its ability to lower inflammation, ginger is also a useful digestive support by calming the stomach/intestinal lining, which can enable the stomach to empty faster. Think of it this way; the longer something is in your stomach, the more likely it can cause digestive upset.
Regarding its activity against pathogens, ginger is a strong antimicrobial, specifically keeping bacteria in the mouth and gut in check. By keeping your digestive microbiome in homeostasis, not only will you digest foods more efficiently, but it also aids in protection and treatment against bacterial and viral infections. That’s why people say when you’re sick, you should have ginger! It can fight infections head-on as well as stimulates our immune system to combat infections more effectively. This concept extends beyond just pathogenic infections, but also applies to diseases that our own body creates, like cancer. Ginger has been found to inhibit the growth of mutated cancer cells, which may aid in cancer treatment or prevention. Ginger’s role in this is partially due to the rich amount of antioxidants it contains. These antioxidants protect our cells against oxidative damage that we are exposed to in our environment every day.
The question you may be asking now is, how do I best get ginger in my system? The first thought that typically comes to mind is ginger ale, which isn’t necessarily the best source, depending on the quality of the brand you get. This is because brands may not even have actual ginger in them. Instead, brands may opt for chemically synthesized “natural flavors” instead of actual ginger because they’re cheaper to manufacture than putting in the real stuff. Additionally, ginger ale contains carbonation which may negate the benefits of ginger helping an upset stomach because carbonation has been found to be an irritant for our digestive system. The best way I recommend would be to chew on some organically grown ginger root. It can be cut up into small pieces and satisfies that craving of having something in your mouth; similar to what a stick of gum can do. If you’re looking for an easier option, consider getting a capsulized ginger root supplement which can easily be taken with a glass of water. Another alternative is getting cold-pressed ginger juice, which can be added to your favorite juices or smoothies. Just keep in mind ginger can be pretty strong in taste! Diluting it is key because if you take too much, it can cause issues like anything.
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