Ginger is a common ingredient in
Asian and Indian cuisine. However,
ginger has been used for its
medicinal properties for centuries
among many cultures.
Ginger has a long history of use
for relieving digestive problems
such as nausea, loss of appetite,
motion sickness and pain.
The root or underground stem
(rhizome) of the ginger plant can be
consumed fresh, powdered, dried
as a spice, in oil form or as juice.
Ginger is part of the Zingiberaceae
family, alongside cardamom
and turmeric, and is commonly
produced in India, Jamaica, Fiji,
Indonesia and Australia.
This MNT Knowledge Center
feature provides an in-depth look
at the possible health benefits of
ginger, its nutritional profile, how
to incorporate more ginger into
your diet and any potential health
risks associated with consuming it.
Possible health benefits of ginger
Consuming fruits and vegetables
of all kinds has long been associated
with a reduced risk of many
lifestyle-related health conditions.
Many studies have suggested
that increasing consumption of
plant foods like ginger decreases
the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart
disease and overall mortality while
promoting a healthy complexion
and hair, increased energy and
overall lower weight.
Digestive issues
The phenolic compounds in
ginger are known to help relieve
gastrointestinal irritation, stimulate
saliva and bile production and
suppress gastric contractions and
movement of food and fluids
through the GI tract.
Chewing raw ginger or drinking
ginger tea is a common home remedy
for nausea during cancertreatment.
Pregnant women experiencing
morning sickness can safely use
ginger to relieve nausea and
vomiting, often in the form of
ginger lozenges or candies.
During cold weather, drinking
ginger tea is good way to keep
warm. It is diaphoretic, which
means that it promotes sweating,
working to warm the body from
within. As such, in the wake of
a cold, ginger tea is particularly
To make ginger tea at home, slice
20-40 g of fresh ginger and steep in
a cup of hot water. Adding a slice
of lemon or a drop of honey adds
flavor and additional benefits,
including vitamin C and antibacterial
Pain reduction
A study involving 74 volunteers
carried out at the University of
Georgia found that daily ginger
supplementation reduced exerciseinduced
muscle pain by 25%.
Ginger has also been found to reduce
the symptoms of dysmenorrhea
(severe pain during a menstrual
cycle). In one study, 83% of women
taking ginger capsules reported
improvements in pain symptoms
compared to 47% of those on placebo.
Ginger has been used for centuries
to reduce inflammation and treat
inflammatory conditions.
A study published in Cancer
Prevention Research journal found
that a ginger root supplement
administered to volunteer participants
reduced inflammation markers in the
colon within a month. Researchers on
the study explained that by decreasing
inflammation, the risk of colon cancer
is also likely to decrease. Ginger has
also shown promise in clinical trials
for treating inflammation associated
with osteoarthritis.
Ginger – nutritional profile
Using fresh ginger is an easy way
to flavor foods and drinks without
adding unnecessary sodium. Since
it is often consumed in such small
amounts, ginger does not add
significant quantities ofcalories,
carbohydrate, protein or fiber.
Ginger does contain numerous other
anti-inflammatory and antioxidant
compounds beneficial to health such
as gingerols, beta-carotene, capsaicin,
caffeic acid, curcumin and salicylate.
Ginger provides a variety of
vitamins and minerals:
• Carbohydrate – 17.77 g
• Dietary Fiber – 2 g
• Protein – 1.82 g
• Dietary Fiber – 2 g
• Sugars – 1.7 g
• Sodium – 13 mg
• Vitamin B6 – 0.16 mg
• Calcium – 16 mg
• Iron – 0.6 mg
• Vitamin C – 5 mg
• Potassium – 415 mg
• Magnesium – 43 mg
• Phosphorus – 34 mg
• Zinc – 0.34 mg
• Folate – 11 mcg
• Riboflavin – 0.034 mg
• Niacin – 0.75 mg
• Iron – 0.6 mg
How to incorporate more ginger
into your diet
Ginger pairs well with many
different types of seafood, oranges,
melon, pork, pumpkin and apples.
When buying fresh ginger, look for
a root with smooth, taut skin (no
wrinkles) and a spicy aroma.
Store fresh ginger in a tightly
wrapped plastic bag in the
refrigerator or freezer.
Fresh ginger should be peeled and
grated before use. In most recipes,
one-eighth teaspoon of ground
ginger can be substituted for one
tablespoon of fresh grated ginger.
Ground ginger can be found in the
herbs and spices section of most
grocery stores.
Quick tips:
• Add fresh ginger into your
next smoothie or juice
• Add fresh or dried ginger
to your next stir-fry or homemade
salad dressing
• Steep peeled fresh ginger
in boiling water to make your own
ginger tea
• Use fresh or dried ginger to
spice up any fish recipe.
Or, try these tasty ginger recipes
developed by a registered dietitian:
• Spicy cinnamon ginger
roasted carrots
• Maple gingerbread cookies
• Winter vegetable soup
• Spicy Chinese stir fry
• Cilantro-lime tuna burgers
• Slow cooker Thai coconut
• Cure-all juice
Potential health risks of
consuming ginger
Natural ginger is safe for most
people and causes little to no known
side effects. It may exacerbate
symptoms of acid reflux in some
people. The effectiveness and side
effects from ginger supplements
will vary by brand and formulation.
It is the total diet or overall eating
pattern that is most important in
disease prevention and achieving
good health. It is better to eat a diet
with a variety than to concentrate
on individual foods as the key to
good health.

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