Ginger is one of the healthiest seasonings in the world and is also one of the best spices for digestive health! Ginger, also known as Zingiber officinale, is a root or rhizome that grows underground and commonly is used as a seasoning. Furthermore, ginger is a flowering plant and is widely used as both a spice and medical remedy. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, ginger has been used to enhance digestion and treat stomach upset and nausea for over 2,000 years.
Nutrition analysis of ginger shows that 100g of ground ginger contains: 336 calories, 4.2 g total fat, 2.6g Saturated fat, 0 mg Cholesterol, 27 mg sodium, 72g total carbohydrate, 14g of fiber, 9g of protein, and 109 percent of daily iron intake.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is an intestinal disorder that affects between 25-45 million Americans. Common IBS symptoms include gas, bloating, stomach cramps, constipation, and diarrhea. Ginger can help relieve these symptoms because the spice helps relax your intestines during flare-ups. Additionally, ginger also has mild anti-inflammatory properties to ease abdominal pain and discomfort.
Eases Motion Sickness
Another GI benefit of ginger is that it helps alleviate motion sickness. If you are someone who gets sick while riding in a car, plane, or ship, try drinking ginger before you travel. According to a study issued in the New York Times, Danish scientists studied 80 naval cadets prone to seasickness and found that those given ginger suffered less in a four-hour period than those given a placebo.
While eating nutritious meals are essential, many fail to realize that our bodies do not absorb all of the minerals and vitamins that we consume. Adding ginger to your meals or drink can help boost nutrient absorption. Ginger aids the digestive system by creating a smooth barrier that helps food move throughout the body. This enables the body to absorb more nutrients, preventing vitamin or mineral deficiency as well as preventing inflammation and bloating.
Eases Painful Periods
Many women have painful menstrual cramps during menstruation. While rest and relaxation can help aid these painful periods, ginger is a great alternative to help relieve inflammation and pain. The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends taking ginger two to three times a day while you are experiencing menstrual cramps. Furthermore, ginger can help with nausea and an upset stomach, symptoms that sometimes accompany menstruation.
Ginger is a relatively safe food to ingest. However, eating ginger does pose some risk. Be sure to talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns.
Mitra Rangarajan is one of the few people in the world who is cross-trained and certified in three interrelated, interconnected and intertwined disciplines which are: Nutrition, Diabetes Management, and Clinical Medicine/GI. Read more of Mitra’s GI Nutrition articles here!