Nutritional Information for Ginger
Ginger is a root (spice) that has many uses. It is spicy and pungent in taste and varies in appearance (white, yellow, red) depending on the type of ginger. Some of the antioxidant properties found in ginger are called, gingerols. They have been found to offer an array of natural health benefits and treatments.
Benefits of Ginger
Cancer Prevention Benefits
Ginger has been put to the test against DNA damage and inflammation. Those eating ginger have been shown to lower inflammatory markers, oxidation and DNA strand breaks. Natural antioxidant compounds in ginger appear to have antiinflammatory and anticancer effects. Since cancer progression seems to be spurred by oxidative stress, limiting the amount of stress in the body may help reduce overall cancer risk.
Ginger is thought to help protect and treat liver cancer. Some of the bioactive compounds in ginger, like 6-Shogaol, may possess a strong anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory activity. When dripped on human prostate cancer cells in vitro the cells had a much lower chance of survival. However, researchers have tested whole ginger root vs. individual compounds in ginger concluding it’s better to emphasize the whole food over a single agent. And that makes sense. Why try to single out any nutrient when one could obtain several nutrients from eating the whole plant?
Also, eating ginger may be one of the least expensive ways to protect against radiation-induced damage. Airline pilots are exposed to radiation damage when flying and those eating more ginger have been shown to lessen the radioactive effects.
Men's Health Benefits
Ginger extracts have been shown to help chronic pain and have similar effects as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as Advil. Now, ginger is no substitute for medication, but if this study holds true it might be a good idea to try ginger first before taking any over-the-counter drugs for chronic pain. It stacks up pretty well against headaches, too.
Powdered ginger was put to the test against migraine headaches by comparing it with a popular migraine drug, sumatriptan ( also known as Imitrex) – one of the top selling billion dollar drugs in the world for migraines. In a randomized clinical trial, one-eighth of a teaspoon of powdered ginger was shown to work just well, if not better than, a good dose of the drug. Plus, there are no side effects from taking ginger, compared with taking the drug. Not to mention a pinch of ginger is far less money than any drug. Talk with your doctor about what treatment plan is right for you. Note that taking ginger (1 Tablespoon) on an empty stomach may cause some stomach discomfort, however, that pales in comparison to the side effects of the drug, which include dizziness, a sedative effect, vertigo, heartburn, heart attack, and sometimes death.
Patients going thru chemotherapy may experience many side effects. One of the main symptoms is nausea or vomiting. Ginger may be used to help counteract the nausea and vomiting that stems from chemo.
For women, ginger may help reduce pregnancy-induced nausea and vomiting.
Ways to Use Ginger
+ Chop in 1-2 inch chunks and make ginger tea
+ Add to Asian dishes and stir-frys
+ Make a gingered-cantaloupe fruit salad
+ Add to a smoothie
+ Add a chunk to water to help aid digestion
Resources for Ginger
American Institute for Cancer Research: www.aicr.org
Nutrition Facts: www.nutritionfacts.org
Physicians Committee: www.pcrm.org
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