Ginger – More Than Just For an Upset Stomach
By Joe Martinez, RPh, PDE, CMS, Founder and CCO, HMS
Contributor Emily Simmons
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of ginger? I think of ginger ale as you may think so too. However, there’s more to ginger than meets the eye, or even the stomach… When I was a boy, my mom gave me ginger ale to drink when I had an upset stomach. I had no idea why it worked, but it did. Back in the day, while shopping for ginger ale with my mother at the store, I learned that not all ginger ales are created equal. I was told that to choose ginger ale with real ginger, as that’s the kind that will help ease an upset stomach. Ginger ale with artificial ginger won’t cut it. My mother was right about ‘real’ ginger being a therapeutic and in more ways than one. Hey, mother always knows best….
Interestingly, there is a studythat found that ginger decreased pregnancy associated nausea and had no risk of side effects. Another studyfrom the University of Rochester Medical Center concluded that ginger helped reduce the severity of chemotherapy-induced nausea. And, in 2011 there was an animal studythat showed how ginger decreased the levels of inflammatory proteins and blocked the activity of certain enzymes to form an ulcer.
Ginger can also help fight off fungal infections like yeast infections and athlete’s foot. There was a test-tube study performed that found ginger to have anti-fungal properties against two types of fungal infections that are common in the mouth. This study also concluded that herbal extracts from anti-inflammatory foods like ginger may be used in antimicrobial therapy in the future.
Finally, studies show that ginger also helps to reduce muscle pain, osteoarthritis symptoms, as well as manage blood sugar, reduce menstrual pain and lower cholesterol levels.
Getting to the source: What’s in ginger that gives it all this healing power? Well, to be quite specific about it …100 grams of raw ginger contains:
- 80 calories
- 17.8 grams of carbohydrates
- 1.8 grams of protein
- 0.7 grams of fat
- 2 grams of dietary fiber
- 415 milligrams of potassium
- 0.2 milligrams of copper
- 0.2 milligrams of manganese
- 43 milligrams of magnesium
- 5 milligrams of vitamin C
- 0.2 milligrams of vitamin B6
- 0.7 milligrams of niacin
- 34 milligrams of phosphorus
- 0.6 milligrams of iron
How do you find it?
Ginger is available in many different forms including fresh, dried, ground, capsule, juices and even as an essential oil. The more recognized form is the ginger root, an ingredient that many chefs use for its taste – our chefs at Healthy Meals Supreme included.
In fact, if you don’t feel like cooking tonight and would like to try one of our dishes that include ginger, or one of many other natural superfood ingredients, here are a few of my favorites:
* Always check with your doctor or healthcare professional before making any changes to your diet or exercise routine.