Why you should consider adding ginger to your diet (2024)

Many people use ginger only in dishes associated with Eastern cuisines. But as researchers uncover more information about how ginger affects your health, you may want to think about making it a diet staple.

Ginger is a flowering root plant from Southeast Asia and may look intimidating at first. The fresh ginger you find in the produce aisle is the root of the ginger plant. But just below the bumpy, brown layer of skin, ginger packs tons of flavor and powerful health advantages.

Here’s what you should consider:

Health benefits of ginger

Ginger contains vitamin C, magnesium and potassium, which are all valuable to your health. But ginger’s secret weapon is one of its natural oils: gingerol. Natural oils give ginger its unique flavor and smell, and gingerol — ginger’s most important oil — has powerful medicinal properties. It reduces inflammation, works as an antioxidant and offers numerous other benefits to your health:

Helps with osteoarthritis pain

Ginger will not necessarily bring you immediate pain relief. But for inflammation-related conditions, such as osteoarthritis, studies show that ginger improves pain and stiffness over time. While earlier research studied the effects of ginger when consumed, newer studies are focusing on the effects of applying ginger oil topically to relieve pain associated with osteoarthritis.

Relieves menstrual cramps

In 2020, more than 20 million women in the United States used non-prescription products to relieve menstrual pain. But research shows that ginger may be just as effective at easing period pain as over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen. One study gave women doses of either ginger or a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) for the first three days of their menstrual cycle. Ginger reduced the pain just as effectively as the NSAIDs.

Improves blood sugar regulation

New research is finding that gingerol helps keep blood sugar levels steady — an important factor in managing the long-term effects of diabetes. One small study showed that taking just 2 grams of powdered ginger supplement daily noticeably lowered fasting blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes. Another study found that consuming ginger powder for 12 weeks improved insulin sensitivity in people with type 2 diabetes.

Soothes an upset stomach

While it’s the carbonation in ginger ale that tends to calm your tummy, ginger does have the ability to ease an upset stomach. A review of more than 100 trials concluded that ginger is highly effective against nausea: Taking just 1 gram of ginger significantly reduces the symptoms of nausea in pregnant women. It also helps with motion sickness and is used to relieve nausea and vomiting after surgery or associated with cancer treatment.

Improves indigestion

Chronic indigestion is often the result of the stomach taking too long to empty its contents. Ginger speeds up that process by helping food move more quickly through the gastrointestinal tract. Several studies found that taking ginger speeds up gastric emptying, even when participants did not have chronic indigestion.

Reduces risk of heart disease

High cholesterol levels, especially LDL (bad) cholesterol, are linked to an increased risk of heart disease. But there’s some evidence that ginger can reduce cholesterol levels. While more research is needed, early studies in both humans and animals show that adding ginger to your diet may result in reduced LDL levels, total cholesterol and blood triglyceride levels.

Adding ginger to your diet

Ginger is easy to incorporate into your diet — and a little goes a long way. Peeled, fresh ginger can be sliced, diced or shredded to use in recipes. But you can also find ginger dried, powdered, or as an oil or juice. Just keep in mind that fresh ginger offers more gingerol than dried or powdered ginger.

Fresh, unpeeled ginger lasts in the fridge for up to three weeks. If skin looks wrinkled or moldy, it’s time to toss it. If you don’t plan to use it right away, peeled ginger root can be frozen.

If you are using powdered ginger, the taste and smell may be different, and you’ll want to use less. Typically, ¼ teaspoon of powdered ginger is equal to 1 teaspoon of fresh ginger. Powdered ginger is most often used in baking.

How much ginger should you take daily?

Ginger is safe to eat daily, but experts recommend limiting yourself to 3 to 4 grams a day — stick to 1 gram daily if you’re pregnant. Taking more than 6 grams of ginger a day has been proven to cause gastrointestinal issues such as reflux, heartburn and diarrhea.

The equivalent of 1 gram of ginger includes:

  • ½ teaspoon of powdered ginger
  • 1 teaspoon of grated raw ginger
  • 4 cups of water steeped with ½ teaspoon grated ginger

What to consider before adding ginger to your diet

If you plan to take ginger as an herbal supplement, talk to your doctor first. High doses of ginger supplements can have digestive side effects. Ginger should never be used in place of medication prescribed for you by your doctor.

Reach out to your primary care physician to see how ginger may benefit your health.

Why you should consider adding ginger to your diet (2024)


Why you should consider adding ginger to your diet? ›

Health Benefits of Ginger

What happens to your body when you eat ginger everyday? ›

Research has shown that eating raw or cooked ginger in small quantities every day reduces muscle pain. The study showed that those who ate ginger everyday recovered faster from muscle soreness. Those who didn't eat ginger took a longer time to heal.

What are the pros and cons of taking ginger? ›

Ginger seems to aid digestion and saliva flow. Studies found that taking ginger could ease nausea and vomiting in some pregnant women. But pregnant women should be careful with ginger. Some experts worry that it could raise the risk of miscarriage, especially in high doses.

What are the side effects of too much ginger? ›

It can cause mild side effects including heartburn, diarrhea, burping, and general stomach discomfort. Taking higher doses of 5 grams daily increases the risk for side effects. When applied to the skin: Ginger is possibly safe when used short-term. It might cause skin irritation for some people.

Who cannot take ginger? ›

Pregnant or breastfeeding women, people with heart conditions, and people with diabetes should not take ginger without talking to their doctors. DO NOT take ginger if you have a bleeding disorder or if you are taking blood-thinning medications, including aspirin.

What does ginger do to the body system? ›

Ginger may help relieve nausea and vomiting and aid digestion . Antioxidants and other nutrients in ginger root may help prevent or treat arthritis, inflammation, and various types of infection. Ginger may also reduce the risk of diabetes, cancer, and other health problems.

Is too much ginger bad for your kidneys? ›

Consuming foods and drinks with antioxidants, like ginger water, can help prevent and fight the negative side effects of ROS. One study found that that ginger could prevent or slow down kidney failure.

What is the healthiest way to consume ginger? ›

To get all the goodness of the ginger, let the slices steep for at least 10 minutes. Ginger tea is a healthier alternative to ginger ale, ginger beer and other commercial canned or bottled ginger beverages. These drinks provide ginger's benefits, but many contain a lot of sugar.

How much ginger is safe per day? ›

How much ginger should you take daily? Ginger is safe to eat daily, but experts recommend limiting yourself to 3 to 4 grams a day — stick to 1 gram daily if you're pregnant. Taking more than 6 grams of ginger a day has been proven to cause gastrointestinal issues such as reflux, heartburn and diarrhea.

Is too much ginger bad for the liver? ›

Fortunately, ginger is a food that has all the elements needed to prevent and treat liver problems. Experts suggest that ginger supplementation represents a new treatment strategy for NAFLD by improving the body's antioxidant activity, reducing inflammation and insulin resistance.

Why can't diabetics have ginger? ›

Can people living with diabetes safely consume ginger? While more research is necessary, some evidence suggests ginger may help manage blood sugar levels. As such, people with diabetes can safely consume ginger as part of a healthy eating plan.

Does boiling ginger destroy nutrients? ›

Lemon and ginger are normally good sources of vitamin C, antioxidants, fiber, vitamin B6, magnesium, and potassium. However, dehydrating and boiling the ingredients tend to remove these nutrients, leaving only small amounts in the final tea.

Can ginger cause anxiety? ›

Certain foods and nutrients may help support your body in reducing anxiety and improving how your body handles stress. The spices saffron and turmeric may reduce both depression and anxiety. Additionally, some research suggests that ginger may be effective in reducing anxiety, as well.

What happens when you eat a piece of ginger everyday? ›

Eating ginger every day may help lower "bad" or low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels in the body. In one study, taking 5 grams of ginger a day for almost 5 months was linked with lowering LDL cholesterol an average of 30 points.

Does ginger make you urinate a lot? ›

Lifestyle factors that may result in frequent urination: Drinking too much water/fluid. Diuretics – foods/beverages that relieve water retention such as alcohol, tea, coffee, soda, parsley, ginger, etc. Spicy, salty, or acidic foods that irritate the bladder.

Is ginger good for the kidneys? ›

One of the tea's ingredients, ginger, is especially packed with antioxidants. It's these compounds, which neutralize the unstable molecules known as free radicals, that contribute towards kidney health.

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