Benefits of Ginger: Helps With Weight Loss, Pain and More

Ginger Recipes

In an earlier article, I talked about 4 health benefits of ginger, but the advantages of this spice don’t stop at four. So let’s look at 4 more health benefits of ginger, including a new study on its impact on weight loss.

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Ginger and weight loss

Since overweight and obesity is such a challenge, it would be great to find more ways to assist people with their weight loss efforts. The results of a new double-blind, placebo-controlled study suggest ginger (Zingiber officinale) may be helpful.

Eighty obese women (18-45 years) were randomly assigned to take either 2 grams per day of ginger or a placebo for three months. At the end of the study, the authors noted the following:

  • Women who took ginger showed a significant decline in body mass index, serum insulin levels, and insulin resistance as well as an increase in insulin sensitivity
  • Women in both groups showed significant reductions in levels of glucose, leptin (hormone that regulates long-term energy balance), and resistin (a hormone resistant to insulin), with more of a response in the ginger group, although it was not a significant difference

The authors concluded that 2 grams of ginger powder taken daily for three months has a minor positive impact on weight loss and several metabolic factors of obesity. Since ginger also benefits two other factors associated with weight loss (digestion and diabetes, as noted in the previous article), taking ginger might result in a win-win-win situation.

Ginger and pain

If you want to avoid the potential side effects associated with various over-the-counter pain killers or just prefer to steer clear of conventional drugs, then ginger powder may be the answer. A number of studies, including those among athletes, have indicated that ginger can be an effective analgesic.

For example, a review of seven studies reported that about 2 grams of ginger powder daily taken for at least five days may reduce muscle pain associated with resistance exercise and prolonged running. There’s limited research suggesting ginger may speed up recovery after resistance exercise and reduce inflammation associated with cardiorespiratory exercise.

Other suggested ways to take ginger for pain include two drops twice a day of ginger essential oil in tea or water or 1,000 mg of powdered ginger root as a tea.

Ginger and dysmenorrhea

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Ginger was compared with the drug mefenamic acid for relief of pain associated with moderate to severe dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation) among a group of 122 female students. The women were randomly assigned to take 250 mg mefenamic every eight hours or 250 mg ginger every six hours from the start of menstruation until pain relief lasted two cycles.

Pain relief between the two treatment groups was similar throughout the study. The severity of dysmenorrhea, duration of pain, duration of menstrual cycle, and bleeding volume were not significantly different between the two groups of women. Thus ginger was an effective as mefenamic acid and is not associated with side effects.

Ginger and cholesterol

High cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and other serious health issues. Perhaps including some ginger in your lifestyle could help!

Among the studies showing the benefits of ginger on cholesterol is a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial involving 70 individuals with type 2 diabetes. The participants were randomly assigned to take either 1,600 mg ginger or placebo daily for 12 weeks.

At the end of the study, those who took the ginger showed a significant decline in total cholesterol and triglycerides compared with the placebo group. Changes in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterols were not significant.

Is it time to think about adding ginger to your lifestyle? If you prefer to enjoy the flavor of ginger rather than take a supplement, you can add the powder to smoothies, vegetable juices, stir-fry, cereals, cold soups, and teas.

Sources
Arablou T et al. The effect of ginger consumption on glycemic status, lipid profile and some inflammatory markers in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. International Journal of Food Science and Nutrition 2014 Jun; 65(4): 515-20
Ebrahimzadeh AV et al. Change of serum adipocytokines and body weight following Zingiber officinale supplementation in obese women: a RCT. European Journal of Nutrition 2016 Sep; 55(6): 2129-36
Shirvani MA et al. The effect of mefenamic acid and ginger on pain relief in primary dysmenorrhea: a randomized clinical trial. Archives of Gynecology & Obstetrics 2015 Jun; 291(6): 1277-81
Wilson PB. Ginger (Zingiber officinale) as an analgesic and ergogenic aid in sport: a systemic review. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 2015 Oct; 29(10): 2980-95

Image via Pixabay

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