Ginger is one of the oldest spices in the world, having been consumed for thousands of years (dating back to about 4000 B.C.) for cooking and in traditional medicine. Did you know that you can use ginger for weight loss too? This powerful spice actually works in many different ways to help you shed those extra pounds! It also provides a host of other benefits to nourish you and your family's health.
What is ginger?
Ginger is a rhizome with an underground stem that looks like a thick root. You can actually grow the ginger found at your grocery stores by simply dividing its rhizomes rather than from seed.
Ginger’s aromatic and spicy flavor is often found in Asian stir-fries and vegetable dishes. Another common thing that comes to mind is making gingerbread during the holidays. But ginger is good for much more than just flavoring cookies and stir-fries!
10 Incredible Ginger Benefits for Weight Loss and Health
1. Naturally Boosts Metabolism
Ginger is a thermogenic food that can raise the temperature of the body by burning stored up fat, resulting in a boost to your metabolism and reduced fat storage. Consuming thermogenic ingredients like ginger may boost your metabolism by up to 5 percent, and increase fat burning by up to 16 percent(1). Ginger’s high fiber content also helps to increase your metabolism.
2. Increases Food Satiety
While diet and willpower play a role in weight loss, hormonal balance also plays an important role. Leptin is a hormone that takes a part in you feeling full and satisfied after a meal.
In a healthy person, leptin levels determine how hungry you get and how much fat your body stores. Obese individuals tend to have higher leptin levels, which can cause their brain and body to become resistant to leptin. This results in the brain not turning your fat burning switch on, and you stay hungry and store more and more fat.
The main bioactive compound in ginger, called gingerol, has been shown to improve blood sugar levels and leptin levels(2). Ginger’s well known anti-inflammatory abilities can also help you reverse leptin resistance, which in turn helps you reverse weight gain.
3. Natural Appetite Suppressant
Ginger may help to suppress your appetite, keep you feeling full and ultimately reduce your overall daily caloric intake. A 2012 study published in the journal Metabolism found that people who drank a hot ginger beverage with 2 grams (about ½ teaspoon) of ginger powder after meals have reduced feelings of hunger for up to six hours(3).
4. Reduces Cortisol Production
Cortisol is a steroid hormone which regulates a wide range of processes throughout the body, including metabolism, immune and stress response. Hormonal changes and chronic stress can cause spikes in blood cortisol levels. Elevated cortisol levels may contribute to weight gain, especially making it hard to lose belly fat. It also causes the immune system and metabolism to be out of balance.
According to an article in the "Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin" of 2004, ginger suppresses cortisol production, so consuming ginger can help restore your internal balance, promote your well-being and weight loss.
5. Aids Digestion
Ginger has been used for thousands of years as a digestive aid. It can improve digestion by increasing the pH of the stomach and stimulating your digestive enzymes. It can also relax the smooth muscle in your gut lining and move food along throughout the system. This is one reason why ginger can relieve bloating, constipation and other gastrointestinal disorders. When everything moves more smoothly and efficiently, you benefit by losing weight more easily. Reducing your bloat helps to trim your waistline and reveal a flatter belly.
6. Fights common cold and flu.
Ginger is a well-known traditional remedy for treating the cold and flu. It is naturally antiviral and contains chemicals called sesquiterpenes which can specifically target rhinoviruses (the most common family of cold viruses). Ginger’s antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties can help to boost your immune system.
Ginger can also relieve the common symptoms associated with a cold and flu as it can act as an antihistamine and decongestant. It is a natural pain reducer and a mild sedative. It’s ability to stimulate perspiration can bring down body temperature and reduce fever.
7. Soothes sore muscles and joints.
The gingerols in ginger contain anti-inflammatories that can improve blood circulation and help relieve tired muscles.
A great way to both soothe your muscles and reduce stress is to immerse yourself in a hot ginger bath. Grate ½ cup of fresh ginger, seal it in a cotton bag and place it under running bathwater.
The ginger can cause you to sweat profusely, which is a great way to get rid of toxins in your body, helping you to feel refreshed and energized. Just be sure to replenish your body with water to avoid dehydration.
8. Menstrual Pain
Menstrual cramps are one of the most common problems that women face, affecting over 50 percent of menstruating women. For some, the pain can be so intense that it disrupts their ability to go about their normal daily routines every month.
Ginger has be shown to be as effective as ibuprofen and mefenamic acid in reducing pains associated with menstrual cramps(4). Many women actually find that while the commercial pills dull the pain, ginger can completely remove the pain.
9. Treats nausea
Ginger has long been a popular remedy for nausea in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine. It is used to ease nausea from morning sickness, motion sickness, food poisoning and even chemotherapy. The ginger is commonly consumed as a tea or cooked into a therapeutic rice porridge or congee. Many people also use ginger supplements for treating nausea.
10. Improves Memory and Attention
Ginger has traditionally been used to treat memory loss and dementia. More recent research shows it can enhance a wide variety of other cognitive functions besides memory.
In a study of healthy middle-aged women that were given dried ginger supplements, they showed improvements in working memory, reaction time, and attention(5). I know I could definitely use the help to battle my “mommy brain” from time to time!
How to use ginger?
Ready to ramp up your consumption of ginger for weight loss and overall health sake? To incorporate more ginger into your life, drink it in a tea, grate it or add its dried powder into just about anything: stir fries, vegetables, soups, eggs, muffins, oatmeal, desserts and smoothies.
Here is a list of posts with recipes where I’ve included ginger as an ingredient:
Do you consume ginger regularly? What are your favorite ways of consuming ginger? Comment below!
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