Surprising Health Benefits of Ginger Tea
Ginger is rich in phytochemicals, antioxidants, and other beneficial compounds that aid digestion, support brain function, ease inflammation, and protect against infection. This powerful tropical plant is in the same botanical family as cardamom and turmeric and has been used for thousands of years in Asian, Indian, and Arabic medicine. Fresh ginger is best because it has a higher level of gingerol. There are few side effects from taking ginger and many benefits for your body.
|Photo: Times of India|
Helps brain health
Brain disorders may be related to chronic inflammation in the brain, which makes the anti-inflammatory properties of ginger extra beneficial for brain function.
Taking ginger could provide health benefits for anxiety, depression, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Ginger has been shown to increase serotonin and dopamine levels and reduce inflammation which may cause depression.
Taking ginger supplements can also improve working memory, attention, and reaction time which could help slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. If your brain could use some support, add ginger to your diet or try daily supplements.
Treat many forms of nausea
Ginger appears to be highly effective against nausea. It may help relieve nausea and vomiting for people undergoing certain types of surgery. Ginger may also help chemotherapy-related nausea, but larger human studies are needed. However, it may be the most effective when it comes to pregnancy-related nausea, such as morning sickness.
According to a review of 12 studies that included a total of 1,278 pregnant women, 1.1–1.5 grams of ginger can significantly reduce symptoms of nausea.
However, this review concluded that ginger had no effect on vomiting episodes. Although ginger is considered safe, talk with your doctor before taking large amounts if you’re pregnant. It’s recommended that pregnant women who are close to labor or who’ve had miscarriages avoid ginger. Ginger is contraindicated with a history of vaginal bleeding and clotting disorders as well, according to Healthline.
The gingerol found in ginger is powerful for fighting infections and stopping bacterial growth. It’s versatile enough to tackle many types of bacteria, including bacteria in your gut, mouth, and even respiratory system. Ginger is a great go-to for food poisoning, gingivitis, colds, and flu.
How does it work? It increases the number of T cells, which seek and destroy pathogens in your body. Fresh ginger has been shown to be more effective than other forms and can be eaten in food or sipped in a ginger tea or tonic, Healthgrades cited.
|Photo: HUM Nutrition|
If you have high cholesterol, adding fresh or powdered ginger to your diet may help reduce LDL cholesterol levels. Consuming ginger triggers a specific enzyme that helps monitor and control cholesterol levels by increasing how much cholesterol your body uses. The more cholesterol you use, the lower your levels.
Here’s a tasty way to add ginger to your daily routine: Add it to your morning oatmeal or smoothie to get your morning off to a healthy start.
|Photo: Eat This, Not That|
May help with weight loss
Ginger may play a role in weight loss, according to studies conducted in humans and animals. A 2019 literature review concluded that ginger supplementation significantly reduced body weight, waist-hip ratio, and hip ratio in people with overweight or obesity. A 2016 study of 80 women with obesity found that ginger could also help reduce body mass index (BMI) and blood insulin levels. High blood insulin levels are associated with obesity. Study participants received relatively high daily doses — 2 grams — of ginger powder for 12 weeks.
A 2019 literature review of functional foods also concluded that ginger had a very positive effect on obesity and weight loss. However, additional studies are needed. The evidence in favor of ginger’s role in helping prevent obesity is stronger in animal studies. Rats and mice who consumed ginger water or ginger extract consistently saw decreases in their body weight, even in instances where they’d also been fed high-fat diets.
Ginger’s ability to influence weight loss may be related to certain mechanisms, such as its potential to help increase the number of calories burned or reduce inflammation.
|Photo: Times Now|
Reduce menstrual pain
Dysmenorrhea refers to pain felt during the menstrual cycle. One of the traditional uses of ginger is for pain relief, including menstrual pain.
In a 2009 study, 150 women were instructed to take either ginger or a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) for the first 3 days of their menstrual period. The three groups received four daily doses of either ginger powder (250 mg), mefenamic acid (250 mg), or ibuprofen (400 mg). Ginger managed to reduce pain as effectively as the two NSAIDs.
More recent studies have also concluded that ginger is more effective than a placebo and equally as effective as drugs such as mefenamic acid and acetaminophen/caffeine/ibuprofen. While these findings are promising, higher-quality studies with larger numbers of study participants are still needed.
Lowers cancer risk
Ginger has many preventive health benefits including lowering the risk of cancer. It helps protect your cells from DNA changes and can prevent the growth of cancer cells. Ginger has also been shown to make cancerous tumors more receptive to treatments like radiation and chemotherapy.
Though more human studies are needed, current research has found that ginger can help prevent or suppress cancer growth in colorectal cancer, liver cancer, breast cancer, bladder cancer, lymphoma, and skin cancer.
|Photo: Sweet Steep|
How to make ginger tea?
Ginger tea is a lovely, lightly spicy drink for warming up on cold days. It’s a light, alcohol-free alternative to a nightcap. It soothes upset stomachs and eases indigestion if you over-indulge. All in all, the fresh ginger tea recipe is an excellent drink to keep in your repertoire in cold weather.
To make ginger tea, follow these steps:
1. Thinly slice your fresh ginger. You don’t need to peel it first, but do rinse it and scrub off any visible dirt. Plan on using about a one-inch piece of ginger per cup of tea.
2. In a saucepan, combine the ginger with freshwater (use one cup of water per serving).
3. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer.
4. Simmer for five minutes (or up to 10 minutes, if you want extra-strong tea). I usually think it’s pungent enough at five minutes.
5. Pour the tea through a fine sieve to catch all of the ginger. If desired, serve your tea with a thin round of lemon or orange for some complimentary acidity. You might also appreciate a light drizzle of honey or maple syrup, which will temper the fiery ginger flavor.
|Photo: Good Housekeeping|
Ginger tea variations
Want to change up your plain ginger tea? Here are a few easy variations.
Ginger-Cinnamon Tea: For more warming spice, simply add a cinnamon stick to your tea before bringing to a simmer.
Ginger-Turmeric Tea: Turmeric offers additional anti-inflammatory benefits, plus a fun orangey hue and extra-spicy, intriguing flavor. Treat fresh turmeric the same way that you treat fresh ginger—cut it into thin slices, and add it to your ginger and water mixture.
Ginger-Mint Tea: Fresh mint lends a cooling component, which helps balance the warmth of fresh ginger. Add a few sprigs of fresh mint to your mixture before bringing it to a simmer.
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