Ginger benefits: Ginger root may ‘reduce cholesterol’ – and other health benefits

Dietician explains the health benefits of eating ginger root

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A clinical review demonstrated “compelling evidence” for ginger’s anti-inflammatory properties, which may be beneficial in treating inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis and cancer. An excellent source of anti-oxidants, ginger root has been viewed as a “possible colon cancer-preventing compound”. This was exemplified by the second edition of the book Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects, which has an online excerpt.

“The most common use of ginger is to alleviate the vomiting and nausea associated with pregnancy, chemotherapy, and some types of surgery,” the authors noted.

Furthermore, ginger also “appears to reduce cholesterol, thereby helping to decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes”.

The effects of consuming ginger are said to be “mighty” and appear to be “safe”.

Evidence for anti-cancer properties

Researchers from the University of Texas explained that gastrointestinal cancer “is one of the most common cancers around the world”.

Listing the various uses of ginger root, the research team investigated the evidence for its anti-cancer proponents.

Ginger root is used to treat:

  • Nausea
  • Dysentery
  • Heartburn
  • Flatulence
  • Diarrhoea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Infections
  • Cough
  • Bronchitis

“Experimental studies showed that ginger and its active components, including 6-gingerol and 6-shogaol, exert anti-cancer activities against gastrointestinal cancer,” the team noted.

“The anti-cancer activity of ginger is attributed to its ability to modulate several signalling molecules,” it explained.

What is gastrointestinal cancer?

Gastrointestinal cancer is a term to describe a group of cancers that can affect the:

  • Oesophagus
  • Pancreas
  • Stomach
  • Colon (bowel)
  • Rectum
  • Anus
  • Liver
  • Biliary system
  • Small intestine

Ginger root reducing cholesterol

Research conducted by Tehran’s University of Medical Sciences, Iran, assessed the impact of ginger consumption on cholesterol levels.

Seventy people were randomly assigned into the ginger group or control group, and the participants didn’t know if they were consuming ginger or not.

The ginger group consumed 1600mg of ginger capsules for 12 weeks while the control group had a wheat flour placebo capsule.

The results demonstrated – through blood samples – that the ginger group had reduced cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Not only that, the ginger group also had lower fasting blood sugar levels compared to the control group who consumed wheat flour.

The researchers concluded: “Ginger improved insulin sensitivity and some fractions of lipid profile.”

They added: “Ginger can be considered as an effective treatment for prevention of diabetes complications.”

What’s diabetes?

Diabetes is when there’s too much glucose (sugar) in the bloodstream, which can cause long-term health complications.

The excess glucose can irritate blood vessels, which may eventually lead to nerve damage among other health concerns.

Early indicators of type 2 diabetes include:

  • Increased frequency of urination
  • Increased hunger
  • Increased thirst
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Slow-healing wounds

If you’re concerned you may have diabetes, a simple blood test arranged by a doctor can confirm a diagnosis.

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