Ginger belongs to the family of Zingiberaceae, which is related to cardamon, turmeric, and galangal. Ginger is a rhizome which is an underground part of the stem because of which it is also referred to as ginger root. It is a very commonly used household spice.(1)
The ginger plant has yellowish green flowers and leafy stems. However, this spice comes from the roots of the plant. Ginger belongs mainly to warmer regions of Asia having its native places like India, China, and Japan. However, nowadays ginger is also grown in several parts of Southern America and Africa. Even, some Middle East countries also invest in growing ginger to use it in medicine and as a food spice.
Why is Ginger So famous Being a Spice?
Ginger has been used in several forms to help in traditional medicine since ancient times. Ginger is equipped with properties like reducing nausea, fighting flu and the common cold.(1)
Ginger also benefits indigestion, it is because of that since years’ grandmothers and mothers have been giving ginger to their children for an upset stomach.(2) Gingerol is the main constituent of ginger which gives a delicious taste along with aroma to help with nausea and vomiting.(3)
Besides these, ginger is added to several cuisines for the flavor and taste it gives to the food. Its easy availability and multiple benefits make it a so popular spice for the food.
Does Ginger Help the Heart?
The human heart beats nearly 70 times every minute and keeps doing that for the entire life of 80-90 years till the person is alive. However, the heart can also, at times, comes in the grip of several disorders making it difficult to perform the task to its best possible capacity.
Food and dietary habits also cause several heart troubles. Like a rise in the level of bad cholesterol or LDL levels can lead to cardiovascular diseases. Bad cholesterol has a direct linkage of triggering several heart diseases by developing an increased risk of heart disorders.(4) Such heart disorders are taking many lives daily all around the globe.
As per a research study by Alizadeh Navaei R, et al, significant reductions were observed with just 3 gm of ginger powder in their cholesterol levels which were high previously.(5) Further, in another study done over the rats observed a similar impact of lowering LDL cholesterol caused by the ginger extract.(6) The results were almost similar to the ones caused by atorvastatin which is a potent cholesterol-lowering drug.
Ginger contains certain chemical constituents which help in reducing inflammation and nausea.(7) Such chemicals primarily act in the stomach; however, it has some impact over the nervous system as well to control nausea. Besides that, ginger has shown effects in lowering sugar levels.(8) and improving or reducing heart disorder risk factors especially in people with type 2 diabetes.(9)
Ginger can help in maintaining a healthy heart and it has been used for centuries in several Chinese, Indonesian, and Indian Ayurveda therapies to treat several cardiovascular conditions. Regular consumption of ginger in small quantities can help in minimizing stroke and heart attack.
How Does Ginger Impact the Heart Health?
Several studies prove anti-inflammatory properties of ginger which are similar in action like of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDS.(7) So ginger basically inhibits the inflammation process in which several genes involved are blocked up of their actions.
As per a few research studies conducted by Maryland Medical Center, it was acclaimed that ginger might reduce cholesterol level and prevent blood clotting. Its anti-coagulant and blood thinning properties can help people with heart disease as the blood is less likely to clot and cause a heart attack.(1, 10) The antioxidant properties of ginger further add up to its therapeutic value of keeping the heart healthy.(11)
How to Make a Ginger Drink?
Follow a few simple tips to prepare a healthy ginger detox drink:
- Peel off a ginger slice and chop into chunks.
- Steep ginger chunks in boiling water for 20-30 minutes.
- Adding lemon and honey as per taste and relish it as hot detox tea or cool detox drink.
Alternatively, add ginger to your daily diet or chew a few slices of ginger along with warm water to get the benefits. Healthy lifestyle choices are always a good start and a ginger drink or having ginger in any form along with a balanced diet and exercise can be extremely helpful in minimizing heart and cardiovascular risks.
What are the Other Benefits of Ginger?
The other benefits of ginger include:
- Ginger contains nearly 12 antioxidant compounds which can combat the free radicals of the body. As per research, a particular antioxidant found in ginger in the form of flavonoids is considered good for the heart.(11, 12)
- Several other benefits of finer include relieving pain from rheumatoid arthritis, menstrual pain, osteoarthritis, and other conditions. Although, there isn’t much data available to support the pain-relieving benefits of ginger. However, experiences of the people and its common household usage have firm support for this.
- Ginger oil extracted from it also has certain medicinal properties which can help the skin.
- Ginger oil can also help in relieving pain if applied topically over the skin and it can also help to treat mild burns. Its strong aromatic odor also prevents insects’ bites on the skin. It has strong anti-inflammatory effects and thus helps in reducing painful conditions related to inflammation.(7)
- Ginger is used as a flavoring agent in several beverages and food preparations.
- Ginger is used for its medicinal properties and aromatic fragrance in a few cosmetics and soaps.
- Ginger is also known to help with digestion because of its properties which can help as an antacid and laxative as well.
- Ginger is also known to have positive effects in reducing high blood pressure.(13)
There is no sudden or quick fix for improving health. It certainly takes time, patience and wise choices to reach big goals. Cardiac disorders are coming up in massive different forms as destruction to health. So opting every possible lifestyle and dietary change to minimize cardiac risks is the best way to prevent it.
Ginger helps the heart in several ways by keeping it healthy. Moreover, ginger is easily available and can be added up as a spice to several foods or can be consumed as an exclusive ginger tea. Whether it’s just a need of calming mind and soul or actually benefiting heart ginger ale or ginger tea is the best drink to add up in a daily routine.
Benefits of ginger are not just confined to heart but to the whole body because of its antioxidant properties. So, relishing ginger tea or other foods prepared with this spice flavor is an easy and healthy way of keeping mind and body supremely healthy.
- Bode, A.M. et al. (2011) The amazing and mighty ginger. In Benzie IFF, W.-G.S. (ed) Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition. CRC, Boca Raton (FL). Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92775/
- M. Nikkhah Bodagh, I. Maleki, and A. Hekmatdoost, “Ginger in gastrointestinal disorders: a systematic review of clinical trials,” Food Science & Nutrition, vol. 7, no. 1, pp. 96–108, 2018. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6341159/
- Ryan, J.L. & Morrow, G. R. (2010). Ginger. Oncol Nurse. 24(2), 46-49. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5008850/
- Soliman, G. A. (2018, Jun). Dietary Cholesterol and the Lack of Evidence in Cardiovascular Disease. Nutrients. 10(6): 780. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6024687/
- Alizadeh Navaei, R., et al. (2008, Sep) Investigation of the effect of ginger on the lipid levels. A double blind controlled clinical trial. Saudi Med J. 29(9):1280-4. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18813412
- Al-Noory, A.S., Amreen, A.N., Hymoor, S. (2013, Jul) Antihyperlipidemic effects of ginger extracts in alloxan-induced diabetes and propylthiouracil-induced hypothyroidism in (rats). Pharmacognosy Res. 5(3):157-61. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23901210
- Mashhadi, N.S. et. al. (2013, Apr) Anti-Oxidative and anti-Inflammatory Effects of Ginger in Health and Physical Activity: Review of Current Evidence. International Journal of Preventive Medicine. 4(Suppl. 1): S36 – S42. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3665023/
- Makhdoomi Arzati M. et. al. (2017, Oct) The Effects of Ginger on Fasting Blood Sugar, Hemoglobin A1c, and Lipid Profiles in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes. International Journal of Endocrinology Metabolism. 15(4): e57927. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5750786/
- Fang-yan Huang, Ting Deng, Lian-xin Meng, Xin-ling Ma, (2019, Mar) Dietary ginger as a Traditional Therapy for Blood Sugar Control in Patients with type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. A systematic review and meta-analysis. Medicine (Baltimore). 98(13): e15054. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6455977/
- Marx, W. et. al. (2015, Oct) The Effect of Ginger (Zingiber officinale) on Platelet Aggregation: A Systematic Literature Review. PLoS One. 10(10): e0141119. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4619316/
- Verma, S.K., et al. (2004) Antioxidant property of ginger in patients with coronary artery disease. South Asian J Prev Cardiology. 8(4). Retrieved from http://www.sajpc.org/vol8/vol8_4/antioxidantproperty.htm
- Grzanna, R., et al. (2005, Summer) Ginger — A Herbal Medicinal product with broad anti-inflammatory actions. J Med Food. 8(2):125-32. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16117603
- Ghayur, M.N., Gilani, A.H. (2005, Feb) Ginger Lowers Blood Pressure through Blockade of Voltage-Dependent Calcium Channels. Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology. 45(1):74-80. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15613983
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