Ginger is one of the most used culinary and medicinal spices in many countries around the world.
It contains the active ingredients gingerol, shogaol, zingerone, and was used in ancient medical practice to treat various disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, neurodegenerative diseases, inflammation and asthma.
Inflammation plays a major role in the pathogenesis of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Ginger can reduce this risk and improve your liver health.
Some studies have shown that in patients with NAFLD, the inflammatory cytokine TNF-a is an important feature in both insulin resistance and liver fibrosis. TNF-a also increases fatty acids oxidation. However, ginger supplementation has been found to significantly reduce levels of TNF-a in the body, which subsequently reduces the risk of NAFLD (1).
Researchers using randomized controlled clinical trials have found evidence that ginger supplementation can increase the effectiveness of lifestyle interventions such as a healthy diet and exercise on treating NAFLD.
Ginger’s therapeutic constituents such as gingerol and shogaol have been found to inhibit pro-inflammatory chemicals in the body such as prostaglandins and cytokines.
This has been linked to the use of ginger in traditional herbal medicine for treating chronic illnesses.
One particular study showed that ginger extract can reduce the elevated expression of agents involved in the production of inflammatory molecules (2).
The activation of these molecules is linked to a variety of inflammatory diseases, including cancer, atherosclerosis, myocardial infarction, diabetes, allergy, asthma, arthritis and psoriasis.
Simply put, ginger reduces the body’s inflammatory processes which in turn can reduce the development of serious diseases.
Ginger’s anti-inflammatory properties contribute to its ability to reduce pain and swelling in the body.
One of ginger’s active ingredients, dehydro-gingerdione, can regulate inflammatory genes by inhibiting NF-κB pathway, which ameliorates pain.
In addition, ginger has been found to act in a similar way to painkiller medicines NSAIDs (such as aspirin and Advil). It does this by blocking the activity of COX enzymes, as well as the production of inflammatory chemicals called leukotrienes and prostaglandins (3).
Ginger contains around nine different substances that are believed to stimulate serotonin receptors in the gut which provides benefits to the gastrointestinal system.
These benefits include the reduction of gut-related inflammation and the enhancement of nutrient absorption.
Ginger is referred to as a carminative, which means it helps to soothe irritation in the gut and reduce intestinal gas.
It’s also an intestinal spasmolytic, helping to calm smooth muscle in the gut while improving gut motility.
In addition, ginger is often used to reduce nausea, motion sickness, and feelings of morning sickness during pregnancy.
Some studies also suggest the ginger encourages the production of bile, which is required for adequate digestion of fats.
Research has shown that ginger supplementation can significantly reduce levels of insulin resistance markers, which may be beneficial for those with insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes.
One study found that a daily intake of three grams of ginger powder for eight weeks resulted in a significant reduction in fasting blood sugar levels and insulin resistance (4).