May 15, 2019 06:34 PM EDT
Research has shown that ginger can help nausea and vomiting, symptoms of an upset stomach and it can even help relieve pain.
"It's most commonly known for helping ease digestive issues like nausea," said Kelly LeVeque, a nutritionist based in Los Angeles and author of the book "Body Love."
"Yet there is plenty of research that points to the health benefits of ginger as well; studies have shown that it's an anti-inflammatory food and acts as an antioxidant in the body," she said.
A study that was published in the journal Pain Medicine in 2015, reviewed seven randomized controlled trials and fond by consuming ginger powder in the first few days of a menstrual cycle can help relieve period pain. Another study that was published in The Journal of Pain in 2010 found that eating raw or heated ginger was associated with up to 25% reduction in soreness after exercise, which is much effective than placebo.
"I think ginger is fascinating," said Dr. Eddie Fatakhov, a physician and nutritionist at the Center for Internal and Integrative Medicine in Alpharetta, Georgia. "It helps soothe the throat. It may help decrease nausea. So if you're not feeling good or you have diarrhea, ginger can actually help with that."
Ginger is said to be an appetite suppressant, and it could play a role in weight management. When it comes to the best way to consume ginger, he recommends going for fresh.
"The fresh ginger compound is called gingerol. That's the main ingredient that causes all of those powerful anti-inflammatory properties," Fatakhov said.
"Then, when I take it and I cook with it, now it switches to zingerone. Zingerone is not as powerful," he said. "So if the question is, is it worth eating ginger fresh or cooked? You're going to lose a lot of the properties if you're cooking it. So I would say fresh is best. The second best would be if it's powdered or ground as a spice."
Drinking ginger is also the best way to incorporate it into your diet. Fatakhov recommended trying turmeric tea or turmeric latte. The traditional Indian drink is known as an ancient approach to medicine and wellness. Some may enjoy drinking sliced ginger in their water or tea.
"You place the ginger in hot water and let it steep like you would with a tea bag. Drinking ginger steeped in hot or cold water will give you some of the same health benefits as when you add it as a spice to your food or blended into a smoothie," Fatakhov said.
"Another way to incorporate into your diet is to add into soups," he said. "It pairs really well with a pureed veggie soup, like carrot soup. It also offers a nice twist if you add a slice of the root to your traditional warm lemon water in the morning."
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