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Ginger's benefits & risks: Doctor warns not everyone should indulge

Ginger's benefits & risks: Doctor warns not everyone should indulge What are the benefits of ginger (photo: Freepik)

In winter, ginger is a popular addition to hot tea, known for bolstering the body's resistance against infections and serving as a traditional remedy. While its health benefits are numerous, it's crucial to approach ginger consumption with care. Nutritionist Oleg Shvets shared some insights on Facebook.

What is ginger good for?

Ginger, a versatile spice and flavor enhancer, has been a staple in culinary and medicinal practices across cultures for millennia. Driven by its rich antioxidant content, ginger boasts various health benefits highlighted by experts.

"Despite its low-calorie profile – only 4 calories in two teaspoons – ginger packs a punch with antioxidants that shield cells from free radical damage," notes a medical expert.

Here's a breakdown of the main health benefits associated with ginger consumption:

Prevents the reproduction of microorganisms

Certain compounds in fresh ginger act as formidable defenders against bacteria, viruses, and infectious agents, inhibiting the growth of bacteria and containing viruses.

Oral health

Active gingerols in ginger prevent bacterial growth in the mouth, curbing the risk of periodontitis, a severe inflammatory gum disorder.

Alleviates nausea

"Ginger helps to relieve nausea, especially during pregnancy. It promotes dissolution and gets rid of gases that form and accumulate in the intestines. Ginger can also help to cope with seasickness or nausea caused by chemotherapy," Shvets says.

Muscle pain relief

While not an immediate remedy, ginger, when consumed regularly, has shown to reduce muscle soreness, providing relief over time.

Relieves the symptoms of arthritis

Ginger's anti-inflammatory properties, including swelling reduction, can be beneficial in treating symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, complementing primary therapies.

"Pain and swelling can be relieved both by consuming ginger orally and by applying a ginger compress or patch to the skin," the nutritionist explains.

Potential cancer prevention

Observations suggest that biologically active molecules in ginger may impede the growth of certain cancers, though more research with robust methodologies is needed.

Blood sugar regulation

One recent small study showed that ginger helps the body use insulin better.

"It is worth continuing to plan and carry out research in this direction to make sure that ginger really improves the level of sugar in the blood," says the doctor.

Menstrual pain relief

Research indicates that ginger powder supplementation may reduce menstrual pain when taken during the menstrual cycle.

Cholesterol reduction

"Regular consumption of ginger has shown promise in lowering low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, contributing to vascular health," says the doctor.

Antioxidant richness

Ginger's antioxidant compounds fortify the body's defenses, combating stress, DNA damage, and promoting overall health, including protection against chronic diseases.

Indigestion aid

"Ginger aids in chronic indigestion by promoting faster emptying, preventing post-meal stomach discomfort," notes the nutritionist.

What are the risks of ginger consumption

However, it's essential to be mindful of potential risks associated with ginger consumption. While small doses are generally well-tolerated, high doses exceeding 5 g per day may lead to side effects, including heartburn, indigestion, and oral mucous membrane irritation.

"Moreover, ginger increases the risk of bleeding, which can be dangerous in case of blood coagulation disorders. And ginger supplements can interact with blood thinners and drugs against diabetes and high blood pressure. Therefore, before using them, you should consult a doctor," - warns Shoemaker.