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What to Know About the Health Benefits of Ginger—And How to Add It to Your Meals

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When you were a kid, you might have sipped ginger ale to help ease motion sickness or swirled it into your chicken noodle soup to soothe an upset stomach. For centuries, the root vegetable has been used as a home remedy for lots of health issues, ranging from digestive problems to arthritis pain, research shows. But how many of the purported health benefits of ginger are actually backed by science? Could adding it to your tea and stir-fries really provide more than a flavor boost?

SELF spoke with several nutrition experts to understand which health benefits of ginger are legit, what’s behind its supposed effects, and how to add it to your meals.

What are some of the health benefits of ginger?

Ginger is linked to a whole host of wellness perks, and they’re usually traced to gingerol and shogaol, natural compounds in the root vegetable that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, Kimberly O’Brien, PhD, a professor of human nutrition at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, tells SELF.

Sounds like a mouthful, right? Let’s break it down: Antioxidants help protect your body against oxidative stress, a super nuanced process that experts believe contributes to the development of certain diseases, as SELF previously reported. Meanwhile, anti-inflammatories can help alleviate aches, soreness, and discomfort, Noa Benjo Vassallo, RDN, CDN, a New York-based registered dietitian, tells SELF—as well as reduce chronic inflammation inside your body, which can play a role in the development and flare-ups of many chronic conditions.

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This combo may explain why ginger has been linked to cardiovascular benefits (like lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, as well as a decreased risk of heart disease in general), pain relief (for conditions like arthritis or even period cramps), and better digestion, Brittany Poulson, RDN, founder of Your Choice Nutrition, tells SELF.

Then there’s ginger’s most famous perk: Its ability to quell your queasiness. Research backs this benefit, Poulson says. For example, a 2019 review of 10 studies published in Cancer Nursing confirmed that powder and capsules of ginger extract—in amounts roughly on par with what experts recommend eating daily in your meals (more on that later!)—can reduce nausea and vomiting. And ginger can significantly improve that gotta-hurl feeling in pregnant people with morning sickness, too, according to a 2014 review in the Nutrition Journal. The reason? Ginger speeds up your gastric motility, or how quickly food moves through your gastrointestinal tract. This can help ease nausea, Poulson explains.

Source: Self

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