The tastes and aromas of holiday food are not complete without a heavy dose of ginger. This versatile root is a staple in many sweet and savory dishes year-round but it really shines during the holidays. Thanks to a new study, ginger can be both delicious and a powerful ally in the fight against weight gain and diabetes. The study, published in Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology, found that ginger consumption likely improves glucose and lipid levels, reduces insulin resistance, regulates cholesterol metabolism, and reduces weight gain.
That’s good news for the more than nine percent of the population of the United States (29.1 million people) who have diabetes, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over nine percent. Almost 28 percent of these people (8.1 million) have diabetes that has been undiagnosed. Equally alarming, over one-third of Americans are obese, greatly increasing their odds of developing type 2 diabetes. More and more research is building the irrefutable connection between obesity and diabetes.
Cardiovascular disease, including stroke, is a much greater risk among individuals with diabetes. The CDC estimates that hospitalization rates for stroke were 1.5 times higher among adults with diagnosed diabetes aged 20 years or older compared to those without diagnosed diabetes. Ginger may be helpful in this regard as well. Research outlined in Healing Spices also shows that ginger reduces harmful cholesterol in the blood, thereby reducing the risk of stroke. Researchers studied 95 people with high triglycerides, high LDL cholesterol—known as the “bad cholesterol,” and low HDL cholesterol. They divided the participants into two groups: the first group took 1000 mg of ginger three times a day; the other group took a placebo. After 45 days participants taking the ginger had a greater drop in LDL cholesterol and a greater increase in HDL cholesterol.
Ginger’s benefits extend beyond weight and diabetes management. A study conducted by Dr. Honlei Chen and his colleagues at the Harvard School of Public Health suggest that inflammation plays an important role in the development of Parkinson’s disease. Inflammatory processes also appear in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Therefore, foods that have an anti-inflammatory play an important role in the prevention of brain disease and maintenance of a healthy brain.
Where there is inflammation, there is often pain. If you’re suffering from joint or muscle pain you will likely experience a reduction in pain since gingerols in ginger are also powerful anti-pain compounds.
The easiest way to enjoy the benefits of ginger is to grate two tablespoons of fresh ginger and add to a cup of boiling water. Steep and strain. Enjoy a cup of this warming ginger tea with a touch of honey or a few drops of the naturally-sweet herb, stevia. You can also add freshly grated ginger to soups, stir-fries, vegetables, or other dishes to pack extra brain health into your meals.