In course of working on my several health-related blogs, I noticed that my personal lifestyle and diet preferences are slowly changing, while I use the obtained knowledge for my family’s benefits. The first change which has been introduced to our regular diet many years ago was ginger. Our older son, whose immune system was severely affected, laid on the bed, hit by severe flu. He could not eat or move, and he was burning with unbearable body heat. Desperate for the instant solution, I looked online for miracle cure, and that was the first time, when I made a ginger drink. Next morning, our son was on the way of recovery. Maybe it was just good timing, but nevertheless ginger drink became our standard family drink, eventually replacing everything else (definitely, except for hard liquors).
Ginger root is the rhizome from the plant Zingiber officinale. Ginger is a perennial plant that can be found in many countries around the world including - China, India, South East Asia, Mexico, West Africa and the Caribbean. Although it has been traditionally used for over 5,000 years as a healing herb in Chinese and Indian medicine, it is also one of the most popular cooking spices in the world.
Old ginger roots are much more fibrous and much less juicy. However, the juice from old ginger roots is extremely potent and spicy and is often used as a spice in Indian and Chinese recipes to flavor dishes such as seafood and vegetarian dishes.
Ginger has multiple health benefits that are great for everyone, but it has unique properties, which might benefit ageing men dealing with their physical and mental well-being. Let’s review these benefits in more details:
- Heart Disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of death among American men. Ginger may help to prevent heart disease, as it is a good source of vitamin B-6, magnesium and potassium. While high vitamin B-6 intake lowers your risk of heart disease, magnesium and potassium can help to lower your blood pressure. As high blood pressure is a risk factor for heart disease, these three compounds all help ginger to reduce your risk of developing heart disease.
- Infertility and Erectile Dysfunction. In addition to its potassium, magnesium and vitamin B-6 content, ginger is a good source of manganese. This trace mineral, found throughout the body, is essential to neurological health. By helping to form and trigger the release of the sex hormone testosterone, manganese is vital to your sex drive and sperm production. While the University of Maryland Medical Center states that it is rare to develop a manganese deficiency, having insufficient amounts in your diet may lead to infertility and erectile disorders.
- Sexual Performance. Known as the herb of passion, Ginger has been mentioned in Kama Sutra as a strong aphrodisiac, and famous Cleopatra has been known to offer it to her lovers. Actually, Ginger is a warming herb, containing Gingerol, a chemical that is related to capsaicin, which is found in peppers. The heat generated in the body after taking the herbs is similar to the body heat, produced during sexual arousal. This body warming increases sexual stimulation in the brain, which is reflected as a high state of sexual arousal. Ginger helps to increase the flow of blood around the body and to the genitals and the herb has the same vacillating properties as Ginkgo Biloba and green tea to dilate the blood vessels so there wider and able to carry more blood.
- Colorectal Cancer. The CDC states that colorectal, or colon, cancer causes the second highest number of cancer-related deaths in the United States. As colon cancer affects men more than women, ginger's potential to prevent colon cancer is vital to a man's health. In a study published in the July 2009 issue of "Cancer Research," a team led by Chul-Ho Jeong at the University of Minnesota state that gingerol, the compound that gives ginger its spicy flavor, may help to treat and prevent cancer. Based on these findings, the National Institutes of Health are currently conducting clinical trials exploring ginger's use in chemoprevention for colon cancer.
- Diabetes. Diabetes affects nearly 12 percent of men over the age of 20 in the United States. As part of a healthy diet, ginger may play a role in the treatment of diabetes due to its manganese and magnesium content. The University of Maryland Medical Center suggests that these minerals help to regulate blood sugar in both diabetic and non-diabetic men, with blood concentrations of these minerals lower than average in people with diabetes. As such, ginger may be essential to preventing both the development of and complications that may arise from diabetes in men.
- Motion Sickness Remedy. Ginger has been shown to be an effective remedy for the nausea associated with motion sickness. If you are going for a long trip anywhere in India you would always be advised to take some sweet ginger cubes with you.
- Reduces Pain and Inflammation. Studies show that ginger has anti-inflammatory properties and is a powerful natural painkiller. If you have pain in your knees due to Arthritis that you been suffering from a long time, the answer may be Ginger as well. Ginger has shown its tremendous properties as an anti inflammatory herb. Many traditional Ayuverdic healers would recommend using ginger for swollen joints. Just try to apply paste of dried ginger powder on your swollen joints and see if that helps… Because of the ginger healing properties and pain relieving nature your pain may go away, and the swelling too. For the same reasons, ginger can be used as remedy for Chronic Ulcerative colitis to reduce inflammation in the intestines.
- Respiratory Health. Ginger promotes your respiratory health by eliminating air pollutants, tobacco smoke and perfumes out of the air passages before they have time to irritate the lungs. It also relieves congestion, as well as improves circulation to the lungs, thus reducing the severity of many chronic lung-diseases such as bronchitis. Ginger is often recommended for asthma patients. Asthma is a long-term disease that is characterized by the inflammation of the air passages of your lungs. Ginger helps control this inflammation so you feel and breathe better.
- Heartburn Relief. Ginger has long been used as a natural heartburn remedy. It is most often taken in the form of tea for this purpose.
- Digestive Problems. Ginger can prevent the formation of, or causes the expulsion of gas. It can also be used to stop griping and cramping especially in the abdominal and intestinal area. The uses of ginger as a digestive aid can be largely attributed to the presence of gingerols and shogaols, which help neutralize stomach acids, enhance the secretion of digestive juices and tone the muscles of the digestive tract.
- Energy Booster. Ginger can increase your body energy by aiding your digestive system. After eating, food must be properly digested before the body can begin to make use of food vitamins and nutrients. These nutrients eventually enter the blood stream where they are cycled and utilized through the body. By using ginger to increase digestive efficiency, the nutrient capability of food intake is increased, and so is energy.
- Cold and Flu Prevention and Treatment. Ginger has long been used as a natural treatment for colds and the flu. Just take some water with fresh ginger root and boil it for a long time and drink it as tea at least 3 to 4 cups a day … and yes all symptoms are vanished next few days. Many people also find ginger to be helpful in the case of stomach flu or food poisoning, which is not surprising given the positive effects ginger has upon the digestive tract. Ginger tea when given to patients suffering with sinus infection, chronic sinus headaches or sinusitis proves very useful by heating the body and then removing the condition in a day or two.
- Migraine Relief. Research has shown that ginger may provide migraine relief due to its ability to stop prostaglandins from causing pain and inflammation in blood vessels.
- Achy Muscle Aid. Ginger's warming essential oil improves circulation and blood flow, making it an ace at relieving tired muscles. Try this soak, recommended by Leah Sherman, a naturopathic physician in Portland, Oregon: Grate 4 tablespoons fresh ginger, and seal it in a cotton bag; place bag under running bathwater.
- Skin Treatment. Ginger's antioxidant, gingerol, not only fights skin-damaging free radicals, but also promotes smoothness and evenness in skin tone. Ginger also has the ability to lighten age spots while acting as an energy-booster in aromatherapy spa treatments. Because ginger is energizing and is believed to improved circulation, it is often used in cellulite-reducing treatments. Ginger is an anti-inflammatory, which makes it a natural acne fighting ingredient. Ginger is also an antiseptic, which means it is effective in killing the bacteria that causes acne.
- Hair Treatment. Ginger root, in the form of ginger oil, has innumerable benefits and advantages for your hair. It is an effective remedy for hair loss. Fresh extracts of ginger root make hair stronger and more pleasant-smelling. If you have brittle and dry hair, the useful constituents of ginger such as vitamins, zinc, phosphorus, etc. can help you get that sheen back in your hair. Dandruff is one of the most common scalp problems in both men and women. In this case, ginger oil can be used to get rid of dandruff in a much effective manner. You can apply ginger oil with olive oil to the scalp, and leave it overnight. Regular use of ginger oil is one of the best natural dandruff remedies.
- Stress and Anxiety Relief. Taking a whiff of ginger tea can help improve your mood and give you a sunny disposition. It leaves you feeling refreshed and calm, and if you’re having a bad day, all those negative vibes will dissipate. Ginger tea is a remarkable stress reliever because of its comforting and relaxing scent. A study published in 2010 in "Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry" claims that ginger binds to some serotonin receptors, helping to relive general anxiety. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that affects overall mood and anxiety levels.
- Insomnia. Many people use ginger as a remedy for insomnia even when the cause is unknown. Ginger-based tea, ginger seasoning and ginger capsules are all popular remedies. Hot ginger tea may help people relax prior to sleeping.
- Risk of Alzheimer’s disease. An important feature for Alzheimer's disease is neuritic plaque as extracellular deposits of beta-amyloid peptides (Abeta). In the central nervous system neuritic plaques are surrounded by activated microglial cells expressing pro-inflammatory cytokines, chemokines, and neurotoxic mediators. Long-term activation of microglial cells is suspected to contribute to the neuron loss in Alzheimer's disease. Current research findings indicate that ginger can inhibit the activation of human monocytic THP-1 cells by different pro-inflammatory stimuli and reduce the expression of a wide range of inflammation-related genes in these microglial-like cells. Consequently, ginger extract may be useful in delaying the onset and the progression of neurodegenerative disorders involving chronically activated microglial cells in the central nervous system.
- Radiation Exposure. Ginger has been proven to provide significant benefit against radiation exposure. One study has demonstrated that it can help prevent vomiting and taste distortion associated with radiation poisoning. Another study administered high doses of ginger extract to mice before their exposure to gamma radiation, and compared them to mice that had received only distilled water before exposure. It reduced the severity of symptoms and mortality. They were protected from gastrointestinal and bone-marrow-related deaths. However the treatment after exposure provided no health benefit.
Dosage Side Effects
There are no reported dangerous side effects from taking Ginger although, if taken to excess ginger can cause heartburn, bloating or an upset stomach. Very high doses (e.g., 6000mg of dried ginger) on an empty stomach can cause stomach problems. It is rare that this high of a single dose is needed. The optimal dosing is not yet clear. Most research studies used 1000mg of dry powdered Ginger root. This is equivalent to about 10gm (1/3 oz. or about a 1/4 inch slice) of fresh Ginger root. Higher doses can be more effective initially for pain (e.g., 500-1000mg 3-4 times a day of dry powder) with the dose lowered to the lowest effective dose in 4-6 weeks.
There is also some evidence that Ginger can react negatively with some medications and can interact with blood-thinning medicines but overall it is a herb, which is safe and has numerous health giving properties.
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