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5 Health Benefits of Ginger

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There’s a reason why ginger is one of the most popular over-the-counter remedies for stomach problems: it really works. A review in the journal Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition concluded that ginger could effectively quell nausea and vomiting—and that's just one of countless studies with similar findings. But this potent spice is more than just a home remedy for GI troubles—and chances are, it deserves a bigger place in your diet.

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Ginger is loaded with antioxidants, which ward off disease-causing inflammation in the body, promoting better health and wellbeing, says Tara Gidus Collingwood, RDN, a dietitian and author of Flat Belly Cookbook for Dummies. Better yet? It's super low in calories (a 5-inch slice has just 9 calories) and has a zesty, peppery flavor that gives life to a variety of different foods.

Intrigued? Here are five additional health benefits of ginger that may just convince you to add more of it to your diet.

Reap the benefits of ginger with this delicious smoothie:

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Ginger might help ease muscle pain

Move over, tart cherries—there’s evidence that ginger can help ease exercise-induced muscle soreness, says Collingwood, possibly due its anti-inflammatory compounds. A 2015 study in the journal Phytotherapy Research found that people who took one 4-gram ginger supplement for five days experienced a delay in muscle soreness after an intense exercise session compared with those who popped a placebo. The researchers say their findings suggest that ginger might aid muscle recovery after a hard workout.

Ginger might help lower your risk of heart disease

A 2017 study in the journal Nutrition found that adding 4 grams (1 to 2 teaspoons) of ginger to your diet could lower your risk for high blood pressure by 8 percent and coronary heart disease by 13 percent. The researchers theorize that ginger acts as a kind of ACE-inhibitor, which can help lower blood pressure. Plus, the spice is also high in polyphenols, a type of antioxidant that has heart-protective properties.

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Ginger might help ward off obesity

More than 35 percent of people in the United States are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a condition that could raise the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and more. While it’s not a magic weight loss pill by any means, a 2017 review stated that ginger might ward off weight gain by suppressing hunger and boosting our calorie burn.

Ginger might help prevent diabetes

Like obesity, type 2 diabetes is also on the rise: An estimated 30.3 million Americans—or about 9.4 percent of the population—currently have the condition, according to the American Diabetes Association. According to a 2017 review published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, ginger could improve insulin sensitivity, which can help ward off prediabetes.

Ginger can ease menstrual pain

More than half of all women are in pain for one or two days during their period, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, who point out that dysmenorrhea (or pain associated with menstruation) is the most commonly reported period-related disorder. To the rescue: 250-milligram capsules of powdered ginger. This treatment was as effective at relieving dysmenorrhea as ibuprofen, according to a study published in 2009 in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

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