According to the latest research, ginger, as a food or drink additive can protect you from weight gain and chronic illness. In a new study published in the “Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences”, the results of 60 studies of cell cultures, laboratory animals and people have been examined, all of which had a consensus that ginger has beneficial effects against weight gain, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. The authors focused their research on various aspects of the metabolic syndrome – a combination of 3 or more risk factors for type 2 diabetes and heart disease. This syndrome is a health problem that has an increasing number of people and now occupies for almost a quarter of the world’s population.
There are several mechanisms behind the ginger’s “powers” – among other things, it plays a major role in fat burning, digestion of carbohydrates, and insulin secretion. It also inhibits oxidative stress (a form of cellular aging), has anti-inflammatory properties, and lowers both cholesterol and blood pressure. It can even reduce atherosclerosis – the accumulation of dangerous fats in the arteries. The evidence for all of these benefits is more noticeable and stronger in animal and laboratory studies than in humans. When, for example, mice were fed with ginger, it was proven that it significantly reduces body weight and inflammation, reduces cholesterol and blood sugar, and also protects against the dangerous effects of fatty liver disease.
Only a few clinical trials on people studied the effects of ginger under these conditions, probably because of the challenges set by the complex chemical composition of the spice, but also the lack of monetary fund’s that would allow it. Human studies have studied the effects of ginger in several different forms, including capsules, tablets and powders dissolved in beverages.
Marie-Pierre St-Onge, associate professor of nutrition at Columbia University, says that science has not yet determined which formulation and at what doses offers the best clinical benefits. She says that despite knowing all the potential benefits, inclusion of ginger in any form in the diet can not hurt, but only help. If nothing else, it’s always better to add ginger to the food rather than salt.