There are plenty of herbs and spices that can enhance your anti-inflammatory lifestyle. One of my favorite spices is ginger. Not only does it taste amazing, but it can work in your favor to reduce inflammation and improve your health.
Ginger originates from Southeast Asia and has been used for centuries as a medicinal herb. Most people use this spice in its powdered spice form, but grating or chopping the fresh root of the plant (otherwise known as the rhizome) into foods and beverages adds an additional flavor component to the dish. The main bioactive compound in ginger is gingerol. This spice also contains quercetin, zingerone and polyphenols, all of which are potent antioxidants.
Health Benefits of Ginger
Ginger has a number of health benefits that can help you better manage your autoimmune disease:
It is a potent antioxidant
Oxidative stress is one of the main drivers of inflammation in the body. This happens when there are not enough antioxidants to sequester the free radicals floating around our body. Free radicals bounce into our cells and tissue, causing damage and triggering an inflammatory response. Ginger has multiple mechanisms to reduce oxidative stress. First, it can stop lipid peroxidation, or damage to fats. Second, it can activate other antioxidants to increase free radical sequestering activity in the body.
Ginger can lower inflammation
Reducing oxidative stress is one way to protect the body from inflammation. Ginger also has anti-inflammatory mechanisms to stop inflammation from happening. One way this spice can help inflammation is by lowering TNF-alpha levels. TNF-alpha is a cytokine that is involved in a number of inflammatory diseases. This spice has also been shown to inhibit other inflammatory mediators including NF-kb, prostaglandin E2, interleukin1-b, COX-1 and COX-2.
It can relieve nausea
One of the most well known benefits of ginger is its ability to reduce or eliminate nausea. There are several randomized control trials on ginger’s effectiveness against nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy. This spice also helped with nausea related to pregnancy.
Ginger and specific autoimmune diseases
Several autoimmune diseases may benefit from using ginger, these include:
Ginger may relieve joint pain and reduce inflammation associated with RA. In a recent randomized control trial, it significantly reduced CRP and IL-1B levels.
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (lupus)
Ginger may have antineutrophil properties that can be protective for certain diseases such as lupus.
Ginger may help lower or inhibit the NF-kb pathway that lowers inflammatory cytokines in circulation. NF-kb has been linked to the development of psoriatic lesions.
How to Incorporate Ginger into your Diet
Ginger is a very versatile spice that can really add complexity to your food flavor profile. Here are some ways you can include this spice into your everyday routine:
- Steep it in hot water for a refreshing and spicy tea
- Chop or grate it into sauces or on top of salads
- Grate it on meats, poultry or fish
- Marinate coconut aminos and ginger mix with tofu or other proteins
- Add it to legumes or vegetables
Adding more spices to your foods can help increase the flavor and reduce your autoimmune disease symptoms. And remember, the more spices you add to your foods, the more plants you are eating, and the better it is for your gut microbiome. If you need more help getting these compounds into your anti-inflammatory eating plan, or starting one altogether, please reach out to schedule a free call with me. In addition, for more great information on how to manage your autoimmune disease with diet and lifestyle, follow me on instagram, facebook and YouTube for more tips and tricks.