You’ve probably heard of ginger as a remedy to ease an upset stomach—remember eating ginger biscuits when you had a stomach bug as a kid? Some people even turn to ginger to calm nerves or aid indigestion.
Lately, the zesty root is popping up everywhere—there are even ginger-flavoured energy gels, chews, and drink mixes available for athletes—and some people are swapping lemon water for ginger water or mixing ground ginger into water, tea, or a post-workout smoothie as a “detox.”This begs the question, are there really any benefits to drinking ginger water as a detox or just simply to boost your overall health? This video will cover everything you need to know about the health benefits of drinking ginger water.
1. It can reduce pain
Ginger contains substances known as gingerols, which quash inflammation and turn off pain-causing compounds in the body. Research also suggests that regularly eating ginger can help relieve certain pain that comes with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
It can even prevent some of the side-effects of conventional painkillers. But keep in mind that ginger water should only be used as a short-term solution. If you're dealing with any kind of chronic pain, talk to your doctor about a long-term treatment plan, since it might be something a plant can’t fix.
2. It can heal irritated skin
If strong winter winds tend to wreak havoc on your skin, start healing from the inside out with ginger water. Ginger’s anti-inflammatory properties help soothe red, irritated skin, and a recent study found that eating a combination of curcumin (the active ingredient in turmeric) and ginger helped improve the skin's appearance and ability to heal.
Add a little turmeric to your ginger water for the best benefits.
3. It may help protect against cancer
While no single ingredient has the power to ward off serious disease, ginger water does pack a pretty mean punch. Ginger is loaded with antioxidants that help protect the body from cancer.
Research has also found that the active compounds 6-gingerol and 6-shogaol found in ginger exhibit anti-cancer properties against the gastrointestinal tract and help in cancer cell death.
4. It can help you look younger
You probably see the buzzword "antioxidant" splayed across your favourite expensive face creams—but that's actually for good reason. There's promising research suggesting antioxidants help protect the skin from free-radicals, which speed up the breakdown of collagen and damage the skin.
Ginger water’s antioxidant content can help maintain your skin’s collagen production, which promotes skin elasticity and smoothness.
5. It can help you digest quicker after a meal
Food babies are pretty uncomfortable, but thanks to ginger, they don’t have to last forever. A cup of ginger water could help your stomach empty faster, by aiding saliva flow and digestion, so food doesn't just sit there after an indulgent meal.
What’s more, it'll help calm your stomach and stave off bloating and gas. Some people swear by ginger water for fighting common digestive disorders, like IBS and acid reflux, as ginger can reduce the likelihood of stomach acid flowing up into the oesophagus and decrease inflammation in the intestines.
6. It can reduce nausea
A whole host of natural remedies for travel sickness contain ginger, and that’s because it has built up a reputation for its ability to reduce stomach pain and sickness. People have turned to ginger for its stomach-calming benefits since ancient Greek and Roman times.
In general, ginger water is a research-backed remedy for nausea, whether you're dealing with a hangover, enduring a bumpy road trip, recovering from chemotherapy, or cursing pregnancy’s morning-sickness symptoms.
7. It can reduce bad cholesterol
Ginger water can help lower LDL cholesterol levels, i.e. the bad kind, reducing your risk of heart disease. A small recent study found that participants who consumed three grams of ginger, or about half a teaspoon, three times a day experienced a significantly higher reduction in triglyceride and cholesterol than the placebo group.
8. It can ward off cardiovascular disease
Ginger water contains anti-inflammatory properties that work much like the more common non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, often referred to as NSAIDs. Specifically, ginger inhibits the performance of several of the genes involved in the inflammation process.
In this way, it helps to reduce inflammation by actually blocking the very genes needed to create inflammation in the first place.
Ginger water also has blood-thinning properties that prevent blood clotting. A word of warning, though: if you already take blood-thinning medications, check with your doctor before including more ginger in your diet.
9. It can help boost immunity
Why do people opt for ginger lozenges when they're sick? Those same gingerols that fight inflammation also have antimicrobial and antifungal properties to help fight infections and boost your immunity.
The best beverage for boosting immunity is ginger water. Mix two tablespoons of freshly grated ginger with the juice of one lemon and half a tablespoon of honey for a soothing drink to fight off a cold.
10. It can ease period cramps
If you find yourself clutching your abdomen in pain every month, you might want to try an ibuprofen alternative. Ginger water is one of the best natural forms of medicine for period pain.
When enjoyed warm, it can provide soothing relief, a bit like a hot water bottle. Ginger can help to relieve the pain and discomfort associated with menstrual cramps, including nausea and bloating.
11. It may help with weight loss
You might have seen ginger shots lining the shelves of your local health store, and it’s for this reason – there’s evidence to support that they may help you to lose weight. Pure ginger water contains some volatile oils, which lubricate the digestion system.
Ginger produces more acid content in the body that burns calories and fat and turns up the metabolism rate of the body. In that way, drinking ginger water while also making sure to eat a calorie-deficit diet will help you to shed those extra pounds.
12. It can boost your energy
A cup of ginger water in the morning might just be the energy-boosting breakfast drink you need. First, ginger has been shown to improve cardiovascular functioning and reduce inflammation.
This increase in blood flow allows more oxygen to reach your tissues, naturally elevating your energy levels. Not only that, but ginger appears to have the ability to modulate blood glucose levels.
The midday crash in your energy levels is often due to blood sugar levels abruptly dropping, and by keeping blood sugar more stable, ginger can result in an energy boost. So ditch your caffeine in favour of something much healthier!
13. It may ease depression
Ginger water increases the level of two of the most important brain chemicals — serotonin and dopamine. Depression is strongly linked to deficient levels of both of these chemicals.
Serotonin is your “happiness molecule” that is critical for sustaining a positive mood, while dopamine is considered the “motivation molecule” that helps you focus and be productive, and is also in charge of your pleasure-reward system.
Additionally, ginger water can help depression due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation is one of the root causes of depression.
14. It helps improve memory and attention
Ginger water has traditionally been used to treat memory loss and dementia. Now, research shows that it enhances a wide variety of other cognitive functions besides memory.
In one study, for example, when healthy adults were given dried ginger supplements, they showed improvements in working memory, reaction time, and attention. Drinking fresh ginger in water will provide even greater benefits than consuming a dry ginger supplement.
15. It relieves muscle pain
Whether you frequently work out or you simply experience a lot of muscle pain, a cup of ginger water every day may help your situation. Recent research had found that daily consumption of ginger reduces muscle aches caused by intense exercise.
The anti-inflammatory compounds in ginger water reduce the inflammation and soreness in your muscles that bug you post-workout. So if you want to recover faster and less painfully, you know what to do.
16. It fights respiratory disorders
Apart from helping cure the usual cough and cold, adding ginger to water and drinking it daily also provides relief from the symptoms of some severe respiratory conditions like asthma and acute throat congestion. It acts as a natural expectorant that helps to break down mucus, making it easier for your body to expel air. It also helps improve circulation to the lungs and reduces inflammation.
If you’re dealing with shortness of breath caused by a respiratory infection, drinking a cup of ginger water will help to reduce your symptoms by opening your constricted airways.
How to Make Ginger Water
If you’re tempted to start making ginger water for yourself, you should first know that it’s available as herbal water, tea, and juice, and can be bought from health stores or online. But it’s cheaper and simple to make ginger water at home. The best way to make it is by using fresh ginger root, which you can find in grocery stores in the fresh produce section.
A common way to make ginger water is to follow these steps.
First, grate 1.5 teaspoons of ginger, then boil 4 cups of water. Add the ginger to the water, then remove the water from the stove.
Allow the ginger to steep for about 5 to 10 minutes ,before straining the liquid to remove ginger pieces. You can then leave the water to cool enough to drink or pop it in the refrigerator to enjoy it cold.
Ginger has a strong flavour, and you might not find it to your taste. For some people, adding a flavouring, like honey or lemon, can make the taste more enjoyable – and plus, honey and lemon have their own host of benefits that make them ideal for adding to your drink.
There certainly are some health benefits of ginger water you can reap, and it isn’t difficult to incorporate it into your diet. So if you’re curious—or simply like the taste of ginger—go for it. Minor side effects such as heartburn or a burning sensation in the mouth are possible from drinking ginger water. It’s easy to prevent this – just avoid drinking it on an empty stomach.
If ginger water isn’t for you, don’t worry – there are lots of other ways to take ginger that are just as effective (though not quite as soothing). If you have an injury, for example, you can rub ginger oil onto the area to target your pain.
You can also enjoy raw crystalized ginger, although these often include additional sugars for taste. Ginger can be added to your food, of course, but the simplest way to enjoy its benefits, aside from drinking ginger water, is by taking ginger supplements or capsules.