Sure, the flavorful spice can fight nausea–but that's not its only superpower.

In the kitchen, we’ve long used ginger—in anything from ginger molasses cookiesand ginger tea to Indian- and Asian-inspired dishes—as a flavor-agent. But in addition to being one of the most delicious and distinctive spices on the planet, ginger root has long been touted as a panacea for an array of health concerns. Today, the health benefits of ginger are becoming more recognized by both Western medicine practitioners and the wellness-minded among us with anecdotal evidence.

Nutritionally, the spice is a star. In a whole cup of chopped fresh ginger root, you'll find just around 80 calories, less than 18 grams of carbohydrates, and about 2 grams of fiber and protein. Toss in a tablespoon to a recipe and you're adding less than 5 calories, which is why Keri Gans, RDN, certified yoga instructor and owner of Keri Gans Nutrition, says, “ginger is used in such small amounts and is so low in calories that it doesn't ever offer high quantities of calories, carbs, or sugar.” Each zingy bite of ginger also contains vitamins and minerals like iron, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, and zinc.

While the root itself may look intimidating, don’t let yourself be turned off; ginger is actually available (and beneficial) in many different forms. “Ginger can be used fresh, dried, powdered, peeled, or as an oil, chips, or juice,” says Gans.

If its flavor and nutrient profile aren’t enough to send you running to the farmers market or grocery store, perhaps the health benefits of ginger will. Read on to learn more about how ginger can boost your well-being.

1. Ginger can quell nausea.

Ever been told to pop a ginger lozenge during an especially bumpy car ride? That’s because ginger can help calm an upset stomach. Research suggests ginger can remedy nausea from travel, pregnancy, or even chemotherapy, says Julie Upton, RD, co-founder of Appetite for Health.

In fact, one Thai study found that ginger worked as well as dimenhydrinate (the active ingredient in over-the-counter motion-sickness meds) at preventing and treating nausea in pregnant women.

However, “because ginger has so many bioactive compounds, if you have medical conditions or are pregnant, you should alert your health care professional that you are taking ginger and how much,” Upton says.

2. It may reduce bloat, gas, and constipation.

Ginger might also relieve other GI issues, thanks to its digestive enzyme called zingibain that helps the body break down protein. The compound potentially helps the food you eat pass through your system more easily–and, in turn, reduces the bloat, gas, or constipation you’re experiencing.

But when you're already feeling like a pufferfish, the last thing you want to do is eat a full meal that happens to include the spice. Instead, enjoy a cup of homemade ginger tea—made by steeping a few slices of sliced ginger in a mug of hot water for five to 10 minutes—and sip it slowly. (Or try brands like Yogi Ginger Tea and Traditional Medicinals Organic Ginger Aid).

Source: Health.

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