If you are looking for how to use ginger for gut health, there are countless ways to use this culinary spice.
Ginger for digestion may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you feel a belly ache, but you may want to keep it on hand at all times when you learn about its amazing health benefits. You could find yourself free from digestive discomfort and other ailments with this simple and healthy food!
Read on to find out if ginger is right for you, how to use ginger in food, and the doses of ginger supplements you can use.
Table of Contents
How to Use Ginger for Gut Health
The easiest and most cost-effective way to use ginger for your digestive tract is to mince fresh ginger. I find it easiest to simply mince the ginger, peel, and all. Don’t worry, the peel doesn’t affect the taste or texture of your cooked dishes.
You can use a grater or zester to accomplish this in the easiest way possible.
Some other great ways to use ginger in your diet:
- Ginger tea is made from slices of fresh ginger
- Ginger candies or crystallized ginger are convenient on-the-go
- Ginger tonic is great for a healing beverage
- Ginger ale can be helpful for digestion although be certain it has a good amount of ginger; many common brands do not
- Ginger powder– is helpful for cooking and baking
- Ginger smoothies– ginger in smoothies adds brightness to any smoothie, stir fry, and more.
- Pickled ginger-as a condiment for sushi and more that can be eaten any time you have stomach upset
- Ground ginger– you can use freshly ground ginger or pre-made ginger in a jar
- Ginger kombucha tea-a great way to get probiotics and support gut health
How to Use Ginger When You Don’t Like its Taste
Most people love the warm, spicy flavor of ginger in foods. But if you do not like ginger’s spicy bite, you have options.
Here are some options you can try:
- Take a ginger capsule with dried, ginger powder
- Mix in some honey in your recipes to mellow out the spice
- Add a tablespoon of cream or nut milk to your ginger tea
- Stir in fresh or dried ginger into your main dishes in small amounts
How to Use Ginger: Easy Ginger Tea Recipe
There is nothing more affordable and easy for your gut health than making ginger tea. It is super easy to make as follows:
- Fresh ginger slices, 1 teaspoon
- Honey, 1-2 teaspoons
- Hot water
- 1/4 cup cider
Slice ginger thinly, about 1 teaspoon. Steep in 1 cup of hot water along with honey for at least 10 minutes. Add cider. You can serve iced by adding cold cider, or spritzer water to taste and garnish as desired.
Sip on this tea any time you feel indigestion, bloating, or nausea.
How to Use Ginger Products for Gut Health
So many ginger products are available as beverages, candies, supplements, and more. Here are some ginger products I like. You can include these in your daily routine as well.
- Fresh ginger-it’s hard to beat fresh ginger-keep in mind, that it will have a short shelf life so you can store it in the freezer for long-term use. It can freeze for up to 3 months.
- Ginger extract– this ginger extract is handy to keep on your desk or in your purse for when you are eating out.
- Ginger capsules are the best to use when you dislike the flavor of ginger. They are great for preventing nausea and helping deal with motion sickness.
- Organic Minced ginger– a friend of mine told me about this pre-grated ginger and it’s so much easier than fresh ginger for when you are in a big hurry.
How to Use Ginger Powder and Ginger Treats for Gut Health
- Organic Ginger Root Powder is a type of ginger powder that is healthy and will last you a very long time. You can use this organic ginger powder in recipes. Keep in mind that you only need to use about 1/4 the amount of fresh ginger.
- Crystallized Ginger is great candy ginger for digestion problems. You can take a bite of crystallized ginger any time you feel a belly issue coming on.
- Ginger Sparkling Tonic-for best effects on health, drink ginger beverages regularly. Choose ones that are naturally low in sugar and contain natural ingredients.
Best Ginger Tea Drinks
If you don’t have fresh ginger available, you can try adding in some pre-made ginger drinks like these:
- Ginger teas: Pukka Thee Ginger Tea and Yogi Ginger Tea, Organic Ginger Aid are some of the best ginger teas for digestive benefits
- Lemon ginger tea-Bigelow Lemon Ginger Tea with Probiotics- lemon ginger tea for digestive health with added immunity benefits of probiotics and lemon.
- Ginger Kombucha– Remedy Raw Kombucha -ginger and gut health go hand in hand with the ginger and probiotic content of kombucha
What is Ginger?
Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a flavorful root or rhizome, that has been used in food and medicine for around 5000 years. Originating in China and India, this spice is in the same family of plants as turmeric and cardamom as well as galangal.
Interesting fact: In the 13th and 14th centuries, one pound of ginger was equivalent in price to a whole sheep.
You can find ginger in so many forms, from fresh ginger to dried ginger, ginger supplements to pickled ginger, ginger teas, candied ginger, ground ginger, and ginger spice mixes.
It is very inexpensive too.
Ginger is good for just about any recipe, including sweet drinks, cocktails, savory dishes, curries, baked desserts, and bread, and used to add to sushi, and more.
Ginger as Medicine
Herbs and the use of roots like ginger in Western societies used to be considered alternative medicine. Now, ginger is being used in conventional medicine, even in hospital care.
This is because ginger for digestion benefits has much research to back it up.
Ginger has been used as a natural treatment for many diseases since the dawn of time in recorded history.
Like many spices, the history of ginger use for digestion goes way back thousands of years ago. The digestive tract finds ginger to be very friendly. It is the FIRST tool I use if digestion is acting up, both for me and my clients.
Ginger Health Benefits Overview
The overall sensation of ginger in the body is warming. Ginger’s spicy aroma and taste are due to a ketone called gingerol.
At least 100 healthy compounds give ginger its oomph for health.
These compounds can help:
- Reduce inflammation
- Provide antioxidants
- Increase nutrient absorption
- Reduce pain
A substance in ginger called zingerone binds to pain receptors in the body. As ginger binds to pain receptors, it reduces digestive discomfort and more.
Does ginger form matter for reducing digestive symptoms? Most research data use ginger capsules to treat digestive discomfort. My personal experience with ginger is that it is most helpful after a meal, as tea, or eaten as part of the meal.
The digestive tract is probably the most complex system in the body. It is no wonder it is difficult to figure out why our belly hurts or why we have heartburn, gas, bloating, and more. Digestive concerns are often misdiagnosed for this reason.
For example, many people who think they have heartburn truly have indigestion.
In fact, recent research shows that 80% of people taking heartburn medications don’t need the drugs they are taking. These drugs can do more harm than good in some people.
Good digestive health requires:
- Proper muscle movement
- Enzyme production
- Mucus secretion to protect the digestive lining
- Both acid and base production
- Bacteria buddies
- Strong barrier role of the digestive lining
- Hormonal balance
- Proper chewing/swallowing
- Optimal nutrients
It is no wonder why adding a heartburn drug often simply serves to mask an underlying imbalance, and can even make it worse.
Learn why ginger helps with all of these good digestion factors next.
Ginger Helps You Absorb Nutrients
In order for your body to digest well, it needs a good amount of nutrients and antioxidants for repairing digestive cells.
Usually, people don’t eat ginger in large amounts, so the nutrients you get from ginger are mostly from its beneficial antioxidants. Antioxidants are super concentrated in ginger.
There is more to the story: ginger shines for nutrients.
Unlike drugs for indigestion and heartburn, ginger is likely beneficial to help your body absorb nutrients from the food you eat. It even likely helps you digest your food.
Ginger Has Digestive Enzymes
Not only does ginger help your body absorb nutrients, it has natural enzymes that support digestive processes as well.
Enzymes help the body break down protein, fats, and carbohydrates so that your body can absorb the nutrients from these foods.
The ginger root contains Zinzibain, which is an enzyme that breaks down proteins, including casein.
Interesting fact: ginger tenderizes meats and helps with meat digestion because of its rich enzyme content.
Ginger Reduces Nausea and Vomiting
Ginger and digestion are partners for feeling better. Ginger works rapidly to reduce symptoms of nausea.
This has been proven in many clinical studies. Here are some of those studies for your review.
Ginger Reduces Nausea in Pregnancy
Not surprisingly, ginger is very effective in helping to treat morning sickness.
A review of 15 research studies found that ginger supplements, given as capsules, are effective in reducing nausea during pregnancy.
Importantly, ginger is safe for both the mother and the baby.
The effective dose of ginger was 1 gram per day and it was effective quickly in this study.
Ginger Reduces Chemotherapy Nausea
One big issue for patients undergoing cancer treatment is nausea and digestive issues.
Ginger for digestion in cancer patients holds a lot of promise. Here is the research that we have so far.
- A large study of cancer patients receiving chemotherapy received ginger for nausea symptoms. The ginger taken 3 times daily helped reduce symptoms of nausea.
- The biggest reductions in nausea occurred between 0.5 to 1 gram of ginger root capsules per day.
- Another recent trial found that dried ginger is safe and effective at treating nausea associated with chemotherapy and resulted in no negative side effects.
Bonus: ginger was also associated with better quality of life and reduced chemotherapy-related fatigue.
Ginger Nausea from Surgery
Surgical procedures and anesthesia can lead to a lot of nausea and vomiting. Does ginger for digestion help in this setting? Research says that it likely does.
Ginger for Motion Sickness
Research about ginger root for motion sickness is mixed. One study found that ginger doesn’t perform as well as standard medication for motion sickness.
However, this study didn’t measure nausea.
Another study did measure nausea, and they found a reduced rate of nausea among people undergoing a motion test among people eating ginger. The symptoms that people enjoyed from ginger were a delay in nausea symptoms, decreased hyper-movement of the stomach, and quicker recovery from motion sickness.
Ginger Reduces Indigestion
Ginger is a good choice for stomach discomfort, indigestion, and heartburn.
Dyspepsia, or indigestion, is discomfort in the upper abdomen. It is often mistaken for heartburn.
Functional dyspepsia is chronic or recurrent upper abdominal pain or discomfort in the absence of underlying organic disease that can explain the symptoms.
In functional dyspepsia patients, ginger improves stomach emptying and lower stomach muscle contractions compared to placebo.
Another clinical trial of 127 patients with functional dyspepsia also found that ginger and artichoke extract protect against symptoms of functional dyspepsia.
All symptoms were better than placebo.
Using ginger reduces muscle spasms, which can cause pain, in the gut.
Ginger Helps Your Stomach Empty
People have used ginger for millennia to help with digestive problems. A cup of ginger tea for digestion was a common practice in history.
We know that part of the reason ginger helps your digestive tract is that it helps your stomach muscle movement and emptying.
In healthy volunteers, the use of 3 ginger capsules sped up stomach emptying time after a meal.
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Ginger for Leaky Gut
A leaky gut is often triggered by inflammation, lack of nutrients, and improper acid-base balance, which causes increased intestinal permeability. Ginger may reduce inflammation in the digestive tract, which may in turn reduce symptoms of heartburn.
By enhancing digestive processes and reducing inflammation, ginger may be supportive of healing a leaky gut.
Ginger May Reduce Stomach Ulcer Risk
Ginger helps digestion by supporting the stomach lining as well.
For example, an extract of ginger as essential oil improved stomach ulcers by reducing erosion, cell death, and bleeding of the stomach wall in a rat study.
Interestingly, ginger also protects the stomach lining, reduces the growth of H. Pylori, and reduces stomach acid production in rats with a stomach ulcer.
Ginger May Reduce Cancer Risk
Although research is still early, ginger may reduce the risk of digestive cancers, including stomach, liver, colon, and pancreatic cancer.
The use of ginger extract reduced both cancer growth and the spread of breast cancer in a mouse study and in human cells. In this study, ginger extract also reduced the spread of cancer to the brain.
Ginger benefits for men may include a reduction in prostate cancer risk too. Both cell and animal studies found that ginger may reduce the growth and metastasis of prostate cancer cells [R].
The use of ginger for cancer is considered preliminary, but it can safely be eaten as a food to support feeling well.
Ginger Reduces Constipation and Diarrhea
Many people swear by ginger and regularity.
This statement is based on traditional use but is not yet vetted in research.
I have known many people who find ginger helpful in improving the frequency of bowel movements.
Based on ginger’s ability to increase your digestive muscle movements, reduce harmful bacteria, and reduce spasms, ginger is certainly worth a try to help with bowel regularity.
Ginger May Reduce Gut Infections
Ginger and gut health may go hand in hand because ginger may support a healthy microbiome.
In probiotic milk, ginger is able to increase the growth of probiotic bacteria. Healthy probiotics may help the body ward off digestive tract infections.
Stomach infections like H.pylori, as previously mentioned may benefit from ginger. This is because ginger preferentially destroys harmful bacteria like
Ginger also may reduce the risk of periodontitis.
Cell studies show that ginger may help fight E coli, Salmonella typhi, and Bacillus subtilis, which are pathogenic bacteria.
All in all, it appears that ginger supports healthy bacteria while fighting harmful bacteria in the body.
While research is still early, ginger is likely supportive of your immune system in this regard. For this reason, ginger likely also helps reduce or prevent upper respiratory infections, lung disease, and more.
Tip: A common folk treatment for colds is ginger tea with honey. It almost always serves to soothe symptoms of colds.
Ginger for Pain Reduction
Multiple kinds of pain are reduced by the use of ginger. This is because ginger has analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects on the body.
Reduces arthritic pain
Both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis pain may be reduced with the use of ginger.
- In patients with osteoarthritis, a combination of ginger and echinacea significantly reduced knee pain symptoms.
- The use of ginger as a compress or patch also reduces pain symptoms in people with arthritis.
- Ginger’s anti-inflammatory properties may also help people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.
- Ginger even dampens down genes that control inflammation. One of these genes is called FoxP3.
Reduces exercise-induced pain
Both raw ginger and cooked ginger reduce muscle pain after exercise.
Muscle pain was reduced at 24 hours after exercise, and resulted in moderate to large reductions in pain.
Reduces menstrual pain
Menstrual pain treatment options are limited and often have side effects.
This is why the use of ginger for period pain is so appealing.
In a review study of research, ginger is as helpful for menstrual pain as NSAIDs like ibuprofen, but without the long-term risks of NSAIDs.
People for a long time have claimed that ginger may help reduce their migraine symptoms. A new study is helping to prove this benefit.
Here is what the study found:
Adding ginger to NSAIDS significantly reduced pain compared to the use of NSAIDS alone in people suffering from migraines.
Ginger Provides Metabolic Support
Ginger’s rich antioxidant effects and nutrition-boosting properties make it no stranger to helping support your heart and brain health too.
As you can imagine, ginger helps boost a healthy metabolism, cholesterol, blood pressure, and more.
Early studies show that ginger helps reduce cholesterol, provides blood glucose support for people with diabetes, and even may help memory and brain function.
How to Use Ginger: Doses
Luckily, ginger eaten as a food or as a ginger tea can be eaten liberally.
Supplements can safely be used as well, but make sure to find high-quality brands with third-party testing. These brands will include GMP certification on their labels.
People safely use up to 4 grams of ginger daily.
And ginger can be used freely in cooking and in making ginger tea.
Ginger Side Effects
Ginger has no known major side effects and it is generally recognized as safe.
Doses greater than 5 grams a day are more likely to have side effects.
Large doses of ginger may reduce blood glucose levels and blood pressure. This can be good. However, discuss with your doctor as well if you are taking medications for these issues.
As a caution, ginger may stimulate the flow of bile, so there is some concern that if you have gallstones, you should also avoid eating large amounts of ginger.
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How to Use Ginger for Digestion Summary
Ginger holds many health benefits and when you eat it, your digestive tract stands to benefit. Like most spices, a little goes a long way; a teaspoon is a great boon to your body. You may have improved indigestion, reduced nausea, less pain and inflammation, and more energy from ginger’s nutrition boost.
As with anything make sure to check with your doctor before making any changes in your healthcare routine.
The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body and is shared for educational purposes only. Consult your doctor or healthcare provider before making changes to your supplement regimen or lifestyle.
All rights reserved by The Healthy RD, LLC
Heidi Moretti, MS, RD is The Healthy RD. A registered dietitian for 23 years as well as a book author of the new book Gut Fix and The Whole Body Guide to Gut Health, Heidi has a passion for functional nutrition and natural medicine. She has researched supplements and natural medicine throughout her career. One of her biggest loves is helping people gain function and vitality by tackling the root causes of illness.