7 Ways ginger benefits your brain (plus recipe)
12/22/2021 / By Joanne Washburn / Comments
7 Ways ginger benefits your brain (plus recipe)

Ginger is hailed as both a superfood and a natural medicine. People have been digging up this pungent root for its unique flavor and health benefits for thousands of years. Natural healers from around the world have also made extensive use of ginger for treating all kinds of ailments, from nausea to arthritis pain.

Today, ginger is celebrated for its many benefits, including for the brain. Here’s what ginger does: (h/t to BeBrainFit.com)

1. Ginger protects the brain from free radical damage

More than 100 beneficial compounds have been identified in ginger. At least 50 of those are antioxidants, such as 10-gingerol and 6-shogaol. These two compounds help protect the brain from highly reactive molecules called free radicals. At very high levels, free radicals can cause oxidative stress that damages healthy brain cells.

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The brain is particularly vulnerable to oxidative stress because brain cells need a substantial amount of oxygen. Excess free radicals can damage structures inside brain cells and cause cell death, which may increase your risk of neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

2. Ginger balances brain chemicals associated with depression

Ginger helps increase the levels of two chemical messengers in the brain: serotonin and dopamine. Depression, a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest, is linked to low levels of serotonin and dopamine.

Serotonin, the “happiness molecule,” is crucial for stabilizing your mood and feelings of well-being. It also helps with sleeping, eating and digestion. Dopamine, on the other hand, is known as the “feel-good” hormone because it plays a huge role in how you feel pleasure. It is released in pleasurable situations.

3. Ginger helps improve memory and attention

According to Arabian folklore, ginger can improve memory. Ginger is traditionally used as a brain-enhancing ingredient. Today, studies on ginger suggest that its root extract can enhance memory by protecting the brain from free radical damage.

Other studies have shown that taking ginger supplements can improve not only working memory, but also attention and reaction time. Experts believe ginger’s beneficial effects on memory and attention may be attributed to the powerful compounds it contains, such as gingerols, shogaols and paradol.

4. Ginger protects against “diabetes of the brain”

The gingerols in ginger can help prevent diabetes complications, especially those that are neurological in nature. Diabetes is a chronic disease marked by high blood sugar. The disease doesn’t really go away. Instead, diabetic patients are advised to manage their condition by keeping their blood sugar levels in check.

Experts now suspect that Alzheimer’s, a brain disorder marked by memory loss and cognitive decline, is a kind of diabetes that occurs when brain cells become unable to take up blood sugar, the brain’s main source of energy.

5. Ginger combats adrenal fatigue

Cortisol is a stress hormone released by the adrenal glands – small, triangular-shaped glands located on top of both kidneys – for the regulation of blood pressure. These glands release more cortisol in response to stress. Adrenal fatigue is thought to occur when adrenal glands become overtaxed by excess cortisol. As a result, the adrenal glands can no longer produce levels of cortisol necessary for optimal body function.

Ginger may help relieve adrenal fatigue by increasing energy levels and modulating levels of cortisol and other stress hormones. For relief from adrenal fatigue, natural healers also sometimes use other stress-busting herbs, such as ginkgo and ginseng, alongside ginger.

6. Ginger protects the brain from the effects of monosodium glutamate

Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is a flavor enhancer derived from glutamic acid, an amino acid that can also be found in meat, fish and eggs. Even your body produces glutamic acid. When consumed in large amounts, MSG can disrupt brain cell activity by overstimulating brain cells.

If this continues, exhausted, overstimulated brain cells can die, and this can lead to swelling in the brain. Luckily, ginger can help shield the brain from the neurotoxic effects of MSG, according to a study published in the Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences.

7. Ginger relieves the pain of migraine headaches

The antioxidants in ginger can alleviate inflammation, even inflammation associated with migraine headaches. In fact, a 2013 study found that ginger’s beneficial effects against migraines are similar to those of sumatriptan, a migraine drug that works by causing the blood vessels that pump blood to the brain to narrow.

Unlike sumatriptan, however, ginger doesn’t cause adverse side effects.

Recipe for ginger smoothie

One way you can reap the brain benefits of ginger is by trying out this tasty ginger smoothie. It’s dairy- and gluten-free and is 100 percent plant-based.

Ingredients for 1 serving:

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup frozen mangoes
  • 1/2 cup frozen peaches
  • 1/2 cup frozen pineapple chunks
  • 2 tablespoons collagen peptides or plant-based protein powder of choice
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional)
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 tablespoon raw honey
  • Juice of 1 large lemon

Preparation:

  1. Put all the ingredients in a high-speed blender. Blend for 1 minute.
  2. Serve and enjoy immediately.

Some other ways you can include ginger in your diet are by adding it to stir-fries and pastries. If you’re not particularly fond of ginger’s flavor, try taking ginger supplements. Take note that while ginger is safe to consume, it’s best not to take more than one gram of ginger per day. Otherwise, you may experience heartburn, throat burn or excess gas.

Sources:

BeBrainFit.com

EndocrineWeb.com

SciAlert.net

NutritionInTheKitchn.com

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