Why You Should Add Ginger to Your Diet ASAP

POPSUGAR Photography | Cera Hensley
POPSUGAR Photography | Cera Hensley

I've heard time and time again how great ginger is for your health, but how beneficial is it really? To find out whether the root actually yields results or purely sounds healthy, I asked Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, who replied, "Yes, ginger actually has science-based evidence to back a number of benefits."

The super root is packed with powerful properties, which means it's more than just a flavorful side dish to sushi. See below for the right and wrong ways to consume ginger and reasons to start eating it today.

Proven Benefits of Eating Ginger

In addition to helping combat motion sickness — especially seasickness — and easing nausea in pregnant women when taken properly, ginger is also great to consume post-workout.

"Ginger has an anti-inflammatory effect, which is why it can help reduce muscle pain after intense physical activity and improve pain in people with osteoarthritis," Cynthia told POPSUGAR. "Ginger has also been shown to possess cancer fighting properties, improve heart health, and help prevent or manage type 2 diabetes."

Best Ways to Consume/Add Ginger to Your Diet

Cynthia suggests adding freshly grated ginger root to fresh-pressed juices and smoothies, hot or iced tea, or hot or iced water. You can also incorporate it for flavor by adding it to salad dressing, sauces, marinades, or even almond butter, or by seasoning stir frys, baked seafood, or lentil soup. For those of you with a sweet tooth, ginger pairs well with desserts, as well.

"It's also fantastic stirred into melted dark chocolate with fresh fruit for dipping," she said. "For a simple treat I like to chop a fresh apple or pear, sauté over low heat in lemon water with fresh-grated ginger, then top with a crumble made from a combo of almond butter, rolled oats, and cinnamon."

What to Avoid When Eating Ginger

According to Cynthia, ginger should not be given to children under the age of 2. In terms of adult use, there is such thing as overdoing it when it comes to fresh ginger or ginger food products, like ginger tea. "If you use ginger in foods or beverages, use moderation — especially pregnant and breastfeeding women, and anyone taking blood thinning medications, or people with a history of gallstones, heart disease, diabetes, or another chronic medical condition," Cynthia said.

She also advises not to take ginger in supplement form without the supervision of your doctor or dietitian because it may interact with certain medications or other supplements. You should also notify your doctor that you are taking ginger if you are about to undergo surgery or be put under.