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As an important spice and herb used in many cuisines, and nearly calorie-free metabolism booster, ginger, when used in cooking or brewed in tea, possess amazing benefits that aid weight loss. Similar to the heat created when exercising, ginger creates internal heat that speeds up your metabolism – stronger and faster metabolism means faster burning of fat cells in the body.
Ginger, however, shouldn’t be considered as a replacement for a low-calorie diet, rather it should be used along with a sensible diet and good exercising plan.
Ginger has been well studied for its weight loss properties, thus the first question you need to ask is-
What is in ginger that helps weight loss?
Native to South Asia, and common in the Caribbean and East Africa, ginger is referred to the rhizome of Zingiber officinale. Dry ginger is commonly used as a spice, flavoring agent and preservative, young rhizomes are, however, quite edible. We are familiar that rhizomes are used in preparation of gingerbread and drinks such as ginger beer and ginger ale; however, ginger is also used in traditional medicine for treating nausea, constipation, motion sickness, and more.
Different groups of phenol compounds (gingerols, shogaols and zingerone) give the characteristic odor and flavor of ginger. The analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, gastrointestinal and sedative effects of ginger come from gingerols, volatile oils that also show promising anti-cancer properties.
As for ginger nutritional value, fresh ginger has 80.9% moisture, 0.9% fat, 12.3% carbohydrate, 2.3% proteins, 2.4% fiber and 1.2% minerals. Ginger root contains B vitamins, vitamins A and C and minerals – iron, potassium and phosphorus. The great benefit for digestive system stem from the rich amount of dietary fiber.
Studies on ginger indicate that it can be effectively used in heart disease treatments, as well as in treating high cholesterol levels, osteoarthritis and joint pain.
How ginger aids weight loss?
By increasing the pH of the stomach and stimulating the digestive enzymes, ginger improves digestion, and due to high fiber content, it increases gastrointestinal motility. Essential nutrients are absorbed quickly, while the foods that cause bloating and constipation are excreted fast. When digestive system is efficient, it helps process ingested food more efficiently, which, in turn, contributes to weight loss. When digestive system is working properly, the use of the energy is increased, because it uses up the glucose in the blood and stored fat in the body.
Ginger is also a thermogenic agent that can help burn fat, boosting the body’s metabolic rate by up to 20%, according to one study. By making metabolism stronger, ginger helps burn off the fat stored up in the body, which also helps reduce cholesterol levels.
A study published in the journal Metabolism, done by researchers from New York Obesity Research Center and Columbia University, showed that ginger had an amazing effect on the feeling of satiety after eating. They concluded that ginger could improve weight loss by enhancing the feeling of fullness after a meal, that is, by suppressing appetite.
“The results, showing enhanced thermogenesis and reduced feelings of hunger with ginger consumption, suggest a potential role of ginger in weight management,” the researchers said.
Ginger tea also controls cortisol, the stress inducing hormone, which can be responsible for undesirable belly fat, that is, for emotional eating- These properties make ginger tea a great anti-stress drink, controlling the hormone that increases cravings and induces weight gain.
How can you use ginger to speed up weight loss?
Ginger can be used in various ways – in the preparation of food or making ginger tea. As an herbal supplement, ginger is available in the form of extracts, capsules, tinctures and oils. Ginger tea is a filling drink, good at keeping the hunger under control, with only 10 calories per 240 ml cup of ginger tea.
The most common way to include ginger in weight loss plan is by drinking ginger tea with either fresh root or dried ginger powder.
Ginger tea with fresh root
Ginger root – 2 inch long piece (peeled, finely grated)
Water – 250 ml
Honey to taste (if required)
You need to heat water on medium to high heat, until it starts boiling. Then add grated ginger root, simmer for 5 minutes, strain, add honey if you wish, and drink it warm.
Ginger tea with dried ginger powder
Dried ginger powder – ½ teaspoon to 1 teaspoon
Water – 250 ml
Honey to taste (if you desire)
To prepare ginger tea with dried powder is also very simple – boil water, add dried ginger powder and allow boiling. Then lower the flame, simmer for 2 minutes, strain and flavor with honey. Serve it hot.
When you are using fresh ginger, the tea increases your body’s energy and the higher the energy levels are, the better your mood will be as well. Increasing energy levels will help you exercise better, burning more calories. Make sure you are drinking it hot, 250 ml cup of ginger tea at least 15 minutes before your meal.
To prepare stronger weight loss drink, mix ginger teat with cinnamon (cinnamon aids in controlling blood sugar levels) and basil leaves. Make ginger tea, and boil one teaspoon of cinnamon powder and 8-10 chopped basil leaves. Mix it together and add one teaspoon of honey for better taste and greater benefits for circulation and metabolism.
For even better results, you can combine ginger with other fat burning foods such as lemon, cayenne pepper, fresh fruits, berries, and avocado.
Ginger root and lemon are especially powerful weight loss drink. Mix ½ teaspoon of ginger paste or ginger root with lemon juice, and drink it 20 to 30 minutes before meal.
If you are not a tea person, you can mix black pepper powder and dried ginger root. Use equal quantities, usually 1/2 teaspoon, and drink it with lukewarm water twice a day. Another weight loss aid is ginger juice. Make a ginger paste and squeeze the juice from it. Consume two teaspoons of the juice 30 minutes before meal.
Chewing up a small piece of raw ginger or ginger root 30 minutes before your meal is also very beneficial for suppressing appetite.
The side effects of ginger are rare and the herb is safe. However, there are some common side effects such as heartburn, belching, stomach upset, diarrhea and irritation of the mouth, thus, ginger is not recommended for people with heart conditions, diabetes and bleeding disorders. Another way to avoid these side effects is to use ginger in capsule form.
When preparing the tea, make sure you do not use more than 4 grams of ginger a day. Excessive consumption of ginger could in fact lead to those undesirable side effects.
Have you tried ginger tea for weight loss? Share your experience below in comments.
Budhwaar, V. (2006). Secret Benefits: Ginger and Turmeric. Sterling Publishers.
Goodman, D. (2013). Ginger Health Benefits – Bath Remedies – Benefits of Ginger Tea.
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