The Top 10 Reasons Why I Love Ginger
By Anthony Ricciuto
In the last installment of this series I really hit home with some serious topics about ginger’s role in fighting both cardiovascular disease and cancer. I got a huge response and more emails than I could handle after this article went live and it shows that more and more strength athletes are serious about preventing health conditions before they even exist. I guess my preaching for a decade and a half has finally taken resonance with the strength community who no longer want to wait for “Big Pharma” to help them cover up the symptoms of an illness with a myriad of drugs, rather than trying to prevent it from happening in the first place. So on this note, I am going to cover the last areas where ginger can work its magic and how you can best take advantage of it
# 7 Brain Health Benefits
Now, this may be an area many of you don’t think about often but you should. You see as you age your melon doesn’t work as well as it once did. I know I am going to get scolded by the senior master level lifters for saying that but the fact is the brain does age just like our body. So on that note, for those over 40 years old making sure your brain ages gracefully is something we all should be concerned with. Now ginger can also provide some amazing benefits for your brain as well. Just when you thought it was maxed out on joint pain and nausea, ginger comes through once again in a most unexpected area.
- One very harmful food ingredient that was once synonymous with Chinese Buffets is known as MSG or monosodium glutamate
- For those of you who don’t know MSG is a flavor enhancer and hence why it is common in many restaurant foods as well as tons of packaged foods and snacks
- This may include potato chips, deli meats, frozen dinners, instant soup mixes and noodles, salad dressings, soy sauce, gravies, dips, and even certain cheese
- MSG is known to cause a wide range of side effects for those individuals that are sensitive to it
- This lovely compound is also an Excitotoxin. For those of you not really sure of what this means listen up
MSG is a Dangerous Excitotoxin!
- MSG is a neurologically active compound that when consumed can display detrimental excitatory effects on the CNS (Central Nervous System) and even lead to injury of nerve cells
- Different side effects include facial pressure, nausea, numbness, body weakness, tingling, headaches, drowsiness, diarrhea, stomach cramps, rectal bleeding, stomach bloating, rapid heart rate, arrhythmia, angina, atrial fibrillation, major drop or increase in blood pressure, joint pain and stiffness
- Now if that is not enough let’s take a look at how it can affect you neurologically
- MSG has been linked with depression, rage reactions( heck maybe it wasn’t the Tren after all), mood swings, dizziness, loss of balance, mental confusion, anxiety, panic attacks, hyperactivity, disorientation and not to be forgotten is how it can make your kids act like a rambunctious group of thugs…now as bad as that sounds I am not joking
- Ok so looking at all the nice things it offers you, I am sure you are shaking your head on why it is still allowed in the foods we eat…but that is another article in itself
- Now the reason why I have brought this up is the fact that a recent study has shown some interesting facts in regards to ginger and MSG’s damaging effects on the body and in particular the brain
- During this study, rats were injected with MSG for 30 days
- What the researchers found is that the rats after the 30 day period started going through withdrawal symptoms
- This included norepinephrine, epinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine depletion
- These are crucially important neurotransmitters and having them bottom out like this can have a dramatic effect on one’s healthy state
- Following this state, researchers then injected rats with ginger root extract for 30 days
- Now what made this so special is the fact that the neurotransmitter depletion was completely reversed as well as the brain damage
- To make this even better is the fact that the health benefits that ginger showed continued even after the researchers stopped injecting the rats with it
- In a study published in Evidence Based Complimentary Medicine, ginger showed some cognitive benefits for aging women
- The study consisted of 60 healthy women who were given 400mg of ginger, 800mg of ginger, or placebo taken once daily
Ginger Can Help Improve Your Memory!
- After 30 and 60 days the participants were evaluated for cognitive function and memory-based tests
- Researchers found that those who consumed the daily ginger extract showed an increase in memory but even more interesting was the fact that they also had reduced brain oxidative stress
#8 Immune System Benefits
Now getting the cold and flu is commonplace especially in the fall and winter months. Those with children know that school is one of the most germ-laden places on the planet. Hence why kids all over the world come home and infect their families like no other. We all know that once one person in the house is sick which usually starts with one of the youngsters, then it is sure to spread like a wildfire until the whole house is couching, sneezing, and blowing their noses into oblivion. So let’s take a look at some of the benefits of ginger when you are feeling under the weather.
- Now you may not know this but ginger actually possess anti-viral properties, yes that is correct
- In the November 2012 issue of the “Journal of Ethnopharmacology,” they found this to be the case
- During this study, they found that fresh ginger prevented “Human Respiratory Syncytial Virus” (HRSV) from not only attaching but also infecting upper respiratory tract cells
- They dosed 300mcg per milliliter and discovered that it stimulated respiratory cells to release a potent anti-viral protein
- This powerful anti-viral protein is known as Interferon-Beta
- Ginger can also help relieve congestion and stop mucous production dead in its tracks
- Now if you thought that ginger’s immune benefits stopped there hold on there is more
- Ginger is also a powerful anti-fungal as well
Do You Suffer from Toe Nail Fungus?
- For those of you who have had any type of fungal infection even one as simple as toenail fungal infection, you know how hard it is to get rid of it in its entirety
- Ginger has been found to possess anti-fungal properties and this also includes some that are drug-resistant
- One in vitro study performed in the Journal of Dental Sciences and research-tested ginger in ethanol against Candida Albicans
- They found that the combination of the two possessed powerful anti-fungal properties when compared to the ethanol alone
- The combination provided a synergistic fungal fighting force that proved its anti-fungal activity against hard to deal with strains
- Another in vitro study this time published in the Journal of Applied Sciences looked at ginger’s anti-fungal abilities compared to a powerful drug called Nystatin that is commonly used for these conditions
- They found that the ginger extract was very effective at inhibiting the growth of Candida Albicans and even better was the fact that its effects were comparable to Nystatin
# 9 Muscle Recovery Benefits
- Now I know all the meatheads that made it this far want to see some hands-on benefits of ginger in regards to their training and recovery
- Well I got some good info that I am sure you will love to hear in this regards
- In a recent study, 20 test subjects were given either 4 grams of ginger or a placebo over a 5 day period
- This was prior to a high-intensity elbow flexor exercise which caused significant muscle damage due to the volume
Ginger Can Improve Strength and Recovery!
- When tested 24 hours later both the ginger and the placebo groups lost significant arm strength
- But from further testing, they found that the ginger group found improved strength levels after 48 hours, while the placebo group didn’t notice optimal strength recovery for another 24 hours
- This shows the ginger group recovered a full day earlier than those that didn’t supplement with it
- Now if we put this into powerlifting terms this is some big news
- If ginger can help you recover a full day earlier than you would without it that is mind-blowing because muscle recovery is one of the prime benefits of anabolic steroids
- In another study published in the Central European Journal of Immunology in 2014 on long-distance runners, showed that after 6 weeks of consuming ginger daily they had reduced muscle inflammation
- Researchers found that during bouts of intense training elite endurance athletes usually have significantly elevated post-exercise levels of numerous pro-inflammatory cytokines
Ginger Reduces Inflammation and Cytokine Levels in Endurance Athletes!
- But by using ginger for 6 weeks this was pretty much reversed on many levels
- It was shown to modulate inflammation in athletes and minimize circulating pro-inflammatory cytokine levels
- This not only shows an improved rate of recovery but even more is the fact that it can result in less chance of infections like upper respiratory tract issues which are common with endurance athletes after intense training cycles
Now in this issue, I wanted to cover not only some of the further health benefits ginger has but also some of the performance angles as well. I know this has been a long series but I wanted to show you how many different areas that ginger can help to protect and prevent disease. Once again when I do give you cutting-edge info I want to leave no stone unturned so that you can rest assured have a full understanding of the topic at hand. In the next and final installment, I will be covering how to implement ginger into your lifestyle and nutrition plan as well as supplementation plus much more. So until then, train hard, eat clean, and start adding this wonderful spice into your day!