From colds and headaches to morning sickness and indigestion, the list of everyday illnesses that Ginger can help treat goes on and on. But it’s not just tummy troubles and aches and pains that this superfood can relieve. Research suggests that Ginger may help deal with a more serious problem – high blood sugar. Linked to diabetes, elevated blood sugar levels can lead to some serious problems. So how can this super spice help keep them in check?
Why is it Important to Manage Blood Sugar Levels?
Like blood pressure, blood sugar levels need to be kept in check – especially as we age or develop a less than healthy lifestyle. Checking glucose levels is important in diagnosing and monitoring diabetes – a serious disease that impairs the body’s ability to produce insulin and elevates levels of glucose in the blood.
Blood sugar levels can be kept under control by eating plenty of healthy food with a lower GI and living a more active lifestyle. In addition to this, research suggests that some superfoods can actively manage blood sugar levels.
High Blood Sugar
High blood sugar, or hyperglycemia, usually develops relatively slowly. It happens when you don't have enough insulin in your body because you’ve eaten too much, missed taking medicine for diabetes, or don’t get enough exercise. Elevated blood sugar can also be the result of illness or stress.
When your fasting blood sugar is at or above the normal level you may:
- Urinate more often than usual, especially during the night
- Experience increased fatigue
- Experience thirst more often than usual
Low Blood Sugar
Low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, is where the level of sugar in the blood drops too low. A risk for people with diabetes, low blood sugar can potentially be very dangerous if left untreated.
When the amount of sugar in your blood has dropped below your target range, you may:
- Feel hungry
- Feel shaky
- Feel dizzy
- Turn pale
- Experience heart palpitations
- Feel tired
How Ginger Lowers Blood Sugar in Diabetics
Ginger’s therapeutic benefits come thanks to its impressive nutritional profile. Packed with phytochemicals like zingerone, gingerol, shogaol and other volatile oils, this zingy spice adds a nutritional punch to food as well as a taste enhancement. Ginger’s unique combination of chemicals and nutrients means that it boasts a whole load of health benefits, including:
- Helps treat nausea
- Fights fungal infections
- Relieves joint and muscle pain
- Eases indigestion
- Helps treat headaches
But how can this super root really lower blood sugar levels? A study from Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences studied the effect of Ginger on 88 people who had been living with type 2 diabetes for at least 10 years. Each participant was given either three daily doses of Ginger powder or a placebo. The results were impressive. The researchers observed that those who took the Ginger powder experienced a significant decrease in levels of blood sugar after eight weeks. This study suggests that Ginger might join superfoods like Ceylon Cinnamon and Baobab in helping to reduce blood sugar levels.
So how exactly does Ginger work to lower blood sugar levels? The answer isn’t 100 per cent clear, but researchers believe it has something to do with the spice’s ability to inhibit hepatic phosphorylase. This enzyme is responsible for breaking down molecules that store glucose, so slowing down this enzyme has the potential to lower blood sugar levels for those with diabetes.
Is Ginger Your Superfood Solution?
With researchers increasingly studying the potential of Ginger to control blood sugar levels, you may be wondering how you can add this super spice to your diet. Luckily, it couldn’t be easier. Both the fresh root and Ginger powder can be added to curries, soups, smoothies, teas and healthy bakes for some extra zing and an even bigger nutritional boost!