With symptoms including a high fever, sore throat, achiness and a loss of appetite, influenza is bad news – especially for those with a weakened immune system. And as the temperature drops, our chance of catching the flu rapidly increases, meaning it’s important to increase our intake of immunity-boosting foods now. Enter ginger. This zingy root has been linked to flu prevention and treatment. But does ginger really help keep flu at bay?
To understand how ginger works to fight flu, we first have to understand what causes this common illness. Most experts think that flu viruses are spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu sneeze, cough or talk. These water particles can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Less often, a person might also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth or nose.
Once a person is infected with a flu virus, they will develop some or all of these symptoms:
In uncomplicated cases, you should start feeling a lot better within five days, although you might not get back to full health for at least two weeks.
Ginger packs a punch – both in terms of flavor and nutritional clout. This lumpy root may look humble, but ginger is one of the most powerful superfoods. Anti-inflammatory, spasmolytic and loaded with essential vitamins and nutrients, the list of medicinal properties go on and on. Plus, many of these health properties make it an important natural remedy for cold and flu.
The flu is often accompanied by nausea and vomiting, especially in children. This is where ginger really comes into its own. As a natural anti-emetic, ginger can ease nausea and calm the stomach. In fact, ginger is so effective at reducing nausea that it is often prescribed by doctors to relieve the effects of chemotherapy.
Not only can superfood ginger help relieve the symptoms of flu, but it can also potentially stop the virus from taking hold in the first place. Used for thousands of years as a natural treatment for colds and flu across Asia, ginger’s effectiveness in preventing the flu has been backed by scientific studies. In 2013, research published in the The Journal of Ethnopharmacology revealed that fresh ginger is effective against human respiratory syncytial virus (HRSV) infections – a virus responsible for the common cold. So at the first sign of a cold or flu, remember to top up your ginger intake.
Ginger is referred to as a “stimulating diaphoretic”, meaning it can help stimulate perspiration and reduce body temperature. When you’re suffering from a high fever, this is important. By sweating, you reduce the fever and help the body rid itself of toxins.
Ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory and antibacterial agent, making it perfect for treating sore throats. In addition to relieving pain-causing inflammation in the throat. it also helps to fight the viruses that are causing your throat pain and irritation.
The wonderful thing about ginger is its versatility. Boasting a distinctive taste, there are many delicious ways to take advantage of its health properties. Here are just a few:
Add fresh ginger root to your cooking, whether it’s a stir fry or a Thai-inspired curry. Or for a more potent nutrient punch, try chewing on a small piece of fresh ginger two times a day.
Fresh ginger juice is a great addition to your morning green juice, smoothie or turmeric latte. Or if you’re already suffering from the symptoms of the flu, try combining 1 teaspoon of ginger juice with ½ teaspoon of honey for an instant flu remedy.
A hot cup of tea is always welcome when you’re feeling ill. And superfood ginger tea has the extra benefits of being packed full of antiviral properties. Check out our recipe for this tasty ginger, lemon and cinnamon tea.
Ginger works to prevent and treat flu in so many different ways. By easing nausea, relieving the pain of a sore throat, stimulating perspiration and even potentially warding off the virus, it helps fight the flu on all fronts. To discover even more information on treating the flu, check out our article on natural cold and flu remedies.