Ginger is a common spice used frequently in Asian cuisine.
It is the underground rhizome of the ginger plant. It has a pungent, spicy flavour.
It is has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It is popularly used to treat gastrointestinal problems such as gas and nausea.
It also provides relief from body ache, arthritis, sore muscles and respiratory problems. Research suggests that ginger demonstrates anti-tumor property in case of ovarian and colorectal cancer.
5 Reasons why ginger can help in weight loss
Based on the research we conducted, these are the top reasons as to how ginger can help you lose weight
1. Ginger supplementation prevents fat deposit
Ginger acts in a number of ways to prevent fat deposition and obesity.
Ginger extracts are reported to stimulate PPAR pathway facilitating breakdown of fats and their utilisation as energy.
PPAR is a protein that regulates fat and cholesterol metabolism and its activation is used as a treatment for obesity.
Research claims that 2 g of ginger taken daily for 12 weeks leads to decrease in body weight, fat mass, waist and hip circumference and reduced appetite. The study indicates that ginger powder acts at genetic levels to curb obesity.
Another study also proves that consuming ginger powder in the form of capsules stimulates breakdown of fats.
Ginger supplementation in combination with resistance training is found to decrease fat mass, cholesterol and lipid levels as well as improved insulin sensitivity.
In addition it also has beneficial effects on inflammation and cardiovascular risk factors.
- Improved insulin sensitivity which leads to effective breakdown of carbohydrates
- Inhibits absorption of fat from diet in the intestines
- Reduces cholesterol and regulates lipid (fats and oil) metabolism
2. It promotes satiety and controls appetite
A study was conducted in Columbia University, New York wherein obese men participating in the study were asked to consume a hot ginger beverage with breakfast.
It was found that consumption of this drink led to lower hunger ratings, increased feeling of fullness and lower subsequent food intake.
However the beverage did not seem to affect metabolism.
3. Compounds present in ginger exert anti-obesity action
- Reducing body weight
- Reducing glucose and insulin levels
- Reducing leptin (hormone that stimulates appetite) levels
- Reducing activity of enzymes (amylase and lipase) that are involved in carbohydrate and lipid metabolism
- Regulating cholesterol metabolism
- Enhancing energy metabolism and preventing activity of proteins and genes that stimulate lipid production
- Preventing development of adipocytes (fat cells)
Zingerone is the main component that imparts pungency to ginger. Research proves that zingerone activates norepinephrine induced lipolysis.
Norepinephrine is a hormone that stimulates lipolysis breakdown of fats by activating enzyme lipase.
Thus zingerone prevents accumulation of fats in fat tissue.
4. It favourably regulates glucose levels
Gingerol is one of the components in ginger that is responsible for this property. In addition to hypoglycaemic effect, ginger also improves antioxidant status and reduces inflammation.
5. It improves digestion
Contrary to previous study, results of one experimental study suggest that ginger enhances fat digestion and absorption.
As per the study, ginger increases activity of digestive enzymes in the range of 22-57%.
Further researchers suggest that ginger also stimulates burning of calories and thus prevents fat accumulation.
Comparison of Ginger & Orlistat’s effect on body weight
Orlistat is a popular weight loss drug that prevents absorption of fats from diet. The effect of orlistat and ginger on body weight was evaluated in an animal model of obesity.
Both ginger and orlistat reduced body weight, cholesterol and lipid level. Ginger had no effect on chemicals that stimulate digestion whereas orlistat inhibited their activity.
Overall ginger was found to reduce body weight and cholesterol without affecting activity of enzymes involved in digestion and metabolism.
Use of ginger in commercial supplements
Ginger extracts are available as a part of commercial weight loss supplements. A weight loss supplement that goes by the name ‘METABO’ has been developed.
Few of the ingredients it contains are raspberry ketone, garlic, ginger, caffeine, capsaicin and grapefruit.
Clinical trials prove that this supplement causes significant decrease in body weight, fat mass, waist and hip circumferences as well as increase in muscle mass.
It is suggested that 8 week supplementation of METABO in addition to low calorie diet and exercise can lead to effective weight loss.
How much ginger to take for weight loss?
Ginger roots are available as fresh, dried or powdered. You can find ginger extracts, tinctures, capsules and oil. Crystallized or candied ginger is also available.
Studies recommend consuming 2-3g of ginger powder daily for 2-4 months.
You can also prepare ginger tea or ginger lemonade. You can also add fresh grated ginger to your regular meals, salads and pickles.
Ginger is not reported to have any major side effects. Mild stomach side effects are possible only if taken in high doses.
It is advisable to consult a doctor before taking ginger supplements in case you are:
- Suffering from gallstone, bleeding disorder, heart disease or diabetes
- Pregnant or breastfeeding
- Scheduled for surgery
- Taking any medications
As per research, ginger can aid in weight loss by improving digestion, preventing fat deposition, reducing cholesterol levels and positively influencing glucose ad insulin levels.
Ginger also has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Sipping on to ginger tea or even consuming ginger powder can provide you with a number of health benefits apart from weight loss.