7 Health Benefits of Homemade Ginger Beer

7 Health Benefits of Homemade Ginger Beer

Ginger is commonly used as a spice in West African cooking including in the preparation of homemade ginger beer. Homemade ginger beer is by far the healthiest alternative to most carbonated drinks since the preparation process does not involve any chemicals or preservatives. It’s a pretty simple drink to make and when done properly, is one of the most refreshing beverages you can have. Homemade ginger beer has great flavour and taste due to the heat from ginger, as well as the incredible citrus punch. The whole preparation process involves a combination of ginger, sugar and lemon juice as the basic ingredients. In parts of the Caribbean, yeast is also added and the mixture is left to ferment for about 72 hours before serving.

History of ginger

For more than 5000 years, ginger was utilized as the universal medicine by ancient Chinese and Indians; and was highly sought after by pre-historic spice traders. The ginger plant was originally discovered in Southeast Asia and is dominantly utilized as a spice in Asian cuisine. Ginger was later exported to Rome, where it was extensively used in cookery. The Arabs took control of the spice trade after the crumbling of the Roman Empire. The Arab takeover witnessed the explosion of ginger prices and was prevalently imported in its preserved form to be utilized in sweets and treats. In the 15th century, ginger gained a foothold in the Caribbean and Africa as ships transported it across the seas. Later on, other tropical lands throughout the world started growing ginger. The Chinese and Indians also noticed ginger’s powerful healing properties, and today, it’s used to cure a wide range of diseases and health complications. [1]

As well as its active ingredient gingerol, fresh ginger is a rich source of magnesium, manganese, potassium, copper, and vitamin B6; which is why homemade ginger beer harbours a wealth of health benefits.

Homemade ginger beer is a non-alcoholic drink though it can be made into an alcoholic cocktail. It is refreshing and thirst quenching. The homemade ginger beer tastes nothing like their store-bought counterparts and has many health benefits including:

  1. Relieves pain

Ginger has been shown to exhibit pain-relieving capabilities. A study conducted at the University of Georgia discovered that daily intake of ginger minimized muscle pain caused by workout by up to 25%. [2] Ginger has also been proven to minimize pain experienced during menstrual cycles significantly. In the same study, 83% of women taking ginger every day experienced marked improvements in pain symptoms compared to 47% of women on placebo.

  1. Relieves nausea

Drinking ginger beer or chewing raw ginger is a powerful home remedy for nausea, more so, during cancer treatment or pregnancy and morning sickness. [3]. Pregnant women experiencing morning sickness can safely drink homemade ginger beer to relieve nausea and vomiting. Ginger beer relieves nausea by enhancing digestion and enabling food to move effortlessly through your stomach. [4]. I suffer from travel sickness, and I find that adding ginger to my morning smoothie or cup of tea and then drinking before heading off to work drastically eases my symptoms.

  1. Anti-inflammatory benefits

Ginger was used by ancient Chinese and Indians as an anti-inflammatory agent. Inflammation of body tissues is known to trigger diseases such as gastritis, esophagitis, and hepatitis. These diseases are caused by infectious agents like parasites, viruses, bacteria, and chemical and physical agents such as cigarette smoke, acid and foreign bodies, which are known risk factors for cancer. According to a research published in the International Journal of Preventive Medicine, regular consumption of ginger helps insulates tissues from inflammation, keeping these dangerous diseases at bay. [5]

  1. Helps fight off cancer cells

Although more studies are being conducted to determine the effectiveness of ginger at mitigating the possibility of cancer, preliminary studies by the Cancer Prevention Research conducted on animals show strong capabilities. The preliminary studies showed that ginger caused colorectal cancer cells in to die off, prevented them from growing and prevented them from developing resistant to standard treatments. [6]. Similar results have also been identified with ovarian cancer cells. [7]

  1. Combats bacteria naturally

Ginger has powerful antibacterial properties, which is why it is referred to as nature’s antibiotic. A study to establish the antibacterial effect of ginger root extract on 4 respiratory tract pathogens was undertaken by the Department of Life Sciences at the University of Buea in Cameroon. The ginger root extract showed strong antibacterial activity against the pathogens. [8]. Another study conducted in Nigeria compared the effects of ginger and several antibiotics on the growth of pathogenic bacteria. The results showed that the ginger extract had the most antimicrobial activity when compared to the antibiotics used. [9]

This explains why ginger is an ingredient in almost all traditional medicines in China and India. So developing a routine of drinking homemade ginger beer every day can help to render your body bacteria-free.

  1. Boosts metabolism

The surefire way to enhance your metabolism is to embrace a daily workout regimen and proper diet. However, certain situations like injury or sickness may not allow you to carry on with the workout and diet routine. This is where Ginger comes to the rescue. Ginger is a proven fat burner. Intake of ginger has been substantiated to enhance fat digestion and absorption during high-fat consumption. Ginger is an effective fat burner since it drives up bile secretion, stimulates the action of pancreatic lipase, while also, facilities energy outlay to mitigate the accumulation of absorbed fat. [10]

  1. Stroke and heart disease

Stroke and heart disease contribute to a larger percentage of deaths today. Regular intake of ginger beer or fresh ginger can help to keep these deadly diseases at bay. A combination of ginger, garlic, and onions provide a great mainstay against stroke and heart attack. Ginger minimizes the possibility of heart attack by mitigating the oxidation of low-density (“bad”) lipoprotein (LDL) and lowering cholesterol levels which are implicated in the formation of atherosclerosis. In a research study published in the Journal of Nutrition, ginger was found to significantly reduce the risk factors of heart attack. The research study was conducted on three groups of mice. The first group was given 25 micrograms of ginger extract each day; the second group 250 micrograms and the third group was given only a placebo. The group given 250 micrograms of ginger extract manifested remarkable benefits against the group fed only placebo. The following results were recorded in relation to the mice given 250 micrograms of ginger extract: [11]

  • LDL cholesterol level reduced by 33%
  • Significant reduction in oxidation
  • VLDL cholesterol reduced by 53%
  • Reduced aortic atherosclerotic lesions by 44%
  • Reduction of Plasma triglycerides (fat) by 27%.

 

  1. http://www.indepthinfo.com/ginger/history.shtml
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2241638/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92775/#ch7_sec5
  4. http://www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/ginger
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3665023
  6. http://cancerpreventionresearch.aacrjournals.org/content/6/4/257
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2241638
  8. http://www.academicjournals.org/article/article1380017545_Sebiomo%20et%20al.pdf
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21918995
  10. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2000/11/26/ginger.aspx
  11. http://www.academicjournals.org/article/article1380017545_Sebiomo%20et%20al.pdf

 

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