Ginger Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

ginger nutrition facts and health benefits

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

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On your plate of sushi, in teas, and in your favorite Indian dishes, ginger is one of the most nutritious and tasty spices out there. It belongs to the Zingiberaceae family, a flowering plant that originated in Southeast Asia.

We eat the rhizome, which is the underground part of the stem most commonly called ginger root or simply, ginger. Ginger is closely related to turmeric, cardamom, and galangal and is commonly used together in recipes.

Ginger contains several health benefits and boasts powerful medicinal properties. It is best known to reduce nausea, but it also has anti-inflammatory characteristics. Ginger also can help reduce pain from osteoarthritis, reduce blood pressure, and may help prevent cancer. Here is what you need to know about ginger.

Ginger Nutrition Facts

The nutrition information for five slices (11 grams) of ginger is provided by the USDA.

  • Calories: 9
  • Fat: 0g
  • Sodium: 1.4mg
  • Carbohydrates: 2g
  • Fiber: 0.2g
  • Sugar: 0.2g
  • Protein: 0.2g
  • Magnesium: 4.7mg
  • Potassium: 45.6mg

Carbs

There are 2 grams of carbohydrates in five slices of ginger. Ginger also contains an insignificant amount of fiber and sugar.

Ginger also is considered a low glycemic food. People with diabetes and those needing to be mindful of their blood sugar can eat ginger without concern about carbohydrate content.

Fats

Ginger contains zero grams of fat.

Protein

Ginger does not contain a significant amount of protein. Be sure to include other high protein foods in your diet.

Vitamins and Minerals

While ginger is not a significant source of many micronutrients, it does contain some magnesium and potassium.

Calories

At 9 calories per five slices, ginger is not a significant source of calories. The majority of the calories in ginger are derived from carbohydrates.

Health Benefits

Sweet, spicy, and zingy, ginger is a wonderful spice to add to a variety of dishes. Whether you are using fresh, ground, or pickled ginger, you will turn up the flavor in soups, stir-fries, and even smoothies and desserts.

Ginger is also packed with nutrition and health benefits. Research shows ginger can help lower blood sugar in those with diabetes, contains anti-cancer properties, and decreases inflammation. Here is a closer look at some of the potential health benefits of ginger.

May Relieve Nausea

Ginger has been used in many traditional and alternative medicine settings due to gingerol, its main ailment fighting compound. Gingerol is responsible for ginger's unique fragrance and flavor as well as its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.

Mainly, gingerol appears to be highly effective at fighting nausea. It is used for individuals undergoing surgery, particularly chemotherapy, and is found to be beneficial for pregnant women experiencing morning sickness.

In one review that included 1,278 pregnant women, the researchers found that taking 1.1 to 1.5 grams of ginger greatly reduced morning sickness nausea symptoms. While ginger is considered safe for pregnancy, talk with a healthcare provider before adding large amounts.

May Reduce Osteoarthritis Pain

Osteoarthritis causes degeneration of joints leading to joint pain, inflammation, and stiffness. In one study, individuals with osteoarthritis in the knee were given 500 milligrams to 1 gram of ginger for 3 to 12 weeks.

After this period, participants had reductions in pain and disability. It is notable that 22% of participants in this study dropped out due to intolerance to the taste of ginger.

May Lower Blood Sugars

More recent research shows strong evidence for a link between ginger consumption and lowering fasting blood sugar levels. In a study with 41 participants with diabetes, taking 2 grams of ginger powder daily resulted in a 12% decrease in fasting blood glucose levels.

Additionally, over a period of 12 weeks, the participant's HgA1C—which is an average of 3 months of blood sugar levels—decreased by 10%.

May Reduce Menstrual Pain

Ginger is often used for pain relief and has also been shown to improve pain and discomfort during a woman's menstrual cycle. One study examined the effectiveness of ginger in reducing menstrual cycle pain in 168 females.

The females were divided into two groups receiving either Novafen, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agent, or ginger. Pain intensity decreased in both groups and there was not a statistically significant difference between the groups. This evidence indicates that natural herbal medicine can be used over synthetic medication with similar results depending on an individual's preference.

May Help Prevent Cancer

There is increasing evidence that ginger may help prevent cancer in addition to an adjunct therapy to cancer treatment. This is attributed to gingerol, a compound in fresh ginger known to have anti-cancer properties.

In one study, individuals with a normal risk level for colon cancer were given 2 grams of ginger for 28 days. At the end of the 28 days, the researchers found that the participants had decreased levels of pro-inflammatory signaling molecules in the colon.

Though this research is promising, larger studies need to be done on ginger's anti-cancer abilities.

May Help Lower Cholesterol

Ginger is thought to have heart-healthy effects including a positive effect on cholesterol levels. In one review that looked at 14 randomized controlled trials with 473 participants, it was found that those who supplemented with ginger had an increase in HDL (the good cholesterol) with no effect on LDL (the bad cholesterol).

It is important to note that in many of these studies, the dose of ginger may be higher than what is tolerable due to its strong taste. Incorporating ginger into your diet in powder or fresh form is shown to have benefits.

Allergies

An allergy to ginger is fairly uncommon but may appear in skin inflammation, redness, and rash. Ginger may also cause heartburn or stomach irritation. If you think you are allergic to ginger, talk to a healthcare provider.

Varieties

Ginger is found in the grocery in many forms and varieties. You'll find the stocky, cork-like ginger root in the produce section. Once you remove the rough outer skin, the inside can be chopped or sliced and added to flavor sauces, stir-fries, soups, and smoothies for an extra spicy zing.

Ground ginger is found in the spice aisle and can be used in place of fresh ginger—just use less of it. Meanwhile, pickled ginger is what you usually see served with sushi. It serves as a palate cleanser and is also great on stir-fries or tacos.

When It's Best

Most of the ginger sold in the United States is from Hawaii. The peak season is April through August. Ginger is also grown in California and its season runs from August into the fall. If you purchase ginger and are unable to use it right away, it freezes well.

9 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  4. Bartels EM, Folmer VN, Bliddal H, et al. Efficacy and safety of ginger in osteoarthritis patients: a meta-analysis of randomized placebo-controlled trials. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2015;23(1):13-21. doi:10.1016/j.joca.2014.09.024

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  6. Rad HA, Basirat Z, Bakouei F, et al. Effect of Ginger and Novafen on menstrual pain: A cross-over trial. Taiwan J Obstet Gynecol. 2018;57(6):806-809. doi:10.1016/j.tjog.2018.10.006

  7. Zick SM, Turgeon DK, Vareed SK, et al. Phase II study of the effects of ginger root extract on eicosanoids in colon mucosa in people at normal risk for colorectal cancerCancer Prev Res. 2011;4(11):1929-1937. doi:10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-11-0224

  8. Maharlouei N, Tabrizi R, Lankarani KB, et al. The effects of ginger intake on weight loss and metabolic profiles among overweight and obese subjects: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trialsCrit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2019;59(11):1753-1766. doi:10.1080/10408398.2018.1427044

  9. Seasonal food guide. Ginger.

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