You probably have a chunk of ginger root sitting in the bottom of a drawer in your fridge, ready to be shaved into action. Add it to hot water to drink as a natural elixir, or use it to add some kicky flavor to stir-fries or smoothies. But there are so many more reasons to bring ginger into your daily diet, and they range from quelling an upset stomach to helping fight off infections, chronic disease, and even sneaky cancer cells growing somewhere in your body.

The strong, bitter taste and strange-looking root is a rare all-in-one natural remedy that is easy to buy, cheap to acquire, and may just have super-powers against every type of infection if the studies are to be believed. Scientists have written extensively on the miracle root's properties, used as a "nutraceutical" or food as medicine, for centuries the world over.

Gingerol, the active ingredient in ginger, is a powerful antioxidant, with anti-inflammatory properties, and anti-cancer properties and helps to help protect your body from infections and lower inflammation that is the marker of chronic diseases, such as osteoarthritis. In addition, gingerol promotes longevity because it's known to fight cellular stress that causes aging.

Without overwhelming you with the scientific evidence, we looked at the seven scientifically proven health benefits of ginger, and cite the studies that show the powerful properties it possesses. In addition, below are 5 of our favorite plant-based recipes that call for ginger, so you can enjoy the incredible health benefits packed into every bite. Or, boil 4 cups of water and grate half of a teaspoon of ginger and let it steep for 10 minutes and sip your ginger tea throughout the day.

One major study finds that "Ginger contains many phenolic compounds such as gingerol, shogaol, and paradol that exhibit antioxidant, anti-tumor, and anti-inflammatory properties" which means it can fight everything from tumor cells to inflammation, which is often at the root of other chronic diseases. The health benefits of ginger are so powerful that when you inhale the strong, bitter aroma of the gingerol in your tea, you should associate it with healing.

7 Benefits of Ginger From Soothing Stomach Aches to Fighting Cancer

1. Gingerol has anti-inflammatory properties and helps boost immunity

Ginger is used as a natural remedy to help alleviate pain and strengthen your immune system to help fight illnesses, ranging from infections to digestive disorders. If you're experiencing inflammation, which can show up as digestive stress, bloating or aches and pains in any area of the body, try adding ginger to your daily morning drink.

6-Gingerol, the active component of ginger, has the ability to lower inflammation in the body according to one major study. Gingerol is also used for medical purposes against symptoms of nausea, arthritis, and pain.

Inflammation in the body is often triggered by an infection but doctors will tell you that when chronic inflammation sets in that can accelerate the aging process and lead to a cascade of unhealthy events in the body including weight gain, high blood pressure and more. So taking ginger will help alleviate inflammation, which is turn will allow your cells to become healthier.

For foods that fight inflammation see this story. On the flip side, red meat, dairy and animal protein are known to promote inflammation, so a diet of whole plant-based foods will help fight inflammation, lower risk of disease and prevent infection.

2. Fresh ginger may help fight oral and respiratory infections.

Ginger has been used as an herbal medicine for decades, in particular, to fight oral and respiratory infections such as gum disease and viral infections like colds and flu.

The "gingerol compounds contain antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties, as well as several pharmaceutical properties," according to a study that looked at the power of fresh ginger.

Sipping fresh ginger tea is effective for protecting against gum bacteria like gingivitis and periodontitis, according to the study. These oral bacterias can cause periodontal disease, an infection of the gums.

Another study found that fresh ginger has anti-viral activity against the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), a common respiratory infection that can be serious among old people and babies. In a time of COVID-19, respiratory health is especially important and "fresh, but not dried, ginger is effective" against the type of plague that can block lung function.

3. Ginger helps promote natural weight loss and lowers body fat

Gingerol may promote weight loss by reducing inflammation and lowering lipid accumulation in the body, according to studies that show ginger may be a natural weight-loss supplement.

In one study, obese rats were treated with gingerol for 30 days, and fed a high-fat diet. Research showed  "significantly decreased glucose levels," as well as body weight, leptin and insulin, two hormones that help regulate fat storage in the body. Essentially the rats on ginger had much healthier response to the food they ate than those not given the ginger.

In another study, 473 overweight subjects were placed in randomized controlled groups and half consumed ginger supplements to see what the effect of ginger would be on weight loss. "Ginger intake reduced body weight, waist-to-hip ratio ... fasting glucose and insulin resistance" and helped to boost HDL "or good" cholesterol, according to the findings.

Another study looked at the effects of taking dietary supplements for green tea, capsaicin and ginger extracts especially what impact these three supplements would have on weight loss. After 8 weeks on the supplements, 50 overweight women "had beneficial effects on weight, BMI, markers of insulin, metabolism." So while ginger was part of the study, it appears to be beneficial both on its own and taken together with green tea and capsaicin (found in chili peppers).

4. Ginger helps fight aging on a cellular level and promotes longevity

Gingerol has been shown to help reduce oxidative stress, which causes aging on a cellular level. Antioxidants fight the damaging results of free radicals in the body, according to a study. If you're feeling overwhelmed, try sipping hot water with lemon and ginger to help release the antioxidants into your system and start to combat all that cellular stress and reduce inflammation.

One study found that the compound gingerol promotes longevity and could extend lifespan. The study found "lifespan extending" properties of ginger," mostly by fighting off diseases and slowing the aging process itself.

Yet another study suggests that gingerol " has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties for controlling the process of aging" by fighting a variety of diseases, including cancer. The study states: "The anticancer potential of ginger is well documented and its functional ingredients like gingerols, shogaol, and paradols are the valuable ingredients which can prevent various cancers."

5. Ginger contains compounds which may prevent cancer

Ginger may reduce "tumorigenic risk factors," according to several studies. In addition, ginger supplements may help alleviate the side-effects of chemotherapy such as nausea, cramps or pain, according to a study. For best use, studies recommend taking a supplement but always consult your doctor before deciding this or any course of treatment for cancer or side effects.

"The active compound of ginger has proven its role in cancer management" according to yet another study, through its tumor suppressor genes, and its ability to cut off blood supply to tumors which in turn diminishes their ability to grow."

The powerhouse compound in ginger, gingerol, contains "anti-tumorigenic activities," and may be effective in controlling the ability of certain cancers to grow: Colorectal, gastric, ovarian, liver, skin, breast, and prostate cancers, according to another study.

While you should always follow your doctor's advice for treatment, adding ginger to your smoothie or sipping it in a juice may help alleviate inflammation and add natural strength to other therapies you are taking.

6. Ginger can help reverse osteoarthritis and reduce joint pain

Ginger is an anti-inflammatory that helps to reduce pain related to arthritis. If you're experiencing joint pain, back pain, or have osteoarthritis, ginger may be a natural way to reduce swelling which will take pressure off the nerves and lower your pain. calm the nerves.

One study assessed the clinical efficacy and safety of oral ginger for treatments of osteoarthritis. The participants who consumed ginger found "a statistically significant pain reduction," compared with those who didn't get the ginger supplement.

In another study, an herbal formulation that included ginger, turmeric, and black pepper was measured for effectiveness versus Naproxen, an anti-inflammatory drug sold as Aleve . Sixty patients with knee osteoarthritis were studied. Individuals were randomly assigned to receive daily turmeric extract, ginger, and black pepper together or Naproxen capsule for 4 weeks. The findings discovered that both groups significantly reduced knee pain, however, there were no significant differences between groups, meaning that ginger, turmeric and black pepper did just as well to reduce swelling and pain as the over-the-counter pain killer.

7. Ginger is proven to have lower blood sugar levels and help reverse diabetes

Ginger supplements have been shown to reduce the level of fasting blood sugars, whiich has implications for weight loss and diabetes or pre-diabetes. In a study,  41 subjects with type 2 diabetes were assigned to take ginger or placebo for 12 weeks. Results found that "ginger supplementation significantly reduced the levels of fasting blood sugar and A1c, which is a significant measure of how well insulin is working to help regular blood sugar and keep your body healthy. "It seems that oral administration of ginger powder supplement can improve fasting blood sugar, hemoglobin A1c... in type 2 diabetic patients," the study found.

Here Are 5 of Our Favorite Recipes Containing Ginger:

Why We Love It: Porridge is a healthy and quick option for breakfast. Oats are nourishing, and when you mix it with fruit, plant-based milk, and spices this is a breakfast bowl with protein, minerals, vitamins, and enzymes.

Why we love it: Potstickers are an easy and fun recipe to make, you can use almost any time of vegetable for this dish. This recipe, in particular, is full of flavor and has an Asian twist that tastes incredible. The dumpling wrap is small and thin, so this recipe is extremely low in calories and sugar.

Why we love it: This dish is it’s high in protein, super filling, and you can make it in advance! If you aren't a fan of tofu you can use tempeh, chickpeas, or meatless chicken strips. A lot of the flavor of this dish will come from the Spicy Sesame Ginger sauce, which is as simple to make as combining everything in one bowl and mixing.

Why we love it: This immunity-boosting juice is quick and easy to make, requires just 10 minutes, a cutting board, and a blender. Don't let your produce go bad, you can store this mix in your fridge for up to 3 days and re-blend it for��the next time you need to feel refreshed and energized.

Why we love it: Chana Masala is a classic Indian dish that just so happens to be vegan! You’ll see a lot of curries usually contain coconut milk, which gives the curry a creamy texture. However, chana masala doesn’t use any coconut milk, which gives the dish more of a stew-like consistency. If you are trying to cut down on fat but still want to enjoy a nice curry, this recipe is perfect for you.

Other plant-based foods to add to help boost your health naturally on a daily basis

At The Beet, we're always uncovering plant-based foods that have health benefits and are emerging foods to support a healthy heart, strong immune system, due to their high levels of essential vitamins, and nutrients.

Drinking hot water with lemon in the morning is beneficial for digestive health and immunity, and even helps spark weight loss. New research shows that this habit can help flush out the digestive system, jumpstart metabolism, and give your body a dose of immunity-boosting vitamin C first thing in the morning.

Previously, we spotlighted soursop, a tropical fruit that helps people get better sleep, lower inflammation, fight infection and has the potential to one day treat cancer cells, according to emerging studies.

Sea buckthorn, a berry native to central Asia and Europe that boosts immunity, clears skin, and fights cancer according to serval studies. If you have a food that you're curious to know more about, contact us and we will break down the health benefits.