Research suggests that ginger may help reduce arthritis symptoms, including pain from osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.1-3 Scientists are still learning about what gives ginger its anti-inflammatory properties. If you want to take advantage of ginger’s potential, there are many ways to integrate it into your diet.
Ginger’s beneficial properties
Throughout history, ginger has been used to treat nausea, digestive problems, and inflammation.
- Lab studies suggest ginger’s benefits come from several different compounds, including gingerols and shogaols.4 These compounds have both anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties.
- The anti-inflammatory properties seem to help relieve pain and improve joint function in people who have arthritis.1-3
- Compounds in ginger may function as a COX-2 inhibitor, similar to how common arthritis medications work to relieve pain.2,5
An examination of 5 research studies found that people who had osteoarthritis and took ginger had a 30% decrease in pain and a 22% reduction in disability, compared with control groups.6
Ways to add ginger to your diet
Here are a few tips for including ginger in your diet:
- Add freshly grated ginger to stir-fries or other vegetable dishes. To give your dish a spicy, aromatic flavor, let the ginger fry in the oil (perhaps along with freshly chopped garlic) before adding vegetables. Avoid corn, safflower, soy, and peanut oils, which can promote inflammation. Instead, use olive oil or even a chicken or vegetable broth.
- Create a flavorful sauce to add to meals. A ginger sauce can be a delicious addition to a salmon, chicken, or vegetable dish. Double or triple the recipe and store the leftover sauce in your refrigerator for future meals.
- Grate or blend fresh ginger root into soups. Creamy carrot or sweet potato soups lend themselves well to this idea.
- Make ginger tea. Slice ½” to 1” of ginger into thin coins and then let them steep in a mug of boiled water.
- Look for ginger when ordering from a menu. Ginger is a staple of Asian cuisine. Look for it in Thai takeout dishes, such as ginger chicken.
- Add fresh or ground ginger to your smoothies. A tropical smoothie with pineapple and ginger is a great option for breakfast or a snack.
Ginger has a strong, distinctive taste. If you find ginger helps your arthritis symptoms, but you don’t like the taste or can’t integrate sufficient amounts into your diet, consider taking a ginger supplement.
There is conflicting research regarding whether ginger supplementation interferes with blood-thinning medications like warfarin (Coumadin).7,8 Before taking any new supplement, be sure to check with your doctor.