By improving circulation ginger has an overall thermogenic effect on the body – it increases body temperature – or, as it is known in the traditional Ayurveda medicine, it lights up the digestive ‘fire’, which in more scientific terms means stimulating metabolism and helping your body utilize stored fat more efficiently.
Ginger improves digestion of the food you eat by enhancing production of digestive juices in the stomach and production of bile in the liver. This means that nutrients from the food are broken down faster which helps them to be more readily and more fully assimilated by your body. As a result, you get more nourishment from the same amount of food, so you won’t need as much to feel full and satisfied. In short, ginger helps you eat less naturally, without having to exercise control or willpower, forcefully limiting your consumption. It also helps you feel fuller for longer. Studies have shown that improved digestion and increased metabolism from taking ginger can help you stay fuller for longer, so you may end up eating less during your day without even noticing it!
So go ahead and add fresh or powdered ginger to the many recipes you already know and love, and include ginger tea in your daily routine, maybe even replacing one or more of your usual cappuccinos with it. Just remember that if you are taking your ginger tea after a meal it is better to make it with less water – drinking too much water after a meal dilutes the digestive juices in the stomach and instead of promoting good digestion your tea might actually have an opposite effect. If you really enjoy ginger’s zestiness, you can even go for a ginger ‘espresso’ – a small cup of strong, concentrated ginger tea made with freshly grated ginger and only a little bit of hot water. Start with less ginger and increase concentration gradually to get used to the spiciness. You can also sweeten your healthy herbal ‘espresso’ with a bit of stevia or honey.
As a flavorsome herb ginger can also help you eat more of the healthier foods – it will spice up any boring salad and add a zing to your freshly squeezed vegetable juice or smoothie. Try starting your day with a glass of fresh ginger and carrot juice and you might soon grow to love it more than your usual coffee and pastry breakfast.
Ginger combines very well with even the simplest exercise program – its invigorating flavor will boost your energy levels, helping you stay more active and automatically allowing you to go on for longer, burning up more calories in the process. This is why ginger water is a great companion for a trip to the gym, a yoga class or even for just a brisk walk in a park.