Ginger & Diabetes: What You Should Know Before You Spice Things Up

fresh ginger root and spiceMany people with diabetes incorporate alternative supplements as part of their nutritional intake and health-seeking lifestyle. Historically ginger was used as a home remedy to treat stomach aches, diarrhea, and nausea. Today many people use ginger as a dietary supplement for nausea associated with motion sickness or chemotherapy; rheumatoid arthritis; and osteoarthritis. There is clinical evidence that suggests ginger has beneficial effects against metabolic syndrome – a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes. However, before you start swallowing capsules filled with ginger you should know exactly what you are getting into.

What is ginger?

Ginger is a tropical plant that has a fragrant underground stem called a rhizome – the ginger root. It is widely used as a flavoring in foods, beverages, soaps, and cosmetics.

Does it work?

“Research has shown that the benefits of ginger reach far beyond a home remedy for nausea,” says Robin Foroutan, MS, RDN, Integrative Dietitian and Spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.Eating ginger improved insulin sensitivity and blood sugar balance, plus improved blood pressure and endothelial [the layer of cells that line blood vessels] function in people with type 2 diabetes,” Evidence shows eating ginger can increase thermogenesis (metabolism) and reduce hunger. “Supplementing with ginger extract was also found to be beneficial for weight loss, hip circumference and reduced hunger in overweight and obese adult participants,” says Foroutan.

What are the sources of ginger?

Common forms of ginger include the fresh or dried root, tablets, liquid extracts, and teas. “Ginger is also available as a powder for culinary use, and in capsules for those seeking a concentrated dose,” says Foroutan.