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The Benefits of Ginger for Cancer Treatment and Recovery

Updated: Aug 13, 2023

Fresh ginger root on a chopping board alongside lemon

As you navigate the complexities of cancer treatment, you may be actively seeking ways to enhance your well-being and optimise your recovery. In this article, we will explore the reasons why dietary ginger might be considered supportive during cancer treatment and recovery and provide practical tips for easily including ginger in your meals and snacks.

Discover the Benefits of Ginger

Relief from Nausea and Vomiting: Ginger contains compounds that may be effective in reducing nausea and vomiting in a variety of settings. Some studies have found ginger can help to reduce chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting when used alongside standard anti-sickness medications. If you are experiencing nausea and vomiting during cancer treatment, it may be worth considering incorporating ginger into your diet to see if it provides relief for you.

Anti-Inflammatory Properties: Chronic inflammation has been associated with an increased risk of cancer, as supported by a significant body of scientific research. Ginger contains natural compounds called gingerols, which have demonstrated anti-inflammatory properties in laboratory studies and preclinical research. Preliminary studies have also suggested that ginger's anti-inflammatory properties may play a beneficial role in pain relief, such as knee pain associated with osteoarthritis. While it is important to note that more research is needed to fully understand how ginger specifically impacts cancer-related inflammation, enjoying ginger in the diet may hold promise as a supportive measure worth considering for its potential benefits.

Antioxidant Effects: Ginger contains bioactive compounds, including antioxidants such as gingerols and shogaols, known for their antioxidant properties. These antioxidants work to neutralise free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can cause cellular damage. Although more research, including human trials, is required, the antioxidant properties of ginger show potential in supporting overall health during cancer treatment and recovery.

Potential Anti-Cancer Properties: Laboratory and animal studies have suggested the possibility that ginger, and its bioactive compounds may possess anti-cancer properties. For example, in test tube studies, ginger extracts have shown potential anti-cancer effects against specific cancer cell lines. However, it is important to note that these findings are preliminary and further research is needed to understand the specific mechanisms and potential benefits in humans. Scientists and researchers are actively investigating the various bioactive compounds present in ginger, their mechanisms of action, and their potential effects on cancer cells.

While ginger is generally safe and well-tolerated as a food, it is important to be aware of certain considerations and factors associated with its consumption. Here are a few points to keep in mind:

- Digestive Discomfort: In some cases, consuming large amounts of ginger may lead to digestive issues such as heartburn, stomach discomfort, or loose stools. It is recommended to start with small amounts and gradually increase to assess your tolerance. Listen to your body.

- Interactions with Medications: While consuming ginger in moderate amounts as part of a normal balanced diet is generally considered safe, it is important to consult with your healthcare team before incorporating any dietary supplements, including ginger. This ensures that there are no potential interactions with your treatment or medications.

- Allergies: If you have known allergies to other spices or plants, it's advisable to exercise caution when trying ginger for the first time and monitor for any adverse reactions.

Here Are 10 Easy Ways To Include Ginger in Your Diet:

1. Fresh ginger tea: Steep sliced or grated fresh ginger in hot water for 5-10 minutes to make a soothing and aromatic ginger tea. You can add a squeeze of lemon if desired.

2. Smoothies: Add a small piece of peeled ginger root to your favourite smoothie recipe. It pairs well with fruits like pineapple or orange and adds a subtle spicy kick.

3. Stir-fries and sautés: Grate or finely chop fresh ginger and add it to stir-fried vegetables, lean proteins, or sautéed dishes. It adds a unique flavour and can help enhance the taste of the dish.

4. Ginger-infused water: Slice fresh ginger and add it to a jug of water. Let it infuse for a few hours in the refrigerator, and you'll have a refreshing ginger-infused water to sip on throughout the day!

5. Dressings and marinades: Blend or finely mince ginger with other ingredients like olive oil, garlic, soy sauce, and vinegar to create flavourful dressings or marinades for salads, roasted vegetables, or meats.

Homemade dressing to pour over salad

6. Soups and stews: Add grated or chopped ginger to homemade soups, broths, or stews to enhance the flavour. It works particularly well in Asian-inspired recipes like miso soup or vegetable curry.

7. Rice or quinoa: Add grated or minced ginger to rice or quinoa whole cooking. The ginger will infuse its flavour into the grains, giving them a delightful and aromatic twist.

8. In yoghurt or cottage cheese: Stir grated ginger into plain yoghurt or cottage cheese for a tangy and spicy twist.

9. Ginger-infused jelly: Add ginger to your homemade jelly by adding grated ginger into the jelly mixture before it sets. Simply grate fresh ginger into the liquid jelly mixture while it is still warm. Allow the jelly to cool and set as usual.

10. Ginger-spiced porridge: Grate or finely chop fresh ginger and sprinkle it into your cooked porridge. Stir well to distribute the ginger throughout the porridge.

Bowl of porridge with oranges kiwi and cashew nuts

Including dietary ginger in the diet of people going through or recovering from cancer treatment holds promise for various potential benefits, including relief from nausea and vomiting, anti-inflammatory properties, antioxidant effects, and potential anti-cancer properties. By gradually incorporating a small amount of ginger into your meals through a range of easy and enjoyable methods, you can explore the potential advantages it may offer while being mindful of your body's unique response. It is recommended to consult with your healthcare team before making any significant dietary changes to ensure the approach aligns with your individual needs and treatment plan.

Ginger benefits for cancer patients 

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