According to the CDC, there were over 52 million adults in the United States who were suffering from some form of arthritis as of 2014. Although the condition can manifest in younger individuals, it is a quite common to find people suffering from arthritis as they age. Although it might seem like they have little in common at first glance, more people should consider the benefits of pairing ginger and arthritis.
What Is Arthritis?
There are over 100 different types of arthritis. Usually when people talk about having chronic joint pain or a joint disease, they are referring to arthritis. The most common type is osteoarthritis, which is a degenerative form where the cartilage on the ends of the bones wears away, causing stiffness and swelling. Although the pain and stiffness can make it so people don’t want to move, finding a good balance of activity, rest, and medication can help keep the disease from spreading quickly and limiting mobility. Some ways to fight arthritis include:
Being regularly active
Maintaining healthy weight
Strengthening joint muscles
Using hot and cold treatments
Taking pain relievers or anti-inflammatory medications
How Does Ginger Fight Arthritis?
Ginger is an herb that comes in the form of a tuber similar to a carrot. It grows in the ground as part of the zingiber plant, and it is the root that people are usually interested in consuming. Traditionally, ginger and its hundreds of chemically active ingredients have often been used to fight nausea. However, the root has also been shown in a few different studies to have some anti-inflammatory benefits, especially in individuals who suffer from arthritis. In a study in the UK where half the participants were given daily doses of ginger and half were given a placebo, those who took the ginger experienced less pain. It is possible for ginger consumption to be a viable alternative to taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). There are several different ways to use ginger to fight arthritis.
1. Eat It Raw
If you really want to enjoy the anti-inflammatory benefits of ginger at their best, then you are probably better off just eating the rhizome raw. There’s really no trick to this. Just wash off the root and you can start eating it like a carrot. You can also slice it into bite-sized pieces. In addition to being well known for its anti-inflammatory properties, ginger is also used to fight nausea. In both cases, eating some raw is likely to be the best way to consume the root.
2. Grate It
There are many reasons why you might want to try grating your ginger. It can be easily used in a variety of recipes this way. The frustration that many people experience, however, is that fibers of the root tend to get stuck in the grater, making the process quite difficult. If you plan on grating your ginger root, place it in the freezer well before hand. This will help it to grate easier and prevent much of it from getting stuck in the grater. You can then use the shavings in various recipes, or you can eat it raw, if you prefer.
3. Boil It
Ginger tea is commonly used by people to get their daily dose of the rhizome. Making the tea is fairly simple. You can boil the water first and then steep the tuber in the water for the desired amount of time, or you can boil the root in the water. The longer you steep the root, the stronger the tea becomes. Many people find that a 10-minute steep is just long enough. Boiling for an hour creates a strong tea, but loses some of the fresh flavor. You can also add other ingredients to play with the flavor, such as mint. However, it is important to keep in mind that boiling ginger root may take away some of its beneficial anti-inflammatory properties. While the tea might be a good solution for fighting an upset stomach, the desired results for arthritis might be diminished.
4. Juice It
If you have a juicer, then you can juice ginger directly. You can still juice it even without a fancy juicing machine. Just grate it up and squeeze the peelings over a cup or pot. To avoid having small pieces of the ginger floating in the juice, try squeezing the peelings through a couple of layers of cheesecloth. You can drink the juice as it is, add it to food for flavor, or even use it to make a strong tea.
5. Eat the Candy
There are several different companies that make ginger candy. This combines ginger with sugar to help you get your ginger fix. While this can technically be used to help fight arthritic inflammation, many people argue that the sugar in the candy counteracts the benefits of the ginger. Sugar is actually pro-inflammation, so there is a possibility that it could make swelling even worse. Although it has ginger in it, people with arthritis should be careful about the types of candy they decide to consume. Where possible, try to get completely natural candy. Sugar-free varieties are likely to be better for arthritis.
6. Take a Pill
If the taste of ginger does not appeal to you or you are short on time, then you can find ginger root encapsulated. This makes it simple and quick to get a very specific dose of the rhizome every day. You can find straight ginger pills in varying strengths, and you can also find combinations with other ingredients such as turmeric.
It is fairly easy to add ginger into a daily routine. Those who are concerned about price may be able to find affordable options at Asian markets. While the root is not a cure for arthritis, there’s no doubt that ginger may help with the pain and inflammation associated with flare ups. Find the method that works best for you and enjoy your daily rhizome.