Metabolism is the complex process by which the body transforms food to fuel, and it greatly influences how efficiently and quickly calories are burned. Ginger is well recognized for its thermogenic qualities, meaning that it tends to slightly increase body temperature as it's being digested, according to вЂњReader's Digest.вЂќ This property may hold the key to unlocking the metabolic benefits of ginger, though research on the subject is sparse and inconclusive. Although there are no definitive results that connect ginger with an increased metabolic rate, the rhizome is a versatile spice with other verified benefits.
Ginger and Metabolism
A recent pilot study, reported in 2012 in the journal вЂњMetabolism,вЂќ explored claims that consuming ginger impacts not only energy expenditure but also appetite, with the possibility of reducing the risk of health problems in a group of overweight men. The researchers found that participants who consumed ginger displayed greater levels of thermogenesis -- the warming effect of energy produced by metabolizing food in the body -- and reported lower levels of hunger. While calling for further scientific studies on the topic, the researchers cautiously concluded that ginger could prove to be a helpful tool in managing and losing weight.
There are many ways to increase your intake of ginger. According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), ginger is available in root form, both fresh and dried, along with tablets, capsules and liquid extracts. When possible, it's best to reach for fresh ginger root that can be sliced and then incorporated into cooking and even drinks. Though consuming ginger typically has very few side effects, the NCCAM advises that powdered ginger is sometimes associated with heartburn, bloating and nausea. The вЂњDr. Oz ShowвЂќ recommends steeping fresh slices of ginger with green tea to jump-start metabolism and help the body better process carbohydrates.
Other Health Benefits
The most-studied health benefit of ginger is its antinausea properties. Researchers have found that ginger supplements are even helpful in reducing or eliminating the brutal nausea brought on by chemotherapy treatments, according to Brent A. Bauer, M.D., of the Mayo Clinic. Registered dietitian Joy Bauer also told вЂњFitness MagazineвЂќ that ginger has anti-inflammatory properties. In this way, ginger may indirectly impact metabolism by helping you reduce muscle soreness and get back to working out, since exercise is the sure-fire way to rev up fat-burning processes in the body. A 2006 study published in вЂњToxicology Mechanisms and MethodsвЂќ examined the effects of ginger on lab-induced colorectal cancer in rats, and found that the supplement minimized the risk of cancer through its antioxidant and cholesterol-fighting properties.
Although considered a generally safe supplement, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns against consuming large amounts of ginger. The FDA notes that the possibility of adverse reactions increases with higher ginger doses. According to Drugs.com, clinical trials testing the effects of ginger have utilized amounts ranging from 250 mg to 1 g, with doses repeated up to three or four times daily.