We’ve all heard of superfoods you should be eating, like blueberries, salmon, and kale. These superfoods are said to contain high levels of essential nutrients, antioxidants, and substances that can shield our bodies from disease. Meanwhile ginger, a spice used largely in Asian cuisine, has multiple health benefits and is often overlooked.

Ginger has a long history of being used to treat nausea, digestive problems and pain. It also has several additional benefits that will convince you that you need to add ginger to your medicine cabinet.

1. Ginger can treat many forms of nausea


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According to University of Maryland Medical center, many health care professionals recommend ginger to help prevent or treat nausea or vomiting. Try ginger candies or chews the next time you’re feeling queasy.

2. Ginger may also reduce muscle pain and soreness


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Ginger has also been known to help reduce muscle pain and soreness. In a study published by the Journal of Pain in September scientists recruited 74 adults and had them do exercises to induce muscle pain and soreness. Over the course of 11 days, the subjects either consumed 2 grams of ginger or a placebo. The test subjects who consumed ginger experienced roughly 25 percent reduction in pain 24 hours after their workout.

3. Ginger has anti-inflammatory effects


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Ginger has been used for centuries to reduce inflammation and treat inflammatory conditions. According to a study published in Cancer Prevention Research journal, a ginger supplement administered to participants reduce inflammation markers within a month.

4. Ginger can also lower blood sugar and improve heart risk factors


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According to an article on Prevention.com, ginger can help lower blood sugar. Researchers aren’t exactly sure how ginger lowers blood sugar, however, it may be that it inhibits an enzyme which breaks down glucose. This is especially helpful for people with type 2 diabetes as they often struggle to maintain a stable blood sugar level.

5. Ginger can also aid in digestion


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Ginger aids in digestion by toning muscles and stimulating the breakdown of food particles according to the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. In doing so, ginger assists the transport of food and other particles out of the intestine.

6. It can also significantly reduce menstrual pains


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Cramps are a common symptom of menstruation. Ginger is effective in relieving inflammation and has been known to help relieve the pain that comes with menstrual cramps according to this article on Livestrong.

7. Ginger also contains gingerol, a substance in ginger may prevent cancer


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The University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center found that ginger can destroy ovarian cancer cells. In multiple ovarian cancer cell lines the researchers found that a ginger induced cell death at a better or similar rate than the chemotherapy drugs typically used to treat cancer.

8. Ginger can also help fight infections


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According to the University of Maryland Health Center, the active volatile oils and pungent phenol compounds like gingerol and shogaols are responsible for ginger’s powerful benefits. Tea made from ginger is useful for fighting infections as it contains high levels of vitamin C, calcium, zinc, sodium, and phosphorous.