Are the health benefits of turmeric and ginger as similar as the roots themselves?
Place a ginger root and turmeric root side by side. The resemblance is striking because ginger (Zingiber officianale) and turmeric (Curcuma longa) belong to the same botanical family, the Ginger or Zingiberaceae family.
And while we commonly refer to ginger or turmeric as “roots,” what we really consume are their rhizomes or root stems.
Despite their similar outward appearances, these two spices had distinct nutritional differences. Ginger contains two potent compounds, gingerol, and shogaols.
And as we discussed earlier this week, turmeric gives us curcumin. So while some health benefits of turmeric and ginger are similar, there are also differences.
Top 5 Turmeric Health Benefits
Top 5 Ginger Health Benefits
Top Health Benefits of Turmeric and Ginger: What the Research Says
Let’s look at some recent research showing the similar health benefits of turmeric and ginger.
Extensive research has established the gastrointestinal benefits of turmeric and ginger. Recent studies looked at their impact on the human gut microbiome.
-A 2021 study of healthy adults found that ginger juice improved their gut microbiota composition by increasing its healthy bacteria:
– In 2020, researchers noted that curcumin’s positive impact on gut microbiota might account for its many health benefits.
A 2018 double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled pilot study also revealed that curcumin increases the variety of gut microbiota.
- Reducing Inflammation:
-A 2020 meta-analysis and systematic review of randomized controlled trials looking specifically at ginger’s impact on anti-inflammatory markers. Sixteen studies met their criteria.
After reviewing the papers, the researchers concluded that their findings demonstrated ginger’s significant effect on lowering the circulating levels of:
- C-reactive protein (CRP)
- high-sensitivity C-reactive protein ( hs-CRP)
and tumor necrosis factor (TNF-α).
– Curcumin supplementation in physically active people was the subject of this 2020 systematic review. The researchers concluded from 11 studies meeting their criteria that curcumin can modulate exercise-related inflammation.
- Lowering Metabolic Syndrome
– In 2017, an extensive review of ginger’s impact on metabolic syndrome found it beneficial for people with Metabolic Syndrome.
The 21 studies included correlated curcumin intake with significant decreases in:
- body mass index (BMI)
- waist circumference (WC)
At the same time, the curcumin increased adiponectin, a molecule linked to fatty acid breakdown and glucose regulation.
- Nausea, Vomiting, and Cancer:
Abundant scientific evidence supports ginger as a treatment for nausea and vomiting, but that’s not the case for curcumin. There’s very little research on its anti-emetic properties.
Turmeric, Ginger, and Pain Relief Benefits
A 2020 review of ginger found multiple clinical trials showing its pain-reducing effects on:
- dysmenorrhea (pain in the lower abdominal or pelvic area occurring before or during menstruation).
- exercise-related muscle soreness
- knee osteoarthritis
- chronic lower back pain
Now compare that to turmeric’s performance in relieving against these painful conditions:
-The 2020 review Influence of Curcumin and Ginger in Primary Dysmenorrhea” concluded, “… curcumin extract, which is usually mixed with tamarind and ginger, is very effective in relieving primary menstrual pain.”
- Exercise-related muscle soreness
-A 2020 randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial found that curcumin intake significantly reduced muscle damage and muscle soreness “…without negatively impacting a natural inflammatory response following exercise.”
- Knee osteoarthritis
Several studies have investigated turmeric’s impact on joint pain or knee osteoarthritis.
– A 2021 systematic review looking specifically at osteoarthritis found ten studies supporting turmeric’s pain-reducing effectiveness.
- Chronic lower back pain
I found no recent human studies on turmeric and back pain.
I could go on, but the point is clear. The health benefits of ginger and turmeric are so far-reaching that both deserve a place in a healthy whole-food plant-based diet!