Expert-reviewed by Ashwini S.Kanade, Registered Dietician and Certified Diabetes Educator with 17 years of experience
Ginger is an indispensable spice in Indian cuisine. It is also a common ingredient in many home remedies. It originated in the Indian subcontinent and was one of the earliest spices to be exported from the subcontinent to distant parts of Europe. Even today, it remains a widely popular spice across the world.
What does ginger have to offer?
Ginger, or Zingiber officinale, is a flowering plant but what we use is the underground stem, i.e. the rhizome. It has a pungent and sharp aroma and adds a robust spicy flavour to food and drinks. Traditionally, it is known for its medicinal properties and finds use in the treatment of common cold.
But is ginger suitable for people with diabetes?
A 2012 review study confirmed that ginger shows effective glycemic control in diabetes mellitus and improves insulin sensitivity. It also exhibited a protective effect against diabetic complications.(1)
Furthermore, it is worth noting that ginger has a low glycemic index (GI), so low as to be negligible. People with diabetes benefit from low GI foods because these foods release glucose into the blood at a slower rate, preventing unwanted spikes in blood sugar levels.
So how much ginger is too much?
No more than 4 gm per day (just under 1 teaspoon) is the recommended intake for ginger. According to a study of people with type 2 diabetes, participants who took a 1 gm capsule of ground ginger 3 times a day over a period of 8 weeks displayed decreased fasting blood sugar as well as improved HbA1c levels.(2)
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How to use ginger?
Although many dishes in Indian diets use ginger, as a whole or in paste form, its diabetic benefits are reduced as it gets mixed with other ingredients. It is thus advisable for people with diabetes to take ginger separately in capsule form.
Apart from this, the following are a few ways to add ginger to your meals:
- You can cut it in strips and add in stir-fry recipes. It pairs well with broccoli, mushrooms, bean sprouts, and even chicken.
- A ginger lemonade is not only beneficial but also refreshing!
- Add ginger to marinades and dressings to impart a spicy zing. Grated ginger root added to a base of orange juice and sesame oil marinade will give beef, chicken or pork an instant Asian flavour. You can also make a simple, healthy dressing by combining lime juice, walnut oil, garlic and ginger.
Stick to using ginger in its organic, natural form rather than its processed varieties, such as ginger candies or ginger ales. These do not retain any nutritive properties of ginger and may, in fact, be quite unhealthy.
Apart from ginger, here are a few more home remedies for diabetes you can try.
Ginger is traditionally known for its medicinal properties and is a common part of the Indian diet. If you are looking to adjust your diet for diabetes, it is best to not avoid ginger.
- Yiming Li, Van H. Tran, Colin C. Duke, and Basil D. Roufogalis, “Preventive and Protective Properties of Zingiber officinale (Ginger) in Diabetes Mellitus, Diabetic Complications, and Associated Lipid and Other Metabolic Disorders: A Brief Review,” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 2012, Article ID 516870, 10 pages, 2012. https://doi.org/10.1155/2012/516870.
- 1 gram ginger capsules reduce fasting blood sugar and HbA1c in diabetes patients. (2014, January 20). Retrieved from