Ginger is a root that has a crisp, pleasantly spicy flavor and also boasts many health benefits. One of these benefits is the ability of ginger to have a positive impact on maintaining a healthy weight—specifically, with losing weight and losing belly fat.
Ginger for Weight Loss – The Studies
According to the ancient practice of Ayurveda, eating and drinking ginger root can help keep your weight under control and research has confirmed this as well.
In a study published in the Journal of the Science and Food of Agriculture in 2014, researchers found that overweight rats who were given gingerol (a compound found in ginger) were able to lose weight after a 30-day supplementation period. The rats also showed improvements to blood sugar levels and leptin levels.1
Leptin is a compound that plays a role in feeling full and satisfied after a meal and I’ve already covered in great detail the importance of leptin for weight loss.
The researchers concluded that ginger supplementation suppresses obesity induced by a high fat diet and it might be a promising adjuvant therapy for the treatment of obesity and its complications.
Another study published the prior year in the European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences showed that ginger supplementation had an equal impact on rat weight loss as a popular weight-loss medication, Orlistat. Additionally, the ginger caused noteworthy improvements to blood cholesterol level, with “good” cholesterol levels (HDL) up from their baseline level.2
With ginger’s power to help you feel full and help you properly digest your food, it’s no wonder that it shows such a strong impact on weight loss.
How Ginger Helps Fighting Belly Fat
Not only can ginger help with weight maintenance in general, it can also keep that pesky belly fat at bay. Ginger can target the main reasons that belly fat accumulates, such as overeating, hormonal changesand low energy leading to lack of exercise.
Ginger helps you to feel full, so eating ginger or drinking ginger water can help curb the urge to overeat. As a natural appetite suppressant, consuming ginger is one of the best ways to aid in the weight loss process. An additional advantage is that ginger is nearly calorie free and can be used fresh, in cooking and brewing in tea.
Hormonal changes and chronic stress can cause spikes in levels of blood cortisol, which throws the immune system and metabolism out of balance. According to an article in the Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin of 2004, ginger suppresses cortisol production.3
Elevated levels of cortisol may contribute to weight gain, especially making it hard to lose belly fat, and I’ve mentioned it in my article on how to reset your hormones to lose weight and in my article on how to lose belly fat without exercise.
Consuming ginger can help bring the internal balance back in tune and promote well-being and weight loss. Ginger’s sharp, distinctive flavor can also help naturally boost your energy levels, both physically and mentally.
Ginger Increases Your Metabolism
A study published in Metabolism in 2012 found that ginger has a thermogenic effect by enhancing the thermic effect of food as well as promoting feelings of satiety.4
Thermogenic food means that it raises the temperature of the body and helps boost metabolism and calorie burning. In the thermogenesis process the body burns calories to utilize foods you have just consumed, converting those calories to heat.
The International Journal of Obesity mentions that consuming foods that have thermogenic effect can potentially be a tool for weight loss and weight maintenance as they may increase energy expenditure, fat oxidation and counteract the decrease in metabolic rate that happens during weight loss.5
The study assessed the effects of consuming a breakfast meal with or without a hot ginger beverage (2 g ginger powder dissolved in a hot water) on energy expenditure, feelings of appetite and satiety in overweight men.
The study found that there was a significant effect of ginger on thermic effect of food, and the participants showed lower hunger, lower food intake and greater fullness with ginger consumption versus the control group. The results suggest a potential role of ginger in weight management.4
How to Use Ginger for Weight Loss
If you want to use the healing powers of ginger to lose weight, here’s what to do.
Before eating, chew on a thin slice of ginger root. This will help in regulating metabolism, stimulating digestion, reducing cortisol production and increasing energy.
You can also grate a small piece of ginger and add a squeeze of lemon juice and a dash of salt, then mix the ingredients. Eating a couple of small pinches of this mixture before you eat each of your meals helps to control appetite and aid digestion.
Make a delicious anti-inflammatory smoothie by adding fresh or dried ginger or add it to green smoothies.
Use ginger as a spice in your cooking whenever you can to increase your ginger intake. Cooking ginger for a short period of up to 6 minutes actually enhances its health benefits (as you can read in my article about the health benefits of cooked and dried ginger). Luckily, ginger has a tasty flavor that doesn’t need to be “masked” in order to reap the rewards the plant has to offer.
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