There’s a long list of anti-inflammatory foods that can help manage inflammation and pain in the body – and ginger may be one of the best. In a new study, ginger was found to be superior to common non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
NSAIDs (and their problems)
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Advil) and aspirin are commonly used to treat mild pain and fever, as well as inflammation such as that resulting from arthritis.
NSAIDs work by inhibiting enzymes that form prostaglandins – which are sort of ‘messenger’ molecules for inflammation. Thus, they reduce the symptoms of conditions with inflammation.
Since NSAIDs are available over the counter, their use is widespread. They are generally safe, but their widespread use has brought many adverse affects to attention, including:
- gastrointestinal irriation
- kidney impairment
- sensitivity to sunlight.
It is also not recommended that pregnant women use NSAIDs.
Why ginger may be better than drugs
Aside from ginger being a whole food and not some chemically derived drug, ginger may have other advantages over NSAIDs in pain and inflammation management.
NSAIDs only treat the symptoms of inflammation by inhibiting the inflammation messangers – prostaglandins. Ginger, however, does two things: It blocks the prostaglandins AND also has antioxidants that help break down inflammation in the joints. Ginger isn’t just a symptomatic treatment; it can help treat the cause of the inflammation.
How you can give ginger a try
Photo credit: Flickr Creative Commons by crystalflickr