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02/11/2019 / By Ellaine Castillo
Like its close relative turmeric, ginger is also a very powerful superfood. It has a wide range of health benefits, from treating nausea to alleviating pain. Recently, ginger has also been shown to prevent different types of cancer by causing cancer cells to undergo apoptosis, or cell death.
Numerous studies have looked at the potential use of ginger as a natural treatment for cancer. They found that it could prevent the spread of tumor cells to other parts of the body in different types of cancers, including breast, colon, rectal, liver, lung, prostate, pancreatic, and melanoma. These anticancer properties of ginger are attributed to its ability to trigger mechanisms that activate the pro-apoptosis gene in cancer cells. In addition to this, there are compounds in ginger that can upregulate cancer inhibitors while reducing genes and proteins associated with cancer.
There are more than 100 active compounds found in ginger. These include gingerols, shogaols, zingerones, zerumbones, pungent oleoresins, terpenoids, and flavonoids. In a study published in PLoS, researchers found that a component in ginger called 6-shogaol is superior to conventional chemotherapy since it can target breast cancer stem cells. This type of cells is considered the root of breast cancer because of its “immortal” ability to self-renew, resistance to most chemotherapeutic agents, and capability to differentiate continuously and form new tumor colonies. By targeting these cells, incidences of poor prognosis and tumor relapse can be reduced.
Researchers from King Abdulaziz University in Saudi Arabia also revealed that ginger extracts exhibit selective cytotoxicity. This means that it can prevent the growth of cancer cells while having no side effects on normal cells. Cancer treatments that are currently available, like chemotherapy and radiation, often fail in this aspect.
In another study, this time by researchers from the University of Minnesota, they were able to confirm that ginger prevents cancer through an in vivo experiment involving mice with colorectal cancer and no immune system. After receiving gingerol, the mice experienced a 75 percent reduction in the tumors that they had. Moreover, the tumors that were left were smaller compared to those in mice that did not receive the ginger treatment.
A study from Georgia State University showed that ginger extracts can reduce the size of prostate tumors by more than 55 percent. This is just one of the many studies that show similar conclusions regarding ginger’s anticancer properties, which suggest that ginger prevents cancer by inducing cell suicide. (Related: Ginger tea shown to naturally kill cancer, dissolve kidney stones, improve liver health and more.)
By increasing your intake of ginger-based foods, you can also experience the following health benefits:
All of these studies suggest that ginger has clear and profound health benefits, which you can easily enjoy by eating it fresh, dried, powdered, or in oil or juice form.