Finding the best method to supplement your health through your diet can be difficult with all the options available nowadays. Countless tips and tricks are being peddled that laud countless products as "the tool you need." However, figuring out which of these products, plants, or spices is best for your specific needs requires a degree of understanding that these tips and tricks might not be providing.
There are all kinds of highly beneficial products as additions to any diet, though some seem to have more benefits than others. Some of the most popular options for nutritional supplementation are ginger, cayenne, and turmeric. However, the real trick is figuring out which is the best choice for enhancing your health. With this article, we hope to provide some guidance on the benefits of each of them so you can better understand which to use.
The Benefits of Ginger
Originating in Southeast Asia, ginger is a common sight in many kitchens. It is used as a spice, a palette cleanser, and a nutritional supplement. As a member of the Zingiberaceaefamily, it is a close relative of turmeric.
With all of the practical uses the ginger root enjoys in cooking and nutrition, the biggest question is what kinds of health benefits it offers. In reality, ginger is more than just a tasty accouterment to a meal but comes with a handful of beneficial traits that improve your overall health.
Ginger can become a beneficial addition to your diet because of the gingerol within. Gingerol is the main bioactive ingredient in ginger and is a potent anti-inflammatory with antioxidant traits. However, gingerol's exact benefits are a little more extensive than simply reducing inflammation.
One significant benefit of gingerol is that it has proven effects combatting nausea. There have even been studies conducted that found that gingerol helps treat nausea induced by chemotherapy. However, gingerol's most effective anti-nausea use is going up against nausea induced by morning sickness in pregnant women. A series of studies found that anywhere between 1.1 to 1.5 grams of ginger can significantly reduce the nausea pregnant women feel from morning sickness.
Nausea is a common enough issue that finding a way to combat it is always a welcome discovery. This benefit is doubly true for pregnant women suffering from morning sickness, but care must be taken as consumption of ginger too close to delivery can be detrimental.
Another benefit of gingerol is its use in helping to treat indigestion, which can be a terrible experience all around. Indigestion is generally associated with a delay in your stomach emptying itself from everything we have consumed in a day. Fortunately, gingerol has been found to speed up this process and skirt indigestion before it can become an issue.
According to a study, subjects who were given soup with ginger in it saw their stomachs empty in less than 13 minutes, whereas those without the ginger took 16 minutes. However, indigestion is far from the most beneficial effect ginger offers, and certain traits provide greater health options.
A prime example of ginger's health benefits is that it can serve as an effective cholesterol regulator. In 2018, a study was conducted on 60 individuals with hyperlipidemia, an abundance of LDL. 30 of the subjects were given 5 grams of ginger-pasted powder every day for three months. After the three months, those 30 subjects saw a 17.4% drop in their LDL levels. With ginger showing promise as a cholesterol regulator, it is on the rise to be one of the more popular nutritional supplements we use in our everyday lives. However, the remaining question is how ginger stacks up against the other two products we mentioned; cayenne and turmeric.
The Benefits of Cayenne
Cayenne peppers are interesting in that they are from the nightshade family and are closely related to tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplant. The main difference these peppers have from their cousins is their spicy tang, making them a beloved ingredient in cuisine focused on adding a little kick. This spicy flavor is a result of a compound called capsaicin. However, it might interest you to know that capsaicin is more than just an excellent chemical to add a little flair to your dinner but can also benefit your health. While the benefits capsaicin has to offer are not quite as plentiful as those found in turmeric and ginger, they are worth noting.
To start, there has been research leading to the development of supplements and topical products using capsaicin that can provide many beneficial effects. For one thing, capsaicin has been found to offer pain relief. It might seem odd to think of something spicy mitigating pain rather than inducing it, but the fact is that capsaicin can do just that. This effect has led to the creation of topical creams and patches using capsaicin as the primary active ingredient to maximize this pain-relieving effect. These products have been recommended for use when dealing with muscle sprains, post-surgical soreness, and even pain from more severe issues like osteoarthritis.
In addition to capsaicin, cayenne peppers have been studied for any general health effects they might possess with a fair degree of success. Cayenne peppers are also packed with other beneficial compounds like flavonoids, carotenoids, and vitamin C, which are highly beneficial to one's overall health.
These compounds allow the body to protect itself against oxidative stress and grant your body a greater opportunity to recover and bolster your overall health as a result. Research has supported the pepper's efficacy at combating oxidative stress and even as an anti-inflammatory. For example, in 2019, a study in Italy found that 22,811 adults with a regular intake of chili peppers had reduced rates of developing heart disease.
While cayenne pepper does have effects that can be highly beneficial, they are fewer and farther between than those found in ginger. Even still, ginger is a less effective supplement than our final candidate, turmeric.
The Benefits of Turmeric
Turmeric is a common ingredient in the kitchen, in the creation of dyed fibers, and as a nutritional and health supplement. However, it is important to note that turmeric itself is not what makes it a valuable addition to your overall bodily health. Instead, the benefit of turmeric can almost always be attributed to a compound called curcumin found within turmeric.
Curcumin is the source of all the beneficial traits turmeric has to offer the human body and is what you should be maximizing in your diet. Unfortunately, the benefits of curcumin are inhibited by its low bioavailability, which makes it much harder for the human body to absorb. However, some methods can boost its bioavailability and make it far more viable than it would otherwise be.
As for how the boosted curcumin is of benefit to your body, there are many helpful effects that curcumin has to offer. To start, curcumin provides a much more effective anti-inflammatory effect than you would enjoy from the cayenne pepper we had previously discussed. Curcumin is a highly potent natural anti-inflammatory that affects most of your body and can provide natural countereffects for serious conditions.
One such condition curcumin can fight off is arthritis. In most arthritis cases, the symptoms result from inflammation in the joints that leads to more telltale symptoms. However, with a potent anti-inflammatory, the symptoms can be mitigated to a degree and made much more tolerable. For example, one study of patients with rheumatoid arthritis showed that the subjects given curcumin saw better relief than those on standard anti-inflammatory drugs.
Another condition that curcumin has the potential to fight off is heart disease. In some cases, heart disease arises from inflammation, making an anti-inflammatory like curcumin a potent weapon against it. However, there is also more concrete support for curcumin's effect against heart disease that proves its benefit. There has been a confirmed correlation between the intake of curcumin leading to improved function of the endothelium, which is the lining of our blood vessels.
Dysfunction of the endothelium has been a primary component of heart disease for some time. It results in your body being unable to regulate blood pressure effectively and leading to cardiovascular issues. Studies that were conducted found that curcumin improves overall heart health. One specific study on a group of 121 patients going through bypass surgery found that the patients given curcumin saw a 65% decreased risk of suffering a heart attack.
These benefits are only a few examples of how curcumin can be an effective supplement to improve your overall health. However, now we come to the question of which of these supplementary products is the most reliable. However, there is also the question of whether or not they can be used in tandem.
Using All Three?
One of the most significant common factors between ginger, cayenne peppers, and turmeric is that they are all edible and can be used as spices in your everyday culinary needs. This, of course, brings to the table the question of whether or not all three of them can be mixed together to compound their effects and maximize your health improvements.
The simplest answer is that all three spices can be used together with minimal issue, but whether or not they compound each other's effects is an unproven concept. Furthermore, to make use of all three, you would need to rely on third-party recipes for tonic shots and lemonades, which rarely consider details like curcumin's low bioavailability or your personal capacity for spicy food and beverages.
The most significant disadvantage this has to offer is that you rely on the raw ingredients to make these tonics rather than using specialized supplements that maximize the effects of the individual spices. So, while using all three is an option, there is little evidence to suggest they cooperate in a way that makes doing so more viable than committing to a single option.
A more significant study is necessary to determine whether these spices can accentuate their effects when taken in conjunction. For example, turmeric's low bioavailability can be boosted by taking it in conjunction with black pepper. It's possible that ginger or cayenne could find similar benefits when taken together, with turmeric, with black pepper, or all of the above. Unfortunately, there's too little information available to determine one way or another. Some studies are being conducted, but no results have yet been published, so only time will tell.
Additionally, if you happen to have an allergy to one of them while the other two can safely be consumed, it makes determining which ones are safe for you a more challenging endeavor. To that end, you should always check for an allergy with your physician before introducing any new substance into your everyday diet. Finally, the lack of evidence supporting the concurrent use of all three substances leads us back to our initial question of which of these three will best suit your nutritional needs.
Which is the Best?
So, we now come to our ultimate question; whether ginger, cayenne pepper, or turmeric is the superior supplement. The reality is that the answer will ultimately depend on you. The variance of biology ensures that something that works for one part of the population might not always be effective for others.
From an objective viewpoint without accounting for this variance, the best recommendation lies with turmeric. The curcumin within has more potential benefits than either ginger or cayenne pepper, with more adaptive options for intake. However, we recommend that you stick to supplement capsules designed to maximize the effects and overcome the bioavailability issues curcumin is known to have.
However, the best supplement for you will always change depending on who you are. As always, we urge you to consult with your primary care physician before taking any new supplement to make sure you are doing what is best for your health. So, please, enjoy the safest and happiest path to the Nu you.