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Is Ginger Bad for Diabetics?

By Nicki Wolf ; Updated August 14, 2017

Raw ginger flavors many dishes, and you also find it pickled accompanying sushi. Ginger is a good option for people living with diabetes; it is low on the glycemic index -- it has a score of zero -- so eating it will not trigger a spike in your blood sugar. It provides other benefits to diabetics as well. Never take ginger to treat your disease or any complications associated with it until you consult your healthcare provider.

Brain Protection

High blood sugar levels may cause neuron damage in those with diabetes, but consuming ginger might mitigate that effect. A study on diabetic rats published in the April 2011 issue of "Food and Chemical Toxicology" indicates that ginger boosts antioxidants in the brain and maintains normal levels of malondialdehyde, a compound formed by fat metabolism. Researachers theorize that ginger may prove useful in preventing complications if you have diabetes, although human research is needed to confirm these findings.

Eye Protection

One complication of diabetes includes the development of cataracts, although ginger may help prevent this. Research available in the August 2010 edition of "Molecular Vision" notes that ginger fed to diabetic rats arrested the production of compounds that contribute to cataracts, which can delay the formation of this vision problem as well as slow its progression. While more research is needed to make sure this benefit of ginger correlates to humans, researchers believe that ginger's cataract-preventing actions should be explored as a potential therapy for diabetic cataracts.

Sexual Benefits

Diabetics suffering from sexual impotence may find adding ginger to their diet useful. Evidence featured in the October 2010 journal "Food and Chemical Toxicology" correlates the consumption of ginger with improved sperm quality and sexual organ health. Male rats with diabetes exhibited testicular lesions and sperm degeneration, but rats that consumed ginger demonstrated increased sperm motility and sperm count, as well as fewer lesions and increased weight of sexual organs. Research on humans must be performed to confirm the findings of this study.

Potassium Intake Benefits

Ginger provides a small amount of potassium, with 100 mg per 1/4-cup serving. Ginger is important for diabetics as well as those at risk of diabetes. A study in the November 2008 issue of "Hypertension" indicates that a drop in potassium intake may increase your risk of developing certain types of diabetes, so eating ginger may have a protective benefit. Since people with diabetes are at higher risk of stroke, getting the right amount of potassium in the diet is critical -- it may help prevent strokes. Adults require 2,000 mg of potassium each day.

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