An anti obesity spice? Ginger, as emerges from a very recent scientific research published in the British Journal of Nutrition by a Brazilian team (Luciano et al, BJN, Dec 2020).
Obesity is connected to various conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension, heart problems and arteriosclerosis. Not only that, obesity causes an increase in the levels of chronic inflammation and oxidative stress, which, in the long run, can weaken the immune system and also cause damage to the liver. In addition to following a varied and balanced diet and practicing moderate physical activity, another way to combat obesity can be to use spices, such as ginger, in any case without exaggerating. In fact, ginger has an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action. Moreover, it has been argued that ginger can act by increasing the activity of the enzyme lipase, responsible for lipolysis, namely the action by which the fat ingested or accumulated in adipose tissue is decomposed. However, ginger's anti-obesity mechanism is still not fully understood. To shed more light on the subject, the researchers studied a population of rats and divided it into four groups. The first group was given a standard diet, the second a standard diet and ginger, the third a diet rich in fats and the fourth a diet rich in fats and ginger. What emerged was that ginger is able to counteract the damage of a high-fat diet. In fact, inflammation and free radicals induced by a diet rich in fats have the effect of causing liver damage. Ginger is able to reverse this process. Not only that, the high-fat diet increases insulin resistance, a condition considered the antechamber of diabetes, while ginger increases instead insulin sensitivity. Finally, ginger is able to reduce triglycerides and to counteract the DNA damage caused by free radicals induced by the unbalanced diet.