Worldwide, GI (Gastrointestinal) cancer is one of the most frequent cancers posing a burden on patients and the healthcare system. One of the best cancer fighting foods is ginger that has many valuable benefits to offer for prevention and reduction of cancerous cells. According to recent research, ginger may help to prevent cancer. It is an anti-oxidant and a natural cancer fighter. Let us explore how ginger can help you to fight cancer.
- Bioactive constituents of ginger
- Different cancer types categorized under GI cancer
- Ginger and Gastric Cancer
- Ginger and Pancreatic Cancer
- Ginger and Liver Cancer
- Ginger and Colorectal Cancer
Bioactive constituents of ginger
- Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a family member of Zingiberaceae.
- Since ancient times, ginger has been commonly used as a spice as well as herbal medicine.
Ginger is highly rich in numerous bioactive constituents such as phenolics, polysaccharides, terpenes, organic acids, raw fibers, and lipids these all together bring it to the list of cancer-fighting foods. However, the health benefits of ginger are mainly associated with its two major phenolic compounds: gingerols and shogaols.
Different types of cancer categorized under GI cancer
GI cancer is the term used for a group of cancers that affect the organs of the digestive system (esophagus, stomach, gallbladder, liver, pancreas, rectum, anus, small and large intestine) as depicted in the following figure:
Ginger and Gastric Cancer
Ginger acts as an antioxidant. It prevents damage to your gastric mucosa (mucous membrane layer of the stomach). 6-gingerol is a constituent which helps to fight cancer by causing cell death of stomach cancer cells. Both 6-gingerol and 6- shogaol present can lower the survival of stomach cancer cells.
Ginger also acts as an antiemetic (prevents nausea and vomiting) for cancer chemotherapy. It is effective in minimizing the GI side effects of conventional cancer therapeutic agents.
For alleviating stomach cancer,
- Zerumbone (a sesquiterpene obtained from subtropical ginger) illustrates the anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor effect.
Ginger and Pancreatic Cancer
This cancer-fighting food with its bioactive constituents acts against cancer of the pancreas.
- Stops the growth of pancreatic cancer cells by interfering the cell cycle
- Can reduce invasion and metastasis of pancreatic cancer cells
Another component of ginger, 6-shogaol has an antitumor effect. It
- Increases apoptosis (programmed cell death) of tumor cells
- Stops growth of tumors in pancreatic cancer
A component of Asian ginger, zerumbone,
- Can interfere with the growth and multiplication of cancerous pancreas through different mechanisms
- Induces cell death of invading tumors of the pancreas
- Blocks growth of blood vessels of pancreatic cancer cells
Ginger and Liver Cancer
The ginger components are very effective against liver cancer. 6-shogaol
- Can induce cell death of cancerous liver cells
- Helps to treat cancer by preventing the formation of free radicals
- Reduces oxidative degradation of lipids
- Stops growth of tumors in the liver
6-gingerol also has a beneficial role in the prevention of the formation of cancer in the liver. It causes cell death of tumor cells in the liver.
The primary constituents of ginger, 6-shogaol, and 6-gingerol can exert an anti-invasive effect against tumor cells of the liver. A study showed that these can effectively retard the invasion and metastasis of cancerous liver cells. In another study, the ginger extract inhibited the formation of cancer in the liver of rats. Zerumbone also has great potential for effective management of hepatic cancers.
Ginger and Colorectal Cancer
Ginger has anticancer activities against colorectal cancer. Ginger supplementation can remarkably lower the risk of colon cancer by its lipid-lowering and antioxidative effects. In a study, 6-gingerol was found to stop the growth of colon cancer.
Cysteine-conjugated shogaols from ginger
- Can cause the death of colon cancer cells through by activating the mitochondrial apoptotic pathway
Hexahydrocurcumin extracted from ginger is
- Cytotoxic to colorectal cancer cells
- Results in apoptosis
Another compound zerumbone
- Can enhance the radiosensitivity of colon cancer cells
For many years, the medicinal properties of ginger have been known. However, many in vitro and in vivo studies further demonstrate that ginger and its bioconstituents are highly potent against a broad range of human disorders including GI cancer making it a good cancer fighting food.
Ginger is beneficial against various GI cancers like pancreatic cancer, liver cancer, gastric cancer, colorectal cancer, and bile duct cancer. However, there is a paucity of evidence of ginger on esophageal, duodenal, anal, GI carcinoid tumor, and pancreatic islet cell cancer.
Ginger and its polyphenols can target multiple signaling molecules. This provides a basis for its use against a wide array of multifactorial human diseases. Moreover, most of the known therapeutic properties of the active constituents of ginger are based only on in vivo and in vitro analysis. There is a paucity of clinical trials evaluating the efficacy of ginger in humans.
Ginger is a safe and cost-effective alternative to other treatments. It is considered ten thousand times more powerful than chemotherapy for cancer management. Thus, there is a need for more extensive and well-controlled human trials to explore the efficacy of ginger as an anticancer agent. Thus, natural health should be the first option in addressing any of your health concerns.
# Always include ginger in your diet to avoid cancer