Ginger is usually used as a cooking ingredient to bring spice for Asian and Indian dishes. It’s also popularly used for medical purposes for centuries. It’s known to relieve nausea, motion sickness, and pain.
Ginger belongs to the Zingiberaceae family, together with turmeric and cardamom. Its root can be consumed raw and in many forms including powder, oil, and juice. It’s usually produced in Indonesia, Australia, and India.
In stores, you can buy ginger in fresh, dried, and oil forms. They’re also available in capsules, lozenges, and tinctures. This spice can be used in several recipes, including gingerbread, ginger ale, and savory dishes.
6 Health Benefits of Ginger
Fruits and vegetables are known to reduce the risk of many diseases. However, some spices, like ginger, may provide extra health benefits. Scientific studies show that ginger may heal and improve health due to its many compounds and metabolites.
Here are some health benefits of ginger that you should know.
Ginger contains phenolic compounds that help alleviate gastrointestinal irritation. The same compounds help stimulate saliva and subdue gastric contractions as food and liquid move through the gastrointestinal tract. With how ginger can increase motility, it suggests that it could reduce the risks of constipation and colon cancer.
Minimize The Feeling of Nausea
During cancer treatment, ginger is known to relieve nausea when chewed or consumed as a ginger tea. You can also take some ginger when feeling the waves of nausea during a long trip. While it may fight motion sickness, it may not keep you from vomiting.
You can also take ginger to relieve nausea during pregnancy. It’s safe and available in candies or lozenges.
Relieves Cold and Flu
Ginger tea, as well as green tea like we discuss here, is known to naturally treat cold and flu symptoms. It keeps you warm and helps you sweat due to its diaphoretic properties. To make a cup of ginger tea, simply steep several slices of fresh ginger on hot water.
For variety, you can put a teaspoon of honey or a slice of lemon on a hot cup of ginger tea. This will add more flavor and more benefits, such as vitamin C.
A study found that people who take ginger daily reduce the feeling of muscle pain caused by exercise. It’s also been found to minimize the severe pain experienced by women during a menstrual cycle known as dysmenorrhea.
For centuries, ginger is used as a remedy against inflammation. It’s said that ginger supplements can help minimize the risk of colorectal cancer. It’s also used to treat inflammation linked to osteoarthritis.
Decreases the Risk of Cardiovascular Diseases
Ginger is also known to lower cholesterol and the risk of blood clotting. It also helps keep your blood sugar levels normal. Although more research is required, ginger could become a good treatment for cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Nutrition: Vitamins and Minerals
In 100 grams of ginger, it contains 79 calories, 0 sugar, and these other nutrients:
- Carbohydrate: 17.86 grams
- Fiber: 3.6 grams
- Protein: 3.57 grams
- Sodium: 14 milligrams
- Iron: 1.15 grams
- Vitamin C: 7.7 milligrams
- Potassium: 33 milligrams
Ginger is also a good source of vitamin B6, magnesium, and phosphorus. Other nutrients offered by ginger are zinc, folate, riboflavin, and niacin.
You can use the fresh and dried forms of ginger to flavor beverages and food. It will add that extra spice without adding extra salt or sugar. Since it’s often used in small amounts, this spice will bring a negligible amount of calories, carbohydrates, and protein to your diet.
Tips on Buying and Using Ginger in Recipes
The gingerols, beta-carotene, and caffeic acid are among the compounds found in ginger that bring anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. When paired with seafood (like when following the Mediterranean Diet), chicken, and pork, they create a pleasant gastric experience. Ginger also goes well with fruits, such as oranges, melon, and apples.
When purchasing ginger, examine the root. Make sure that it’s smooth, taut, and without wrinkles. The aroma should be spicy and not bland.
To keep the ginger fresh longer, wrap it tightly with a plastic bag and store in the refrigerator or freezer. Peel and grate the ginger before using it to any dish for that additional flavor.
Fresh ginger is good to add in smoothies, stir-fry, and salad dressing. It also goes well with any fish recipe. You can make ginger tea by steeping slices of fresh ginger in a hot water.
If you can’t find a fresh ginger around, you can use the dried form of ginger as an alternative. For every one teaspoon of freshly grated ginger required in recipes, use 1/8 of a teaspoon of ground ginger. You can check the herbs and spices section of the grocery store when looking for ground ginger.
Associated Risks of Ginger
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) deems ginger as a safe food additive. Most people experience little to no side effects. Some, who consume a high amount of ginger, experience several side effects, such as diarrhea, mouth irritation, and aggravated acid reflux symptoms.
Ginger in its capsule form may help minimize the risk of heartburn. The side effects and effectiveness of these supplements may differ from one brand to another. The formulation may also play a vital part in the potency of ginger supplements.
Ideally, people are advised not to consume over 4 grams of dried ginger every day. If you’re pregnant, you shouldn’t take more than 1 gram of dried ginger daily. Since supplements aren’t standardized, caution is advised.
If you’re pregnant or have a history of diabetes, gallstones, and blood clotting disorder, talk to your doctor before increasing your dosage of ginger. You shouldn’t use ginger supplements with blood thinning drugs or aspirin.
Although some of the compounds of ginger haven’t completely investigated, many of those that have been researched seem to demonstrate positive medicinal benefits. It’s better to use natural sources of ginger than supplements.
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