Ginger is high on the list of superfoods because of its impressive health benefits. For centuries it has been used in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine to treat a long list of illnesses, from colds and nausea to arthritis, migraines, diarrhea and hypertension.
People all over the world have been using ginger for thousands of years, both for its culinary and medicinal benefits.
Why you should take ginger every day
What most of us think of as ginger is the underground rhizome or stem of the ginger plant, a flowering plant native to the rainforest in South Asia, which is now widely grown around the world as an important cash crop.
The rhizome has a pungent, spicy, aromatic smell that comes from essential oils and phenolic compounds such as gingerols, which have been shown to have analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects that relieve muscle pain and menstrual cramps.
Ginger has been used since ancient times for its anti-inflammatory, carminative, antiflatulent and antimicrobial properties, to treat diseases such as coughs, colds, indigestion and body aches.
The healing properties of ginger come from those volatile oils, such as gingerols, which are responsible for its strong taste. The most notable compound in ginger is precisely gingerol, which has a powerful anti-inflammatory effect and helps reduce inflammation by improving many chronic diseases, such as obesity, diabetes, pain and heart disease.
Ginger also contains many essential nutrients and vitamins such as vitamin B6, pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), and also contains a good amount of minerals such as potassium, manganese, copper and magnesium.
Popularly, ginger is known to decrease nausea caused by travel sickness, to help relieve migraines, and also to improve symptoms in some pregnant women by relieving pregnancy-related nausea and vomiting. It is also known for the immense benefits it has for the digestive system by aiding digestion and improving appetite.
The surprising benefits of consuming ginger
You can consume ginger in your juices, soups, stir-fries, and in tea. Also in candy.
This wonderful spice has long been promoted in Chinese medicine and Ayurveda as a healing spice not only for dizziness, but also because it can eliminate the pain of PMS, headaches, swelling, among other things. Here are the main benefits of consuming ginger:
Perhaps the most popularly known property of ginger is to relieve nausea and dizziness, and to ease the symptoms of morning sickness in pregnant women. Sailors have long used ginger root to combat motion sickness. You can chew some of the root, take capsules or even make a tea by placing a small portion of the root in a cup of hot water. And sweeten to taste.
– The consumption of ginger increases immunity. It is full of antioxidants that stimulate the immune system and acts as a natural reducer of fever and pain. It also reduces congestion and other symptoms of colds and flu.
– Ginger prevents bacterial and fungal infections. It has been shown to be effective against fungal infections such as Candida albicans. Its antifungal properties are also an effective way to treat athlete’s foot. It also promotes a cleaner, healthier mouth by inhibiting the growth of oral bacteria related to gum disease, such as periodontitis and gingivitis. And it is effective against bad breath.
– Ginger has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds that fight free radicals (intruders that cause damage at the cellular level) and therefore prevent the formation of tumors. Research suggests that ginger extract may help prevent colorectal cancer specifically in those at increased risk, thanks to its impact on the intestine. Studies have shown that these antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of ginger help reduce and relieve pain and inflammation of the joints in patients with arthritis, it can also relieve muscle pain.
– Ginger aids in digestion. Its compounds stimulate gastric juices and digestion, relieving heartburn, ulcers and other digestive problems. Researchers have found that ginger improves the secretion of bile and stimulates trypsin and pancreatic amylase, important enzymes for digestion. It also increases saliva and other digestive fluids, relieving indigestion and associated problems such as flatulence.
More benefits :
- – Ginger is known as a carminative plant which means that it removes excess gas.
- –Ginger helps reduce cholesterol and high triglyceride levels. In a clinical trial, people who took five grams of ginger daily over a 3-month period significantly reduced their triglycerides, LDL and other dangerous cholesterol markers.
- -One of the most popular benefits of ginger is to relieve menstrual pain. One study showed that ginger can significantly reduce PMS total score, mood severity, and physical symptoms.
- Ginger is also widely popular as a treatment for severe migraines.
- It is useful for a number of respiratory problems. Ginger is a natural expectorant, helps you cough and causes or promotes the expulsion of accumulated bronchial secretions.
- Helps to lose weight, ginger tea helps prevent metabolic disorders and reduces the feeling of hunger, which helps in weight control.
- Ginger’s natural compounds are also appreciated in the prevention of various age-related diseases, such as brain aging and neurodegeneration.
- Ginger has also been promoted throughout history as an aphrodisiac.
Before increasing the consumption of ginger in your diet you should take into account these precautions.
Do not take ginger or drink it as tea during pregnancy without consulting your doctor.
Children under the age of two should not drink ginger.
If you are taking medications, check with your healthcare provider as ginger can interact with some medications. If you have a bleeding disorder or if you are taking blood thinners such as aspirin or warfarin, do not use ginger without your doctor’s approval.
Eating a large amount of ginger can cause stomach problems.
Ginger stimulates the secretion of salivary glands and increases bile secretion. Therefore it may be contraindicated in patients with a history of gallstones, so you should consult your doctor before consuming ginger.
It should not be taken before any type of surgery and should be stopped at least one week before the day of surgery.
How to use and consume ginger
Ginger tea can help with dental pain, pain associated with menstrual cramps and hangovers.
The taste of the ginger root does not leave anyone indifferent. It is a spicy and distinct, delicious and all-natural spice that is extremely popular in fried foods and fruit and vegetable dishes, adding an exotic flavor to meals. Its distinctive lemon aroma and spicy touch add a unique and special touch to your dishes.
It is widely used in Asian cuisine, adding a fragrant and slightly spicy flavor to dishes. To use fresh ginger, remove the skin and cut off a section of the yellow root. Finely chop and it is ready to use. To keep its fragrance and flavors intact it is usually added at the last minute in recipes, as prolonged cooking causes the evaporation of its essential oils.
In some Asian cuisines, such as Japanese cuisine, ginger is pickled and served as an accompaniment, for example to sushi.
Cut or grated ginger is boiled in water as a soup to relieve the common cold, cough and sore throat.
Ginger tea is a spicy drink that is enjoyed regularly throughout Asia and is known almost all over the world. To prepare it, boil 1 cup of water and add finely chopped ginger. Reduce the heat to low, cover and let it stand for 5 to 10 minutes. Once finished you can add sugar, honey, lemon, tea leaves, milk, cream or any other ingredient you wish at that moment. Strain and enjoy! A little lemon and honey will relieve your sore throat or cough.
There are dry and bagged versions of ginger tea, but for maximum flavor and health benefit it is best to use fresh ginger.
Other ways to consume ginger are the famous gingerbread cookies. It was the primitive Greeks who mixed the root in their breads giving birth to the first gingerbreads.
American colonists brewed ginger beer to soothe digestive diseases, which we call ginger ale today.
Where to buy ginger
Fresh ginger is available in most supermarkets in the fresh fruit and vegetable section. Choose fresh ginger that is thick and has a soft, shiny brown skin that is not wilted, dry or moldy. Older roots are wrinkled and cracked.
You can safely store unused ginger portions wrapped in the freezer indefinitely.
Both fresh and powdered ginger offer health benefits. However, dry powdered or ground root can contain significantly reduced levels of volatile oils such as gingerols.
Depending on the type of ginger you buy, the flesh can be yellow, white or red.
Ground ginger is usually found in the spice aisle.
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