The Top 5 Reasons to Make Ginger a Part of Your Daily Life
What is Ginger?
Ginger is a herb that has underground stems and roots, called rhizomes. The root is the part of the plant that is eaten and its skin can vary from brown to yellow, white or red, depending on the variety. The one we commonly use in Europe and North America has a light brown skin.
Under the Spotlight
Ginger is available as fresh or dried roots, powdered, preserved (stem ginger), crystallised or pickled. It has a pungent, fragrant and spicy flavour. The Chinese consider this a warming food. What we know from many research studies is that ginger is a powerful anti-inflammatory and this has wide-reaching benefits, such as:
- Relaxes intestinal muscles
- Prevents the production of inflammatory compounds that cause pain and swelling
- Neutralises gastrointestinal (GI) hormones, toxins and acids
While most studies use dried root powder, equal amounts of fresh ginger have the added benefit of active enzymes. Regular use of ginger is the key to its benefits, although doses need not be high as there are many active substances, such as gingerol.
Benefits to Your Health
- It is a carminative, meaning it helps you get rid of wind
- Calms spasms in the gut, meaning less pain
- Reduces motion sickness, even better than some prescription drugs (dimenhydrinate)
- May help pregnancy related nausea and vomiting…even hyperemesis gravidarium, the most severe form
- Reduces pain associated with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis due to its anti-inflammatory effect
- Settle your stomach by adding a couple of coin-sized slices to a cup of hot water (about 1cm diameter or 20g)
- Arthritis pain may be relieved by as little as 1/2cm slice of ginger cooked into food daily, but more will likely be more effective
- Mix ginger, cardamom, cinnamon and coriander to calm the intestines and stimulate the digestion. An easy way to include this together is to drink Indian Chai tea. Here’s a recipe I love from the Kitchn. Feel free to add coriander seeds, substitute almond milk if you have a dairy intolerance or cut the sugar according to your needs and tastes.
*Feature photo courtesy of Viktor Hanacek