Ginger is a kitchen staple! However, while it makes a good ingredient, research shows that it is also an effective healing tool.
What is ginger?
Ginger is a tropical plant native to Southwest Asia but is now available around the world. The plant grows to be around 3 feet tall and produces brightly colored blossoms, but the root is the part that we all know and love. The inside of the root can be yellow, red, or white. It is harvested by pulling the plant out of the soil, removing the leaves, and cleaning the root. It can be consumed fresh, dried, as tablets and capsules, and in liquid extract form.
Ginger contains more than 400 chemical compounds, but researchers believe that the gingerol compounds are the main ones responsible for the health benefits. They also give the root its smell and flavor. Gingerol has incredible properties that help the body in many ways.
- Heals an upset stomach. The chemical compounds in the root are believed to ease stomach pain and help digestion. Studies have shown that it is a safe and effective way to reduce nausea, especially during pregnancy. However, it does offer benefits beyond pregnancy. Ginger may help reduce nausea and vomiting after surgery and for those going through chemotherapy. Eating ginger aids with indigestion symptoms by helping the stomach empty faster. A small study found that taking 1.2 g of the root before a meal can speed up the digestion process.
- Reduces inflammation. Ginger can be taken as a supplement for rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis (two painful conditions that cause joint damage). The root is an anti-inflammatory, so it may also be used to ease joint pain due to arthritis.
- Lowers blood sugar. Implementing ginger into your diet can help improve blood sugar levels and lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. A study found that people with type 2 diabetes who took 1600 milligrams of ginger powder for 12 weeks had improved insulin sensitivity, lower triglycerides, and lower total cholesterol when compared their control group.
- Reduces risk of cancer. Research has found that gingerol has cancer-fighting abilities. Specifically, it can help in the prevention and treatment of gastrointestinal cancers. The high antioxidant content in the root is responsible for fighting off cancer cell growth. Additionally, the antioxidants in ginger can even help with slowing the aging process.
- Relieves menstrual cramps. When it comes to soothing period pain, ginger is up there with Advil. A study found that women who took 250 mg ginger capsules four times a day had similar pain relief as those who took 400 mg of ibuprofen capsules four times per day.
Including Ginger in Your Diet
There are many ways you can incorporate ginger into your diet. Whether it is adding it to your tea or your main meals, you reap the same benefits. When purchasing fresh ginger for your personal use, it’s best to look for smooth and firm roots with no shriveling or mold. During prep, you’ll want to remove the brown layer with a sharp peeler or knife and chop as needed for your dish. It can be used as an extra flavor in:
- Marinades for meat and fish
- Stir fry
- Salad dressing
- Sweet potato and carrot dishes
- Baked desserts
If you can’t get your hands on fresh ginger, the powdered version is a good substitute. However, the taste and the smell are going to be different, and because the powdered form is more concentrated, you will need to use less. Using ¼ of a teaspoon of the powdered version is the equivalent of 1 teaspoon of fresh ginger. Powdered ginger is more frequently used when baking.
We hope that this information on ginger is useful to you.
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Kayla is a graduate of Texas A&M University and joined the marketing team at Empower Brokerage in early 2021. She creates content for the company websites and assists with various marketing campaigns. LinkedIn Profile