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  • Writer's pictureKim Smolders

The Healing Power of Ginger.

Ginger is a potent, healthy spice that comes from a flowering root plant from the Zingiberaceae family that originated in South East Asia. In this region it is valued for its aromatic, culinary and medicinal properties, and is an integral part of the diet. Ginger is closely related to the other healthful spices turmeric, cardamom, and galangal.

It is the ginger root, the underground part of the plant, that is commonly used and known as ginger. It can be eaten fresh, dried or made into tablets, capsules and liquid extracts. Used in cooking it brings zest to any dish, added to smoothies makes them more exotic, and ginger tea is a wonderful way to up your hydration and get the nutritional benefits of this powerful spice.

The nutrition in ginger can not be ignored. It contains trace amounts of vitamins B3 and B6, iron, potassium, vitamin C, magnesium, phosphorous, zinc, folate, & riboflavin.

The benefits of ginger.

Ginger contains more than 400 chemical compounds, but researches believe it is the gingerol that is responsible for the spice's many health benefits. Gingerol is a powerful antioxidant and has anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that bring health to the body in a variety of ways.

  • Reduces inflammation & pain - the anti-inflammatory properties of ginger are well researched. Gingerol is a great pain reliever, and can turn off chronic pain such as arthritis, period pain, muscle pain, in the body.

  • Protects against disease - the plentiful anti-oxidants in ginger prevent (oxidative) stress and damage to your body's DNA. Anti-oxidants help the body fight off chronic diseases like high blood pressure, heart disease, and aging.

  • Improves blood sugar regulation - ginger not only reduces enzymes that break down carbohydrates, which will help with glucose metabolism, but in diabetics it has also been shown to encourage your muscles to absorb glucose, without requiring extra insulin.

  • Aids digestion - a cup of ginger tea could help your stomach empty food faster after a meal, as well as calm your stomach and reduce bloating and gas.

  • Eases nausea - whether you are dealing with seasickness, a hangover, queasiness after chemo, or general feeling of nausea, ginger can come to the rescue and relieve you of your symptoms. It promotes gastric motility and blocks serotonin receptors in your gut lining.

  • Lowers cholesterol - a recent study showed that a daily 3gr dose of ginger may help reduce triglyceride and LDL levels, and thus reduce your risk of heart disease.

  • Curbs cancer growth - some studies have shown that bioactive molecules in ginger may slow down the growth of colorectal, gastric, ovarian, liver, skin and prostate cancer,

  • Boosts immunity - certain anti-bacterial and anti-microbial chemical compounds in fresh ginger can help your body fight infections and boost your immune system.

How to incorporate ginger in your daily life.

Getting into the habit of incorporating ginger-rich foods on a regular basis is important. The healing effects of ginger are optimised when it is eaten daily over a longer period of time.

Ginger is readily available these days, and you can buy it fresh, ground, dried, pickled and preserved.

Try using it by:

  • adding it to your vegetable or fruit smoothies

  • adding a couple of slices with some lemon to boiling water for a wonderful detoxing and health-boosting tea

  • using it generously in stir-fries

  • grinding and using it in your sauces, soups and marinades

  • adding a pinch or two to your chocolate mousse recipes

  • spooning it over grilled fish with olive oil

  • spicing up your homemade fermented vegetables by adding a couple of slices

  • baking healthy, delicious ginger cookies

Please note that everyone's personal health needs are different. If you do not have any underlying health conditions, eating ginger freely should be safe. Please consult your doctor before trying this should you have any health concerns or if you are pregnant.


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