Most people who love and use spices are unaware that they deliver on so much more than just flavor; they can be powerful healing agents as well.
Ginger (which is technically the underground rhizome of the ginger plant), ranks among one of the most recommended spices that we use with our own clients as it has so many health benefits and is really fun to add to recipes.
Let’s start with the powerful effects of ginger on the digestive system:
- Promotes the elimination of intestinal gas and also relaxes and soothes the intestinal tract
- It is used all over the world to help manage indigestion, gas and bloating, nausea and irritable bowel syndrome
- Stimulates digestion by speeding up the movement of food from the stomach into the upper small intestine, which can benefit those with constipation, reflux, SIBO, and gastroparesis (slow stomach emptying)
Ginger as an anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer agent:
- Contains two lesser known anti inflammatory compounds known as gingerols and shogaols (these give ginger its distinctive taste)
- For those with osteo or rheumatoid arthritis, gingerols can help reduce pain levels and improve mobility when consumed regularly as part of an anti inflammatory diet (for more great tips on this, check out our video here)
- A known anti-cancer super food, studies have shown that shogaols specifically target and disrupt an important pathway in cancer development known as Nf-kB (use as one part of a cancer prevention and healing diet)
Ginger is also wonderful for the immune system, mostly due to its antiviral, anti fungal, and anti-microbial properties.
We also often suggest a ginger concoction to our clients who are under the weather with a sore throat or a persistent cough.
One great remedy is to add about 1-2 inch knob of fresh ginger, a squeeze of fresh lemon and about 1-2 teaspoons of raw honey to 2 cups of boiling water or chamomile tea and sip throughout the day.
Some great ways to add ginger to your diet:
- Add powdered or grated ginger to your next homemade salad dressing for a flavor kick
- Add grated ginger and fresh orange juice to puréed sweet potatoes
- Spice up your healthy sautéed vegetables by adding freshly minced ginger or use in desserts or smoothies – check out some of our ginger recipes here
What to look for when buying:
Both raw, fresh ginger and powdered ginger contain medicinal properties. We use both! Raw ginger has more gingerol, whereas powdered will contain more shogaols. Fresh ginger root is sold in the produce section of all supermarkets.
Make sure it is firm and fairly smooth (should not be wrinkly and dried up looking). A therapeutic amount would be about 2 teaspoons fresh and up to 1 TBS a day for powdered.
We also love getting ginger benefits from Ginger Essential Oil! It has similar benefits including support for indigestion and nausea, and as an anti-inflammatory aid. It contains the constituent zingiberene, which is known to provide antioxidant support when taken internally. Getting ginger from all sources is a wonderful way to ensure you get all the benefits.
- A great trick for peeling ginger is to use the back of a spoon (instead of a knife), which takes off the skin while preserving most of the flesh. Only peel the amount you want to use, as this will keep it fresher longer). Dice or grate the ginger into small pieces to sprinkle in sauces or add to sautes.
- Ginger can also be frozen up to 6 months. This is a great time saver for when just needing a small amount for a recipe. To freeze, peel the entire root and cut into pieces (about an inch each). Put in a freezer bag and store in freezer. Take a piece out as needed. This works great for smoothies – just grab a piece and toss it into the blender along with your other ingredients.
Let us know – do you use ginger? If so, how do you incorporate it into your diet?