Ginger is a well loved, tried and tested, flavoursome spice that has been revered for a myriad of health benefits throughout the aeons. It is mentioned in ancients texts and has been prized by many different cultures as long as mankind can remember. Ginger is zingy and warming, with a distinctive zesty flavour and aroma. It comes in yellow, white and red varieties; we use the underground rhizome part of the plant…
Gingers’ incredible healing effects put it right at the top of my list of go-to plant-foods for medicinal purposes. However, apart from being good for detoxification and cleansing, it can also turn salads, desserts, bakes and juices into delicious, lively culinary delights. In this article, we are going to look at why ginger is so good for us and how you might incorporate it into your daily diet with a few healthful recipe ideas.
So why is ginger so good for us?
Exceptional antioxidant content
An antioxidant is a molecule that is able to inhibit the oxidation of other molecules. Oxidation often produces free radicals which, then instigate a chain reaction that can damage cells. In extreme cases, leading to cancer. Antioxidants intervene by eliminating these free radicals and preventing damage. Ginger is literally loaded with antioxidants!
Excellent remedy for nausea and motion sickness
Ginger is an excellent natural remedy for travel sickness, morning sickness or nausea; and with good reason. It has a long history in this area, having consistently proven its effectiveness at reducing dizziness and nausea. The active ingredients in ginger are potent, so you don’t need very much of it either. It has a reputation for being safe for pregnant women too, making it a great remedy for morning sickness.
Relieves flatulence and acts as a great digestion aid
Ginger acts as a carminative (prevents flatulence) and an intestinal spasmolytic (which means that it soothes the intestinal tract). This makes it excellent at soothing digestive disorders and calming down flatulence.
Studies strongly suggest that gingerols, the active phyto-nutrients in ginger are beneficial against cancer cells. The major down side, is that most of the studies involve animal testing.
Various studies on people with inflammatory disorders and diseases such as osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis have shown that ginger has a powerful anti-inflammatory action. Gingerols are the primary active anti-inflammatory agent within ginger and are said to have very potent effects when ginger is consumed regularly.
A natural expectorant to help coughs
Regular consumption of ginger encourages the release of mucus.
Promotes healthy circulation
Ginger stimulates the tissues with the body, whilst lowering the blood pressure. This all encourages healthy circulation. Furthermore, ginger prevents platelets from clumping together in the bloodstream, which thins the blood, reducing risk of atherosclerosis and blood clots.
Helps warm you up when you are cold
Gingers circulatory, perspiration-inducing and stimulation properties mean that it can also warm you up when you are cold. So, when your body wants to start shutting down during the winter chill, bring more ginger into your daily cuisine and enjoy the naturally warming effect.
Effective detoxification aid
Ginger is known to promote healthy sweating, which encourages the release of toxins. Add in it’s exceptional antioxidant qualities and other benefits, then you have a top detoxification food.
Other benefits of healthy sweating from ginger
As well as the natural detoxification benefits of healthy sweating, scientists have recently found that sweat contains a substance called dermicidin – a powerful germ fighting agent. Dermicidin is said to be deposited on the surface of the skin to protect against invading micro-organisms.
How to use ginger in your daily life…
How to make fresh ginger tea
Home made ginger tea is more potent and helpful than shop bought tea bags.
The most basic way to make ginger tea is this:
- Steep some fresh chopped ginger in hot water.
How to Make Fresh Ginger-Lemon Tea
Though this classic recipe is called a tea, it’s really an infusion of fresh ginger and lemon — nothing “tea” about it other than how healthful it is and how soothing it is to drink.
Makes: 4 cups
- 4 cups filtered water
- 2- to 3- inch piece ginger, sliced
- Juice of 1 large lemon (or more, to taste)
- Sweetener of choice (stevia, agave, raw honey, etc.) to taste, optional
- Slices of fresh lemon (from an additional lemon) for serving, optional
Combine the water and ginger in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat Add the lemon juice and let steep at least 20 minutes; 30 minutes is even better.
If serving right away, you might want to reheat gently to your liking. Or, you can let steep even longer, letting the ginger flavor become more pronounced. Sweeten to taste with sweetener of choice, or let everyone sweeten their own.
Serve with or without slices of the steeped ginger and slices of fresh lemon. You also let the infusion cool, and then chill for a cold drink.