Ginger is spicy, aromatic and powerful root that is primarily used to flavour food. It is available in most supermarkets all year round. It is, in the form we know it, the underground root of the ginger plant with a firm, stringy texture. The flesh of the ginger rhizome can vary between yellow, white or red in colour, it is covered with a brownish skin that’s thickness depends upon its age.
Potential Health Benefits include:
– Gastrointestinal Relief
– Safe and Effective Relief of Nausea and Vomiting During Pregnancy
– Anti-Inflammatory Effects
– Protection against Colorectal Cancer
– Immune Boosting Action
Ginger is good for:
– your blood
– your bones
– your skin
– your digestive system
– your heart
– weight loss
– skin conditions
Ginger May Reduce Muscle Pain and Soreness:
Ginger has been shown to be effective against exercise-induced muscle pain. In one study, consuming 2 grams of ginger per day, for 11 days, significantly reduced muscle pain in people performing elbow exercises. Ginger does not have an immediate impact, but may be effective at reducing the day-to-day progression of muscle pain. These effects are believed to be mediated by the anti-inflammatory properties.
The Anti-Inflammatory Effects Can Help With Osteoarthritis:
Osteoarthritis is a common health problem that involves degeneration in the joints of the body, leading to symptoms like pain and stiffness. In a controlled trial of 247 people with osteoarthritis of the knee, those who took ginger extract had less pain and required less pain medication. Another study found that a combination of ginger, mastic, cinnamon and sesame oil, can reduce pain and stiffness in osteoarthritis patients when applied topically.
Ginger May Improve Brain Function and Protect Against Alzheimer’s Disease:
Oxidative stress and chronic inflammation can accelerate the aging process and are considered as the key drivers of Alzheimer’s disease and age-related cognitive decline. Some studies in animals suggest that the antioxidants and bioactive compounds in ginger can inhibit inflammatory responses that occur in the brain and delay the onset of the illness. There is also some evidence that ginger can directly enhance brain function. In a study of 60 middle-aged women, ginger extract was shown to improve reaction time and working memory. There are also various studies on animals that show that ginger can protect against age-related decline in brain function.
Ginger Increases Your Metabolism As It’s Thermogenic:
“Thermogenic” means that the food raises the temperature of your body and boosts metabolism and calorie burning. In the thermogenesis process the body burns calories to utilise foods you have just consumed, converting those calories to heat. The International Journal of Obesity mentions that consuming foods that have thermogenic effect can potentially be a tool for weight loss and weight maintenance as they may increase energy expenditure, fat oxidation and counteract the decrease in metabolic rate that happens during weight loss. The study assessed the effects of consuming a breakfast meal with or without a hot ginger beverage (2 g ginger powder dissolved in a hot water) on energy expenditure, feelings of appetite and satiety in overweight men. The study found that there was a significant effect of ginger on thermic effect of food, and the participants showed lower hunger, lower food intake and greater fullness with ginger consumption versus the control group. The results suggest a potential role of ginger in weight management.
Native to south east Asia, a region whose cuisines still feature this wonderfully spicy herb, ginger has been renowned for millennia in many areas throughout the world. Ginger is mentioned in ancient Chinese, Indian and Middle Eastern writings, and has long been prized for its aromatic, culinary and medicinal properties. After the ancient Romans imported ginger from China almost two thousand years ago, its popularity in Europe remained centred in the Mediterranean region until the Middle Ages when its use spread throughout other countries. Although it was a very expensive spice, owing to the fact that it had to be imported from Asia, it was still in great demand. In an attempt to make it more available, Spanish explorers introduced ginger to the West Indies, Mexico and South America, and in the 16th century, these areas began exporting the precious herb back to Europe.
Today, the top commercial producers of ginger include Jamaica, India, Fiji, Indonesia and Australia.
Whenever possible, choose fresh ginger over the dried form of the spice since it is not only superior in flavour but contains higher levels of gingerol as well as ginger’s active protease (it’s anti-inflammatory compound). Fresh ginger root is sold in the produce section of markets. When purchasing fresh ginger root, make sure it is firm, smooth and free of fungus. Ginger is generally available in two forms, either young or mature. Mature ginger, the more widely available type, has a tough skin that requires peeling; whilst young ginger, usually only available in Asian markets, does not need to be peeled.
Even through dried herbs and spices like ginger powder are widely available in supermarkets, you may want to explore the local spice stores in your area. Oftentimes, these stores feature an expansive selection of dried herbs and spices that are of superior quality and freshness than those offered in regular markets. Just like with other dried spices, when purchasing dried ginger powder try to select organically grown ginger since this will give you more assurance that it has not been irradiated.
Ginger is also available in several other forms including crystallized, candied and pickled ginger.
Fresh ginger can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three weeks if it is left unpeeled. Stored unpeeled in the freezer, it will keep for up to six months.