Spotlight on Ginger
Ginger: a versatile ingredient, delicious in both sweet and savory dishes, and packed with healthful properties. With winter on its way and flu-season just around the corner, we take a closer look at this ancient herbal remedy and its many healing properties. Plus, discover two tasty recipes that will soothe your throat and warm you up this winter.
A Potent Herbal Remedy
We all know ginger is great for a cold. Its antibacterial and antiviral properties do wonders when you’re feeling under the weather. But that is only the beginning. Because ginger’s power extends far beyond simple colds:
Ginger’s natural anti-inflammatory compounds make it a useful tool for pain relief. Research published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine in 2009 found it as effective as ibuprofen in reducing menstrual cramps. Another study, published in the Journal of Phytotherapy Research in 2014, found ginger powder to be as effective as prescription painkillers for migraine relief. In both cases, ginger has fewer side effects.
Ginger can also be useful for diabetics. A comprehensive review published in the Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that ginger has a preventive and protective effect on diabetes and its associated complications. In one clinical trial, participants taking 3 grams of dried ginger for 8 weeks significantly reduced their levels of blood glucose, as well as triglycerides and cholesterol.
And of course, ginger is the remedy to go to if you suffer from nausea, motion sickness or an upset tummy. In fact, research even shows its effectiveness in combatting nausea and vomiting (morning sickness) in pregnant women.
Ginger temporarily increases thermogenesis in your body—this means your body burns fat stores to create heat. Research published in the International Journal of Obesity in 2010 suggests that consuming thermogenic ingredients can increase metabolism and boost fat burning—so if you’re trying to lose weight, adding some ginger to your meal could help you reach your goals.
Fresh vs Dried
You can get ginger’s therapeutic benefits from both the fresh root or the dried powder. Both are extremely easy to have on hand in your kitchen. Unpeeled, ginger can last up to 3 weeks in your fridge, and the powder lasts even longer. Experiment with both and see which you prefer.
There seem to be no limits to ginger’s myriad of health properties. Whether you’ve got a cold, indigestion, sore muscles or are simply trying to lose a few pounds, ginger can help. How will you eat yours?
Whether you have a cold or not, this recipe will warm you up, soothe your throat, and boost your wellbeing.
- 1 thumb sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled
- Juice of half a lemon
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp cinnamon or 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tsp turmeric
- Hot water
- Grate or finely chop the ginger and place it in your favorite mug.
- Add the lemon juice, honey, cinnamon and turmeric and stir to combine.
- Pour in the water, give it another stir to make sure the honey is melted.
- Settle on a comfortable sofa and enjoy!
Extra benefits: Honey has antibacterial properties; turmeric is from the same family as ginger and has anti-inflammatory effects; cinnamon is antimicrobial.
This will liven up any salad, and can be added to stir-fries or served as a dip for summer rolls.
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- Juice of half a lime
- 1 tbsp maple syrup or honey
- 1 clove of garlic, crushed
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- Place all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk thoroughly.
- Taste to ensure the balance of flavors.
- Add more maple syrup, ginger or lime juice if needed.
- Pour over your salad and transform those vegetables from dull to tasty, zesty and satisfying.
Extra benefits: Soy sauce is made from fermented soy beans—and fermented foods are great for maintaining a healthy gut, which itself is essential for a strong immune system. Like ginger, garlic has anti-inflammatory properties.