Ginger is a spice that is used widely throughout the world. It belongs to the Zingiberaceae family of which turmeric, cardamom, and galangal also belong too. Ginger originates from the tropical rainforests of the Indian subcontinent and Southern Asia.
Ginger is used in various ways and also comes in different varieties. Its versatility is one of the reasons it has become so popular, and it can be used as spice in cooking, a flavor in tea, or even as a medicine. It has been used as a traditional medicine for many thousands of years and in many different cultures. Ginger has a rich history and arrived into Europe from the orient during the spice trade. The Romans imported ginger from China and by the 16th century Europe was importing 2000 tonnes a year from the East Indies.
In 2014 the global production of ginger exceeded 2 million tonnes and these high levels of production look set to continue. The main producers of ginger are India, Fiji, Australia, Indonesia, and Jamaica. You can purchase ginger as a whole fresh root, which is the best way to get the freshest taste from it. It is popular as a dried root too and this can also come in powdered form.
In Japan pickled ginger is a common addition to sushi. Here, the ginger root is sliced very thin and pickled in vinegar. The Japanese refer to this pickle as ‘gari’ and this has become well know in many other countries too, mostly due to the popularity of sushi.
Ginger can also be offered in a sweeter form and crystallized ginger is made by cooking ginger in sugar syrup, air drying it, and then rolling it in sugar. Similarly, preserved ginger, or stem ginger, is made by peeling fresh ginger roots, slicing it, and cooking it in a heavy sugar syrup.
Ginger can be used for many different ailments and can also help with various health problems. We have delved into some of its top uses so you can start getting the best out of ginger.
1. It Can Help Reduce Muscle Pain & Soreness
Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties; ginger can tackle both muscle pain and soreness. The effects of ginger will not be felt immediately, but if you consume a few grams a day it will help ease the pain of exercise-induced aches and pain.
2. It Helps Regulate Blood Sugar Levels
Having a high blood sugar level can cause a number of negative symptoms, ranging from headaches to frequent urination. Ginger can help with you blood sugar levels and prevent these negative side effects.
3. It Can Help Treat Nausea
Probably gingers most well known usage is for treating nausea and sickness. In particular, it has been successfully used as a treatment for preventing vomiting and also for seasickness.
4. It Can Ease Morning Sickness
Like nausea, ginger can also help with morning sickness and you will need to take 250 mg of ginger, 4 times a day.
5. It Can Help With Period Pains
Menstrual pains can be very debilitating for women and the effects of period pains include headaches and stomach cramps. There are a variety of over the counter supplements but ginger can make an alternative to these. Ginger has shown to reduce both the intensity and duration of the pain.
6. It Could Have Anti-Cancer Properties
One of the most impressive claims attached to ginger are its anti-cancer properties. The presence of the compound 6-gingerol is why ginger is thought to be able to tackle the growth of cancer. Studies have shown that ginger can block cancer cell growth and the development of pancreatic, ovarian, and prostate cancer (please note: if you have cancer, you should always listen to the advise and treatment recommendations from your doctor).
7. It Has Anti-inflammatory Properties
Osteoarthritis is a relatively common health problem that sees the degeneration of joints in the body, which make your joints suffer from stiffness and pain. Ginger extract has been linked to fighting pain and stiffness in people suffering from osteoarthritis.
8. It Can Help Fight Infection
Fungal infections can cause an array of conditions including athletes foot and yeast infections. Ginger has anti-fugal properties that can tackle and kill off fungi.
9. It Supports Digestive Health
One of gingers best benefits is its ability to help digestion. Indigestion can cause pain in the stomach and the delayed emptying of the stomach in part causes this. Ginger can help speed up the emptying of the stomach, and in turn help ease the indigestion.
10. It Can Help Lower Cholesterol Levels
High levels of cholesterol are linked to heart disease, which can obviously be detrimental to your overall health. Ginger can lower cholesterol levels, which will help lower your cholesterol levels.
11. It Can Help Improve Brain Function
Ginger is a natural nootropic! Diseases that affect the brain like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s have been linked to chronic inflammation and oxidative stress. This is why ginger is believed to help with brain function, as it has a number of anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants present in it.
12. It’s Useful For Weight Maintenance
We previously noted gingers ability to help you lose weight in our article on suppressing your appetite. The spicy element of ginger helps you feel fuller for longer (which helps prevent you from overeating) and can also help boost your metabolism.
Best Ways To Add Ginger To Your Diet
Not only is ginger useful for the above problems, it can also be found in a lot of consumer products. These products are another great way of consuming or adding some ginger into your life.
Supplements – Ginger can be taken on and into the body via its various forms. If you’re unable to do this, perhaps due to not liking its flavor, then supplements would be the perfect choice for you. Supplements like ginger root and ginger capsules are a great way to ensure that you’re getting a good level of ginger in your diet.
Ginger tea – Ginger tea is a flavored hot drink consumed by many people today. As well as its taste, the drink is also drunk to combat the common cold. It is also a diaphoretic tea, which means that it warms you from the inside and promotes perspiration. This makes it very effective when wanting to warm up.
Ginger ale – Ginger ale is a well loved spiced fizzy drink that is drunken cold, or better still, chilled. It can be consumed on its own or mixed with alcohol. Its popularity in Jamaica means it is often mixed with rum and a splash of fresh lime, and this drink is know as a ‘dark and stormy’.
Ginger oils and fragrances – The use of ginger in oils and fragrances are prevalent due to its enticing and pleasing smell.
Ginger cake – This dark brown cake is one of the most delicious ways to consume ginger. Commonly known as ‘Jamaica ginger cake’ there are also other similar variations like the Yorkshire made ‘parkin’. It can be eaten hot or cold but is delicious however you decide to eat it.
Having listed the positive properties of ginger its certainly evident how powerful an ingredient it is. Not only dose it make food and drinks taste great, but it is also a powerful ally in making your body healthier both inside and out.
If ginger doesn’t feature much in your diet then we hope to have given you some reasons to change your ways. With its tide of benefits, you will only feel better to have it in your body, and we look forward to hearing how it has helped you.