By Kathleen Corlett
Ginger, often used in spices and sauces, is a flowering plant native to the warmer parts of Asia. It’s known for the culinary and medicinal properties of its roots. If you aren’t already incorporating this power-packed spice in your drinks or dishes, read on to learn more about the benefits and healing power of ginger.
Ginger’s Health Benefits
This super food aids just about any ailment, so consider incorporating it into your diet regularly if you have…
- Digestive problems. Ginger is a carminative, meaning it helps eliminate excessive gas from the digestive system and thus calms the stomach and intestinal tract. These properties make it an ideal, all-natural solution for those experiencing motion sickness, nausea, and diarrhea. In fact, studies have shown that those who received a 1-gram dose of ginger for nausea helped reduce stomach discomfort and vomiting during morning sickness, and even smaller doses (0.5 to 1 grams) may ease the effects of chemotherapy-induced nausea.
- Pain. Boasting a host of anti-inflammatory properties, a serving of ginger every day can ease muscle soreness after a workout or otherwise strenuous task by up to 25 percent, as a small, 74-person study at the University of Georgia suggests. Other cases of pain—from arthritis to dysmenorrhea, the severe pain during a menstrual cycle—have also reported relief when treated with a ginger supplement.
- Combat nausea. But, for best results nipping nausea in the bud, a study on easing the effects of chemotherapy suggests you should skip ginger tea in favor of a high-protein meal that incorporates the raw spice, like this Mongolian Seitan Stir-Fry.
- Rick of cancer. Regular ginger intake can lower your risk of colon cancer through decreasing inflammation and even slow the growth rate of prostate cancer cells thanks to certain antioxidants found in the root.
- Respiratory issues. Steeped in hot water (see the easy recipe below), ginger creates a diaphoretic tea that provides a warming sensation in your chest and promotes perspiration. But more than just allowing your body to feel as though it’s warming, ginger has been linked to recovery in some upper respiratory tract infections, coughs, and other respiratory problems.
- Skin damage. Ginger’s benefits don’t stop there: Its fresh juice has been applied to the skin topically to treat burns and even prevent mosquito bites!
Best Ways to Consume Ginger
While you can often find it used heavily in Asian and Indian cuisines, truly benefiting from the superfood begins with figuring out how to eat ginger at home. And fortunately, it couldn’t be simpler! Found at your local supermarket, the super spice comes in all sorts of forms—ginger ale, ginger beer, candied ginger, and more—but you’ll want to pick up its powdered form or a dried or fresh root. (If you’re looking for the latter, select the plumpest roots available; you want ones that still appear juicy, as opposed to dried out around the cut ends.) Any of these options have far fewer additives than a commercial ginger product and therefore often the least amount of calories.
When to consume ginger
To consume ginger every day, consider starting your morning with a tangy cup of ginger tea. It takes little more than a few thin slices cut from a ginger root (completely peeled to maximize its juiciness) to make a tasty tea. Add as many slices as you’d like to a saucepan of water, bring to a boil, and simmer for 10 to 20 minutes. The secret to serious ginger flavor? Increase the number of slices and time on the stove. When you’re ready, sweeten with a splash of honey and a squeeze of lemon for a zesty drink that lives up to the word “refreshment.”