Monday, September 28, 2015

The many health benefits of ginger

I'm sure you've head of the old 'drink ginger ale for an upset stomach' home remedy, right? Many people think that it work because of the carbonation which makes you burp, releasing pressure. They're right...sort of. 

What actually works is the ginger in the ginger ale. Of course most commercially available sodas don't contain much (if any) actual ginger anymore so the relief you feel probably is from a combination of burping and adding liquid to your stomach which basically 'waters down' the acids that are bothering you. Real ginger however, will do the trick much more efficiently and do so much more!

health properties in ginger

Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a great food to add to your natural healthcare regimen for more then just stomach upsets. It can also help with inflammation, arthritis, pain, circulation and so much more.

Here are the reasons I add ginger to my diet daily:

Reduces inflammation and pain including muscle aches
Has a warming effect and stimulates circulation 
Reduces symptoms of dizziness
Inhibits several well known bacteria and virus's 
Helps prevent motion sickness and nausea
Reduces gas and intestinal spasms
Supports the digestive system

(There are many more potential benefits of ginger, but in the interest of time & space I'm just listing my reasons)

Fresh ginger is best (of course) but studies have been done using powdered ginger in capsule form and have found it to decrease menstrual cramps, joint pain and help with nausea. Many people use ginger lozenges or candied ginger and still see benefits. I always add extra ginger to my diet during cold and flu season and rarely get sick. Coincidence?

When buying fresh ginger, look for a firm root with smooth, taut skin. Once the skin starts to wrinkle and feel soft, it's already starting to age. If this is the case, pick a fresher piece. 

Ginger is one of those things that sound expensive, but really isn't. The current price near me is $3.99 a pound. That sounds like a lot, but the piece in the picture on the digital scale was under 3 ounces. That translates to a cost of $.68 and that piece lasted me over 2 weeks. I also grated and froze  the ginger that was left before it started to soften. 

Fresh Gineger: the any health benefits

Frozen ginger will last for several months. If I can get a months worth of ginger tea out of a $.68 piece of ginger...I'd say that the cheapest nausea remedy you can buy!

I often drink a ginger tea in winter. It's quite simple to prepare. First peel the ginger root with a spoon. Just hold the root in one hand and drag the spoon along the ginger towards you, scraping off the peel. Only peel what your going to use right away. 

Slice the ginger into coins, then slice the coins into matchsticks. Then dice the matchsticks into tiny pieces. Add 1 tsp fresh diced ginger to 2 cups of boiling water. Remove from heat, cover and steep about 15 minutes. Strain (if desired) and drink. You can sweeten with honey to taste. 

Of course you can always buy ginger tea in teabag form to keep on hand for when you can't find fresh ginger in stores.

You can also add ginger to juices, smoothies, homemade salad dressings, baked apples, desserts, stir fry's, fish and pork dishes.

Did you know:  
  • Ginger is part of the Zingiberaceae family. Turmeric is also! Now are you surprised that Ginger is so good for you?
  • Ginger can be grown at home using store bought ginger root. It's not fond of snow, so in certain climates it would need to be brought in over winter. Ginger does well in containers.
  • We actually don't eat the root of the ginger plant, although everyone calls it ginger root. It's actually the rhizome which has small roots. We don't eat those, but if I said ginger rhizome you'd look at me funny so I went with root instead. I knew you'd understand!
I am not a Dr. nor have I had any formal medical training. I am simply passing along information I have collected and practices that have worked for me. Do your own research before adding anything new to your diet. Wed Md has an excellent page on ginger to start. As always, consult a Dr for medical issues and don't believe everything you read on the internet ;-) 

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