Who doesn’t know about ginger? Ginger is an underground rhizome that’s very popular in the culinary world. In varying cuisines of different parts of the world, ginger plays a role to spike many delectable dishes. The aroma and the unique flavor it brings are just ineffable. But some people do not know that, aside from pleasing our tastes, it also favors our health. Numerous studies have proved that this particular ingredient could also be an alternative treatment for many illnesses, as well as the key to optimum wellness. We can say that it is definitely a superfood!
More about Ginger
The plant’s scientific name is Zingiber officinale, and the part that we use for cooking and medicinal purposes is its underground rhizome. The name ginger is derived from the Sanskrit name, “singabera”, meaning “horn-shaped”, clearly due to its physical features. The flesh of the ginger can be yellow, red or white, depending on its type. Its skin can be thin or thicker depending on the time of its cultivation (mostly, the thicker the skin, the more it is matured).
Ginger is said to be native in East Asia. It has been mentioned in various ancient writings of China, India, and countries in the Middle East as an aromatic spice and medicinal plant. Thousands of years ago, old Romans imported ginger from China to the Mediterranean regions that caused its popularity to the rest of Europe. The news about ginger as a new added flavor quickly spread to other neighboring countries. Today, the top producers of ginger include India, Fiji, Indonesia, Jamaica, and Australia.
Health Benefits of Ginger
Relief from Stomach Upsets
Researches agreed that it can alleviate nausea, and vomiting due to motion sickness, as well as chemotherapy-induced nausea. It’s suggested that it is even better in relieving nausea and vomiting than over-the-counter drugs for motion sickness. Only 1 gram of ginger or 5-10 cm of fresh ginger soaked in warm water is enough to relieve vomiting and nausea caused by motion sickness, while 0.5-1 gram of the rhizome can reduce the severity of chemotherapy-induced nausea in patients.
Studies also suggested that it is an effective and a safer relief for morning sickness and vomiting symptoms in pregnant women. Although pregnancy is rarely expected at a later age, this could be a tip you can share with your loved ones and friends. A severe case of intense nausea and vomiting called hyperemesis gravidum, which requires hospitalization of pregnant women, can be treated with just a small amount of ginger. What’s better, it carries no side effects to the fetus, unlike with commercialized drugs for nausea and vomiting that might bring danger to pregnancy.
According to studies, ginger can reduce inflammation due to its anti-inflammatory component called, gingerol. Including it in daily meals of individuals with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis can reduce swelling and pain due to inflammation. Based on researches, gingerol works by inhibiting the production of certain components in the body, which cause inflammation and pain. And because it naturally produces its anti-inflammatory effects in the body, it is definitely safer to use and has no side effects. This can be great for your body aches and joint pain in menopause!
Prevents Colorectal Cancer
Results from the Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research suggest that gingerol, the compound also responsible for ginger’s unique flavor, can inhibit the growth of colorectal cancer cells in mice. Affirmative outcomes from the research prove ginger’s probable efficacy to control and prevent tumor growth in humans. Professor Ann Bode, one of the research associates, alleged, “These results strongly suggest that ginger compounds may be effective chemopreventive and/or chemotherapeutic agents for colorectal carcinoma.”
Stops the Growth of Ovarian Cancer Cells
Studies gathered by the University of Michigan also sighted the benefit of ginger in fighting ovarian cancer. Gingerol, one of ginger’s active ingredients, has proved to kill ovarian cancer cells by inducing cell death and self-digestion of the cancer cell. Its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor actions as well increase its effectiveness in preventing cancer cell growth. Furthermore, though conventional chemotherapeutic agents also have anti-tumor properties, cancer cells are more resistant to these drugs than gingerol. The study’s conductors indicated that cancer cells are not resistant to ginger’s effect on these cells compared to conventional drugs.
Boosts the Immune System
It also boosts our immune system by triggering our sweat glands to initiate perspiration. Sweating helps in the detoxification of harmful radicals and toxins and fights infections caused by some bacteria. The compound in our sweat that is responsible for fighting infections is called dermcidin. Dermcidin that is produced in our glands travels to the surface of the skin and protects us from invading microorganisms such as E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Candida albicans.
Selecting and Storing
When buying ginger, you should pick the freshest rhizome as it contains higher levels of gingerol and other active compounds. Fresh gingers are produced in the market the whole year-round, so it’ll be easy for you to spot one. When picking up a fresh piece, make sure it is smooth, firm and free of mold. There are two types of commercialized fresh ginger, mature and young. The mature ones usually have thicker skin, while the young, commonly sold in Asian markets, does not require peeling. When buying dried powder ginger products, as much as possible, reach for those that are organically grown.
You can store it in your refrigerator to prolong its freshness. When kept in the fridge, peeled fresh ginger could last up to three weeks, while unpeeled gingers could last up to 6 months.
It is a simple item that is also very easy to prepare! Watch this short video below and see how easy it is to use ginger! (6.04 minutes)
You can also prepare a refreshing and healthy Lemon Ginger Detox drink! You need a glass of water (boiled but cooled at room temperature, or if you want it warm, you can use it too), the juice of half a lemon and grated ginger (1/2 inch knob, peeled). As much as possible, use organic ginger and lemon to make the drink healthier!
Mix the lemon juice and grated ginger into the water, and voila! You can now enjoy a natural detoxifying drink, which is great to take first thing in the morning. You can also make a larger batch of this recipe and drink it in small portions throughout the day. The ginger improves your metabolism and promotes weight loss, and the lemon helps you detoxify!
For easier and more convenient drinking of the detox recipe above, you can place your mixture inside a travel tumbler such as this item. If you want your detox drink warm, this Thermos tumbler can keep it warm for a long time. And it’s a spill-free tumbler, which will be a great buddy to bring around!
Have you experienced improvements in your health because of ginger? We’d like to hear from you! Share it with us below.
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