Ginger is more commonly associated with its powerful aromatics and ability to bring an added depth of heat to cooking. Whilst the benefits it brings to cooking are widely known, few people know the amazing effects it can have on your health. Our nutritionist Lucy-Ann is here to teach you a thing or two about what makes this radical root so good for you!
History of healing
Ginger’s reputation as a therapeutic herb has a deep-rooted history, having been widely used for thousands of years in traditional Indian and Chinese medicine. Part of the same plant family as cardamom, galangal and turmeric, ginger’s main qualities lie in its root which can be found in numerous different antidotes throughout the Middle East, Africa, the Caribbean and Europe.
Whilst ginger’s status and reputation as a natural healer may have been founded on very little evidence, its anecdotal powers are now beginning to gather more weight thanks to modern-day science backing up thousand year old claims. Alongside being known for its unique depth of flavor and aromatic heat, the spice has now been proven to possess anti-bacterial, anti-parasitic, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory qualities.
In ancient Indian medicine (Ayurveda) ginger is said to raise the body’s “digestive fire”, a claim now backed up with substantial evidence. The herb’s ability to boost digestive capacity is its most powerful trait, and can increase the effectiveness of the body’s ability to fight against such stomach troubles as indigestion, bloating, stomach pain and nausea. By adding ginger to your cooking or even chewing a small amount prior to eating a meal, the herb can greatly aid in the food digestion process, and even quell feelings of nausea, and even morning sickness in pregnancy.
Alongside digestive remedies, modern science has further discovered that ginger root has the startling potential to subdue chemotherapy-related nausea in cancer patients. A trial of 644 cancer patients revealed that those who consumed ginger capsules before and after chemotherapy treatment endured significantly less nausea than those who took a placebo.
The cancer-preventative effects of ginger are being well-documented too. Scientists have found that ginger possesses the biological potential to stop the growth of cancer cells, particularly colon cancer cells. Furthermore in a 2009 a group of scientists published findings that pointed toward the ability of gingerol compounds to combat skin cancer.
Weight loss and blood sugar balance
Today the health and weight loss market is awash with products that promise to help you shed pounds, but little do people realize that there is a much more effective and natural weight loss remedy to help you get slim. When you consume ginger you temporarily increase your body’s metabolic process, which in turn boosts its ability to burn fat. Moreover it further helps to stabilize blood sugar imbalances and can have positive effects on insulin release and insulin action which helps to improve carbohydrate and fat metabolism.
How best to use Ginger
Ginger is an extremely versatile ingredient, not just for the many benefits it can have for the body, but also for the variety of ways it can be consumed Whether you’re slicing up into a stir fry, grating into a salad or using chopped chunks to make herbal tea, any ginger-infused food will reap powerful therapeutic effects for the body and give your meal a fiery aromatic flavor.
So, all in all ginger is pretty good stuff! Why not try each week to squeeze a little more ginger into your diet and see how much better you’ll feel!