What is So Good About Ginger?

Ginger is especially popular with Asians, yet it was widely used even by ancient Greeks. It gives a particular flavour to dishes, and is a strong healing remedy.

Ginger root is popular in folk medicine, and is a powerful bio stimulator and immune modulator. It is irreplaceable for battling viral diseases and colds. But that’s not all.

What are the advantages of ginger?

Chemical structure of ginger

We need to know the chemical components of ginger to realize why it is so beneficial for our health. The root is the most widely utilised part.  The plant grows in Japan, India, Brazil, Jamaica, Argentina, China, West Africa and Vietnam. To understand whether it is ripe or not, check its upper leaves. They turn yellow and fall down. Ginger spreads via its roots which are popular in both medicine and cooking.

Ginger is used in cooking for its special aroma and taste, while medicine recognizes its numerous healing properties.

Ginger’s benefits are defined by its chemical structure: a successful combination of vitamins and minerals, and biologically active agents. This includes:

  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorous
  • Sodium
  • Potassium
  • Manganese
  • Chromium
  • Iron
  • Silicon
  • Aluminium
  • Nicotinic acid
  • Acetic acid
  • Fats: oleic acid, linoleic acid
  • Amino acids: leucine, methionine, threonine, phenylalanine, valine and tryptophan
  • Sugar and starch
  • Vitamin C
  • Asparagine
  • Choline
  • Essential oils

Although the above mentioned components can be supplied by other food products as well, ginger provides unique substances: zinghiben, gingerol, cineol, borneol, phellandrene, camphene, citral, linalool and bisabolene.

Ginger is a low-calorie plant. 100 grams of ginger root make as little as 80 kCal.

Ginger properties

Its therapeutic properties are used to tackle and prevent various disorders. When used with in certain measures, it is beneficial for:

  • the digestive system – meals spiced with ginger are easy to absorb, it enhances the feeling of hunger, stimulates gastric juice, eliminates indigestion and belching
  • the immune system – ginger battles ‘bad’ bacteria, has an antiseptic and anti-inflammation effect, it boosts immunity and blood circulation, ginger drinks warm the body
  • body detoxification – it is a perfect antihelminthic remedy, it contributes to excretion of toxins and wastes. That’s why it is significant in restoring health after contagious diseases and getting your energy back
  • the circulatory system – it is good for the blood vessels: it evokes strengthening and cleansing, eliminates cholesterol, regulates hypertension.
  • General vigour and mood – it is a bio-stimulator, and when you have some ginger in your food you will vibrant and cheerful.

If you want to prevent various health issues – take ginger regularly but moderately for:

  • bronchial asthma
  • stroke
  • diseases of the kidneys, liver and gallbladder
  • thrombosis
  • hormonal disorders
  • dyspeptic disorders
  • pain in the joints and muscles
  • rheumatism, arthritis and arthrosis
  • malignant neoplasms

One should be aware that ginger is an aphrodisiac. It enhances one’s sex drive

It is good for females as well. It tackles painful menstrual and premenstrual tension. Ginger is beneficial for the uterus, and relieves pregnancy toxicosis (dizziness, weakness, nausea). Including it in a pregnant woman’s diet may be quite useful, so it is worth seeking medical advice regarding this question.

To refresh your breath, just chew on a piece of ginger after meals. It acts as an antiseptic agent as well.

Why is ginger used in folk medicine?

Ginger is widely used in folk medicine for its outstanding properties. There are various ways to prepare and mix ginger with other components to get its full advantage:

Ginger powder available as spice can be mixed with:

  • Water to tackle headaches and rheumatism
  • Water, curcuma and chilly pepper to relieve pain in the back and joints
  • Boiled with a liter of water for 10 min to eliminate pain in the muscles
  • Nutmeg and homemade yogurt – to treat upset stomach

Fresh ginger battles:

  • Mouth and throat pain – chew a small amount of the root
  • Festering – make a compress with minced ginger to remove pus

Essential ginger oil deals with:

  • Psychic disorders and depression
  • Treating heavy stress and apathy

What makes ginger special in cooking?

It goes without saying, that adding ginger to food contributes to your health. Yet, even you don’t want to use too much of it, you can always have just a small amount to give your dish a special flavour.

You should be aware that it is a very concentrated spice especially when fresh, and can make meals too hot, so use it with caution.

As to the ways it can be utilized in cooking, there are lots of options. Use it in:

  • vegetable, meat, fish and fruit soups
  • meat dishes including beef, veal, pork, mutton as well as poultry – duck, chicken, turkey,
  • fish steaks
  • sushi (with pickled ginger)
  • vegetable dishes (mushrooms and stuffed veggies: tomatoes, pepper, egg-plants, vegetable marrows
  • homemade canned veggies (pickled cucumbers, pumpkin, etc.

Ginger goes well with drinks. This is a specific ingredient for warming up teas and chilling cocktails and compotes. It can be added to bakery (pies, cakes, cookies, buns and even bread) as well as alcohol beverages (liquors and punches, mulled wine and ginger ale).

Both fresh and dried ginger root can be used in cooking. To make ginger powder, you need to candy it with sugar, dry and then grind. You will get a very useful spice this way.

It should be mentioned that when we peel it, we remove lots of its useful parts. So just scratch ginger root like a carrot to reduce this waste and to get the maximum advantage.

Who needs to take ginger with caution?

Ginger is a spice with a strong smell and taste, so you obviously don’t want to have it too much. What is more, there are some disorders when specialists recommend restricting ginger consumption:

  • gastritis, stomach ulcers and duodenal ulcers
  • liver issues – cirrhosis, hepatitis, gallstones
  • ginger provokes bleeding, that’s why it should be avoided by persons suffering from any bleeding and hemorrhoids and nose bleeding in particular, as well as blood clotting issues
  • pregnancy – it eliminates toxicosis, stimulates the immune system, makes a pregnant woman feel better in general, yet it may have side effects and increases uterus tone. So it is better to consult a doctor as to the pros and cons for its intake by pregnant women
  • fever – ginger has a heating effect and thus enhances temperature, so it is inappropriate in a  stateof fever, and even dangerous

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