The term "superfood" is often bandied around. Usually linked to the latest fad food group or diet, it can be hard to tell fact from fiction. In walks ginger. With a proven history and myriad benefits to boot, you will wonder why you haven't been using ginger all along.
A cornerstone of Asian dishes, ginger has long been hailed for its remedial qualities. Bursting with flavour and aroma, ginger is often used in stir-fries and many other recipes. The key to its power comes from the nutrients and bioactive compounds stored within. Originating in China, ginger belongs to the Zingiberaceae family. Similar to turmeric, cardamom, and galangal, this powerful spice can be enjoyed in a variety of ways, be it fresh, powdered, or dried. It can even be enjoyed as an oil or juice. With such a versatile repertoire, it is no wonder ginger has become hugely popular.
The use of ginger is deeper than just as a complement to a variety of dishes. Its use can be traced back centuries. Upset stomachs, nausea, and joint pain were all ailments that ginger was credited with being able to combat. Fast forward in time, numerous studies have now proven that the healing properties of ginger are more than just old wives tales. Below are 10 key health benefits you never knew this superfood had.
Ginger is known to aid the way the body breaks down and absorbs essential nutrients. This is due to the phenolic compounds contained within. Blending ginger into a healthy juice is the ideal way to kick-start the digestive process. A small piece of ginger is all that's needed to activate this process, helping you get the most out of this everyday health-booster.
Motion sickness or travel sickness affects us all at some point. Taking medication is not always the preferred option, and this is where our friendly superfood steps in. Chewing raw ginger can help alleviate the feeling of nausea, stimulating our body’s bile and saliva production. If chewing ginger is a little too hardcore, then ginger tea is a suitable alternative that is a lot easier to swallow. Another secret weapon in ginger's arsenal is helping to battle morning sickness. This is often an unavoidable part of pregnancy, but several studies have shown a significant reduction in symptoms of nausea with the use of ginger.
Regarded as a common remedy for centuries, there are numerous examples of ginger being used to reduce inflammation. This feature is derived from the compounds within ginger known as gingerols. These free radicals perform a number of tasks when ingested, including the breakdown of lipids and the bolstering of the body’s antioxidant stores. Patients with osteoarthritis are often recommended ginger as part of a treatment programme.
Whilst there is a traditional argument for ginger’s effectiveness in combating general pain, menstrual pain is where ginger really shines. As little as 1 gram of ginger a day can prove invaluable in tackling menstrual pain, most prominently when taken during the first 3 days of the menstrual cycle.
It may come as no surprise that this superfood is a natural immune-booster. Compounds that are diaphoretic have the ability to warm the body from within. Luckily for us, ginger is packed full, making it a great support to battling cold and flu. Sweating is part of the body’s way of releasing toxins. By stimulating this process through the consumption of ginger, we can fast-track the natural healing process and be back on our feet in no time!
Given ginger’s ability to activate our saliva and bile glands, it can be used as a precursor to your favourite meal. Similar to how it helps aid digestion, this production of essential fluids gets the body into a readiness state. If you are not feeling particularly peckish or you really need to eat but don't want to, ginger can help. Chewable ginger tablets are likely to be the most convenient way to stimulate this.
Considering we now know that ginger can be used to promote sweating and warm the body, it won’t come as a shock that it’s a natural ally in the fight against cold and flu. The way we consume ginger can also influence how we beat our symptoms. Ginger tea with a slice of lemon is a potent remedy for blasting cold symptoms as soon as they start. Whilst the tea will soothe your throat, the steam given off can help clear blocked sinuses.
Some studies have shown that ginger, or more specifically, gingerol can inhibit different types of bacteria. This defensive mechanism can prove useful to the body when fighting off common infections. Although ginger is far from a cure-all, it is said to be useful in treating harmful oral bacteria like gingivitis or periodontitis.
One of ginger’s many digestive-boosting properties includes tackling that dreaded bloated feeling. The culprit may vary from person to person, but we have all fallen foul to particular foods groups, causing us to become excessively bloated after eating. Ginger combats this by helping promote enzymes trypsin and pancreatic lipase. Both increase food’s mobility through the digestive tract.
Ginger is truly worthy of the superfood status it has earned. Whilst many foods will claim to be great health foods, ginger has a history steeped in proven accounts of its benefits. Given the versatility of how it can be ingested, there is no reason why ginger cannot be incorporated into your daily diet. When it comes to getting the best bang for your buck, nothing even comes close to ginger.