Food as Medicine: The Power of Ginger

 

“To keep the body in good health is a duty – otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear” – Buddha

Ginger is the root or underground stem (rhizome) of the ginger plant. It has a long history of use in Asian and Indian cuisine. Historically, ginger is recognized as being very effective in alleviating symptoms of gastrointestinal distress. It is referred to in herbal medicine, as a carminative (a substance which promotes the elimination of intestinal gas) and intestinal spasmolytic (a substance which relaxes and soothes the intestinal tract). Current scientific research shows that ginger possesses numerous therapeutic properties. It is loaded with nutrients and bioactive substances that have powerful benefits for the body.

Benefits of Ginger

  • Ginger is best known for its ability to relax and soothe the intestinal tract and relieve nausea, especially morning sickness. It is also effective for the relief of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.
  • As a carminative, it promotes the elimination of intestinal gas.
  • The active substance, gingerol, can help fight infections and protect against cancer.
  • Several studies show ginger to be protective against age-related decline in brain function. The antioxidants and bioactive compounds can inhibit inflammatory responses that occur in the brain.
  • The anti-inflammatory effects of ginger can help reduce muscle soreness and pain that result from exercise or health conditions such as menstrual pain and arthritis.
  • [tweetthis]Ginger is a powerful antioxidant that protects cells.[/tweetthis] Its active substances can also help fight infection, such as colds and flues.
  • Research with type 2 diabetes shows that ginger may drastically lower blood sugar and improve heart disease risk factors.
  • The pungent constituent of ginger, 6-shogaol, provides an anti-cough effect and current research shows that it can kill cancer stem cells, which are at the root of cancer malignancy. This substance may also prevent reoccurrences of breast cancer.
  • A recent study showed that ginger, along with artichoke, significantly promotes gastric motility without adverse effects.
  • The substance 6-gingerol in ginger is also effective in alleviating symptoms of allergic rhinitis.

Use fresh ginger as often as possible in recipes and beverages to benefit from its many health-promoting properties – it is one of the healthiest foods on the planet.

 

Featured Recipe, Ginger Dressingginger2

Ingredients:

·         4 tablespoons of seasoned rice vinegar

·         4 tablespoons of mirin (Japanese cooking wine)

·         2 tablespoons of cold-pressed grapeseed oil or other neutral tasting oil

·         2 tablespoons of tamari (low-sodium wheat-free soy sauce)

·         4 tablespoons of sweet onion, chopped

·         2 medium-sized carrots, chopped

·         2 tablespoons of fresh ginger root, peeled and chopped

·         ½ teaspoon of dark sesame oil

Preparation:

·         1. Place all ingredients into a high-speed blender.

·         2. Blend on high until dressing is smooth and creamy.

·         3. Serve on salads or use as a dip for vegetables. This dressing will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to a week.

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