Ginger. If you are aware that your daily diet can be a medicine for you, then ginger will not be missing from your kitchen. Still with you? Then read where it could help you all.
What is ginger?
The ginger that can be bought fresh everywhere these days is a piece of rhizome from a ginger plant. The ginger plant belongs to the family of plants that also includes turmeric, cardamom and galanga root. The ginger root can also be purchased as a ground spice in a jar and as pieces in a drizzly-sweet syrup, but I usually advocate using fresh ginger.
What is ginger good for?
Ginger has a lot of health benefits. The root has a 5,000+ year history as a medicine for all sorts of ailments that we women today often suffer from more than our ancestors. What is ginger good for?We explain 10 benefits of ginger to you below.
1. Ginger is a powerful anti-inflammatory
Chronic (hidden) inflammation underlies many of our current chronic diseases. Often you don’t feel these but they lurk in your body. Ginger is known as a powerful anti-inflammatory and can help you with a wide range of chronic symptoms and diseases. This active ingredient in ginger is called 6-gingerol.
2. Ginger can significantly reduce (menstrual) pain
For centuries, ginger has been a herb used to treat all kinds of pains, including menstrual pains. A study among 150 women showed that, if some ginger was taken every day at the start of the menstruation, it relieved the pain just as effectively as ibuprofen. Incidentally, ginger also proved to be a good remedy for muscle pain after exercise. Can also be useful!
3. Ginger reduces osteoarthritis and (rheumatic) arthritis
Many women suffer from arthritis sooner or later. More and more research shows that this is not the result of wear and tear but of chronic inflammation. Ginger helps on the one hand to counteract these chronic inflammations, but also fights the pain. A study of 247 people with osteoarthritis (often the precursor to arthritis) showed that those who were given an extract of ginger had less pain, which also meant they needed less pain medication.
4. Ginger increases nutrient absorption
This might be the reason why your body keeps nagging for food (too) often: your body then has too few nutrients to keep you healthy and sends you on a dietary path. Ginger can increase the absorption of nutrients from your intestines by up to 200%. This is a good reason to include some ginger in every dish. If you use ground ginger from a jar for this purpose your dish will not taste like ginger.
5. Ginger keeps your blood sugar levels in balance
Yet another way ginger can help you lose weight. An excessively high blood sugar level means that insulin is circulating in your blood; as long as there is insulin in your blood, it is impossible to lose weight. Ginger improves the action of insulin and your insulin sensitivity. It is able to increase the absorption of glucose from your muscle and fat cells, which will cause both your blood sugar level and also the insulin level in your blood to drop faster. This helps you with insulin resistance and obesity. To do this, combine ginger with some lemon juice.
6. Ginger helps with bloating and flatulence
Ginger stimulates the pancreas to produce various enzymes. This greatly stimulates your digestion. It also increases the contractions of your stomach, allowing your stomach contents to go to your intestines faster. This will reduce bloating. Ginger also improves peristalsis (contractions) in your intestines which can reduce flatulence.
7. Ginger has anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties
Flu and the common cold can be cured faster if you use ginger. Ginger has also been shown to inhibit the growth of the stubborn bacterium Helicobacter Pylori. This bacteria is found in your stomach and can be the cause of stomach cancer. There are several bacteria and viruses that are sensitive to ginger and like to wipe out when they come in contact with it.
8. Ginger improves brain functions
Traditionally, ginger has been used to improve memory. A study involving 60 middle-aged women found that a daily extract of ginger improved their reaction time and ability to concentrate and think. There are many studies involving rats that show ginger may protect against the decline of brain functions with age, including Alzheimer’s and dementia. This probably has everything to do with the anti-inflammatory effects of ginger.
9. Ginger is effective in cancer prevention
We all have cancer cells in our bodies. Cancer is characterized by the uncontrolled growth of cells that don’t quite know how to shut down and break themselves down. The sooner these cells are cleared by your body the better; cancer should be fought while it is still vulnerable. Several animal studies have shown that 6-gingerol in ginger blocks the growth of several cancers, particularly colon cancer. There is limited evidence that ginger may be effective in pancreatic cancer, breast cancer and ovarian cancer, among others. But why wait for evidence when you can add some ginger to your menu today without any side effects?
10. Ginger counters nausea
Have you just had surgery, are you going through chemo, are you easily car sick or are you pregnant? These are all possible causes of nausea that you can counteract with ginger. For example, you can make ginger tea. Soak a piece of ginger in a mug or a jug of hot water and drink it in small sips.
Beware if you use blood thinners or have gallstones
Since ginger thins your blood, be careful with blood thinners. Ask your doctor whether you can replace (some of) your blood thinners (with side effects!) with ginger. Blood thinners are not drugs, they will not make you better. Change your diet and try to get rid of them. Your body will thank you.
Ginger can also increase the release of bile acid. If you have gallstones or problems with your gallbladder be careful with large amounts of ginger as well. Ginger is warming. If you suffer from hot flashes or night sweats, try ginger to make it worse.
How do you store ginger?
Fresh ginger is best kept in the fridge with the peel in a plastic bag without air. Ginger can also be kept outside the fridge, but in the vegetable compartment of your fridge, it will keep a little longer: up to three weeks.
Have you already peeled the ginger? No problem, even now you can still store the ginger. Place it in an acidic liquid such as rice wine, rice vinegar or fresh lime juice. Although this may affect the taste.
Freezing? Yes, you can. In fact, there are several ways to do this. First, you can freeze the ginger root whole. Then grate a little bit off when you need it. The rest of the ginger can then be put back into the freezer.
You can also grate the ginger root before freezing it. Place the grated ginger in small piles on a plate and place the plate in the freezer. When the ginger grater is frozen, you can store it in a container in the freezer. Very convenient, because now you can thaw the ginger by the serving and the ginger will remain usable for up to six months. It is also possible to freeze in slices or cubes in a container. In principle, you do not even need to defrost the ginger before use.
Drying fresh ginger Would you like to be able to keep ginger even longer? Then drying is the last option. Grate the ginger root and spread the grating on baking paper. Let this dry for about four days in a cool, dry place. Now that the ginger is dried, you can keep it for up to a year.