Ginger is an amazing herb, possessing powerful aromatic, warming, reviving and toning qualities. Indian medicine has long prized the relevance of this root for the effective treatment of a variety of conditions. And now, research and clinical studies have substantiated the use of ginger as folk medicine, linking the ginger root to several striking health benefits, giving it a status of super food!
Zingiber officinale or ginger is a flowering plant that has a long history and tradition celebrating its fantastic medicinal properties. Zingiber has been derived from the Sanskrit word ‘singabera’ that means horn shaped. Native to India and China, ginger is a very liberally used element in our dishes. It has, since the ancient times been valued for its culinary as well as medicinal values. Including the zingy herb into your diet promises you a long list of impressive health benefits as well as adds punches of flavor to your dishes!
10 remarkable health benefits of ginger
Ginger comes in diverse forms—fresh, dried, powdered, and essential oil. The benefits of ginger are so potent and all-encompassing that even if you aren’t a fan of the herb, it's absolutely worth trying to sneak some into your diet! Integrating ginger into your diet is a wonderful way of experiencing its phenomenal healing powers, while it lends a full-bodied kick to completely ordinary dishes. In fact, the importance of ginger cannot be stressed upon enough – so, let’s jump straight into the benefits of eating ginger!
1. A potent tummy tamer!
We’ve been using ginger to tackle stomach troubles and disorders since thousands of years. Traditionally, the ginger has been used alleviate stomach distress. The active principle gingerol is a robust anti-inflammatory agent, which effectively deals with inflammations, proffers anti-septic properties and also has strong anti-emetic qualities. Ginger is an excellent carminative and eliminates gas and is a spasmolytic, meaning it banishes stomach cramps and soothes the GI tract. Importantly, research has backed these virtues of ginger which have been handed down to us for centuries. Ginger can also successfully tackle nausea, vomiting, motion sickness, heartburn and quickly eases a queasy stomach. In fact, the root is good for motion sickness and helps decrease all the associated symptoms - nausea, vomiting, faintness and sweating. Ginger tea is a time-honored home remedy for boosting digestion, and has been used since time decades to treat upset stomachs.
2. Ginger keeps your heart happy!
The herb can help control and monitor your cholesterol levels effectively. It enhances the functioning of the enzyme which increases your body’s ability to use cholesterol, thus decreasing blood cholesterol levels in the process. Many studies and clinical trials have demonstrated that ginger has formidable lipid-lowering abilities, which prevents a buildup of plaque and atherosclerosis, and thus keep the heart working optimally. So, take control of your cholesterol profile by integrating plenty of ginger into your diet!
3. Keeps the blood sugar profile stable.
The ginger is linked to healthier blood sugar levels and lesser fluctuations in the blood sugar profile. Experts claim that this is due to gingerol's ability to accelerate the speed at which muscle and fat cells utilize glucose, thereby reducing blood sugar levels and helping diabetics immensely.
4. Ginger is a free-radical scavenger and may help prevent cancer.
Innumerable clinical studies and laboratory investigations bear witness to the fact that ginger has very strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant abilities which play a pivotal part in preventing diseases like cancer. Brimming over with robust antioxidants, the herb scavenges and annihilates free radicals and thus wards of oxidative stress to the cells in the body. Oxidative stress is responsible for the development of cardiac diseases, premature aging, diabetes mellitus, neurodegenerative illnesses and cancer. The gingerols are very forcefully anti-inflammatory and proffer noteworthy antioxidant properties.
5. Ginger for a slimmer waist!
Launch your weight loss journey and send your metabolism into an overdrive with ginger! The ginger promises to suppress your appetite, quell frequent hunger pangs and step up your metabolic rate, thus facilitating weight reduction. Employ this awesome calorie scorching hack - substitute your morning fruit juice with a ginger tea; it will cut back on your daily calorie intake by a stupendous amount. So, take a big step toward weight reduction by stocking up on ginger which will enhance digestion and kick-start your metabolism.
6. Fights those agonizing menstrual cramps.
Experts allege that ginger might just be the wonder drug that you've been looking for to deal with period cramps. Consuming ginger root powder or saunth for the first 2 days of the menses works miracles. Studies show that ginger can be to ease agonizing and excruciating period pain.
7. Battles morning sickness naturally.
Ginger is of special use in the management of morning sickness during pregnancy. While the form in which ginger is taken, the dosage levels, and the frequency tend to be different, ginger greatly helps ease pregnancy-related nausea and vomiting. The herb is advocated in cases of hyperemesis gravidarum – which is the most severe form of morning sickness. It guarantees to bring down the intensity, duration and frequency of episodes drastically. However, be sure to confer with your OB/GYN and do discuss the dosage and consumption.
8. Bolsters your immune mechanism against flu.
When you're feeling under the weather and you feel the flu is coming on, have a glass of ginger tea. The gingerols put up a very strong fight against the virus, allay pain and discomfort, pacify a cough, and bring down the fever. Ginger fires up the multiplication of T-cells, which fortify the immune system and destroy all attacking pathogens, keeping our immune system in top-notch form.
9. Ginger for arthritis.
Being incredible anti-inflammatory agents, the gingerols have shown to lessen the severity of arthritis significantly. Gingerols work at a cellular level and possess strong anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antioxidant properties. Experts state that ginger reduces inflammation, swelling and pain in the afflicted joints and can be an alternative to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Ginger is recommended for cases of osteoarthritis as well as rheumatoid arthritis and yields brilliant results. Ginger helps improve joint mobility as well and improves your range of movement when consumed on a daily basis. Also, this is where the benefits of ginger oil come in to play; along with consuming a decoction of the root, applying ginger oil to the affected joints offers remarkable pain relief as well.
10. Ginger for a razor-sharp brain!
Ginger can prevent oxidative stress related cognitive impairment. If you consume ginger in some form, on a regular basis, it can help enhance your memory and boost your brain health.
Why you should have a glass of fresh herbal ginger tea every so often!
Ginger tea benefits are outstanding! This brew has a gorgeous light orange-gold color, and its taste is hot, pungent and zesty. Ginger tea is a diaphoretic tea, i.e. it warms you from inside out and is particularly good when flu is coming on. It warms you up and makes you feel good!
Using the fresh root makes the brew a wee bit sweet; while dried ginger is more pungent and hotter. The ginger tea is an ideal health tonic; and is a refreshing drink to wake up to!
Whether you are using fresh grated ginger or dried ginger powder, add a substantial amount to a cupful of water and boil. Simmer until you have reduced the drink to half. Strain, cool and drink. You could add a dollop of honey to the brew as well; honey lends it a sweet touch and proffers a whole lot of its own health benefits too! You could also elevate the ginger tea by adding a pinch of cardamom powder to it! Reap the awesome benefits of ginger water by including the drink into your morning routine.
Cooking with ginger!
Given the notable health advantages and the punches of flavor it lends to any dish, ginger is an aromat that you most definitely should have in your pantry! Fortunately, the herb is very versatile¬ and pairs well with savory as well as sweet ingredients. Here are 5 fun and creative ways to incorporate the root in to your menu.
1. The morning smoothie: Embrace the medicinal value of ginger by adding it to your morning drink. The orange-coloured panagam from South India comprises of soonth, jaggery, lime juice, and powdered cardamom. Spiked with a smidge of the powdered root, this one is an out-and-out crunch point! It captures the sweetness of jaggery, with a mere suggestion of heat from ginger. Quick and easy, this drink wakes up your senses!
2. Our very own vinaigrette: This super awesome dressing is a cinch to make. Grated ginger, dhania-jeera powder, haldi, chili powder, lime juice, chopped coriander leaves and yogurt blend together delightfully. It is wonderful on a fresh salad, with roasted chicken or as a marinade for paneer masala.
3. Jams and pickles: Celebrating apples, this jam gets a huge zingy kick from grated fresh ginger! Apples, brown sugar, lemon juice, ginger, and cinnamon come together beautifully in this gorgeous golden jam! The jam is perfect on toast or as a topping for cookies, yogurt or ice cream! Similarly, people are over-enthusiastic about the ginger pickle! It is spicy, tangy, and bright! Young ginger is ideal for pickling, since it is easy to peel and the flesh is tender. What’s more, the sky’s the limit when it comes to this gorgeous herb, especially when pickled! Pickling makes its taste super adaptable and complex. Go right ahead and try out pickled ginger with khichdi, pulao, paratha, methi thepla, naan or anything that would benefit from ginger’s zingy spicy kick!
4. Spice blend: Add dried ginger powder to your existing masalas – garam masala, chhole masala, kitchen king masala, etc; just any spice blend that you favour! Mix well and store in a glass jar in a cool place. It works well with practically all dishes and cuisines.
5. Gehu saunth ladoo: These yummy ladoos have just the right amalgamation of condiments and a scrumptious gooey texture - they are sure to become your favourite! Whole wheat flour, ghee, saunth, gond, jaggery and almonds give this ladoo a stimulating, delicious and wholesome profile. They are ideal with a cup of tea or coffee, or as a mid-morning snack.
Selecting and storing ginger
Fresh ginger root is easily available in our markets year-round. When buying, you could opt for young ginger or mature ginger. Typically, young ginger has a whitish skin that need not be peeled; wash well, get rid of the grime and use. On the other hand, mature ginger has a tough dark skin that needs to be peeled before using. The root stores well in the refrigerator for 3 weeks. When purchasing ginger ensure that the root is fresh looking, firm, mould-free and having no signs of decay. If you are buying dried ginger powder, make sure that the ginger is organically grown and packaged well. Soonth needs to be kept in a tightly sealed glass jar, in a cold and dry place. It keeps well for up to 6 months.
While buying spices, always look out for its natural oils – as these oils enhance its nutritive value and help fortify the immune system. You could always #SpiceUpYourHealth with Tata Sampann Masale.
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