You ask why ginger has so many health benefits. Why is it on top of the list when it comes to “healthy” food ingredients? Well, it has been proven scientifically to have antioxidant, antimicrobial, antiemetic, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antiviral, antibacterial, antineoplastic properties! Can you think of any other “anti” property ginger might have? Most of us know that ginger helps us to relieve pain in one way or the other. But why does it do so.
In this article, we review the health benefits of ginger (most of us know this!), the components that endow it so much, how we can incorporate it into our diet and finally if there are any side effects.
Health benefits of ginger
This aspect of the article is more like a refresher than a new knowledge. But if this is new to you, you would find it very informative. Ginger has been proven to help with digestion, stomach upset and nausea. It is the number one ingredient for people considering weight loss because, it is said to increase metabolism.
Ginger can enhance absorption of nutrients and relieve constipation and flatulence. It also helps stimulate blood circulation throughout the body. There is a current surge in anti-inflammatory food and ginger has its special position on that list too. It is simply soothing when taken on a cold day. Adding ginger to your diet is one of the simplest ways to improve your health.
Reasons why ginger has so many health benefits
A research published by Prasad and Tyagi on how the constituents of ginger can be used to prevent or treat gastrointestinal cancers mentioned that there are over 400 distinct compounds in ginger based on chemical analysis! That’s truly impressive! And also makes ginger special. This same research mentioned that carbohydrates, lipids, phenolic and terpene compounds are the main components of ginger. Now, the terpenes and phenols are where the real deal is. To prevent any confusion, refer to the picture below for what constitutes terpenes and phenols (the names of the terpene compounds are truly jaw breaking so please be careful!).
Above are some of the compounds in ginger that make it powerful and give it all those “anti” properties. Apart from the already mentioned components, there are also some proteins, vitamins, fibre and amino acids found in ginger. Now you have an idea of why ginger has so many health benefits.
How to incorporate ginger into your diet
With all the immense benefits of ginger, it is important to incorporate it into your diet. In fact, it is one of the easiest ways to maintain a healthy body.
You can make ginger tea very easily using just two ingredients – ginger and water. Any other thing you add is by choice. Just wash some fresh ginger, cut it into pieces and boil with water in a clean saucepan for about 5mins. Strain to get your tea. A really good combination is honey. You can use ginger powder instead of the fresh roots as well.
Ginger is a go-to spice for marinating all kinds of meat. Blend it and it in generous amounts to marinate your chicken, beef, lamb, pork, or any other meat. You would love the taste.
Cooking soups and stews
Add fresh blended ginger or the powder to your stews and soups. You could add it at the same stage as onions or tomatoes in order for it to mix well with the other ingredients.
Eating fresh ginger
This could be unpleasant as ginger, depending on its maturity and variety, could be bitter or very hot. But if you want something to warm up your tummy, this is quite good. You’ll be getting all the nutrients!
Another way to consume fresh ginger is to prepare ginger shots. Just add a little bit of water and honey to fresh ginger (washed!). Blend the mix and strain. The shots (are hot!) are filled with all those compounds mentioned above and you can enjoy it!
Side effects of ginger
Yes, ginger has all those great benefits mentioned. “So can I eat it in any amounts at any time and anyhow?” Absolutely not! Moderation is key in everything. Too much ginger may cause heartburn, especially if you are spice-intolerant. Some people too have experienced stomach upset, bloating and mouth irritation. Some studies have also mentioned that the anti-ulcerogenic effect of ginger may be both a benefit and a drawback. How specifically it is a drawback is out of the scope of this article.
Now we have added on some more vocabulary on the “anti” properties of ginger. These properties are due to numerous beneficial compounds that find themselves there naturally. And while it is good to incorporate ginger into your meals as one of the easiest ways of maintaining a healthy body, you should do so in moderation.
If you want to know more about the anti properties of ginger, click here to read the review published by Najim in the Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytotherapy on the potential health benefits of ginger.
And as you’ll know, L&J Foods produces spice pastes product which contain generous amounts of ginger in predetermined quantities. Check out our Jala Spices if you are interested to know our ginger-based products.