For centuries, ginger has been hailed as a delicious spice with numerous medicinal, culinary and therapeutic benefits. Packed with nutrients and bioactive compounds, it’s the world’s most widely cultivated spice, and studies have shown that it can provide benefits for those suffering from a variety of health conditions. Here are just a few of the benefits of eating ginger, as well as a few ideas for adding it into your daily diet.
Reduces nausea and motion sickness. Ginger is perhaps best known for its ability to reduce nausea and motion sickness, including morning sickness in pregnant women and nausea in chemotherapy patients.
Settles stomach issues. Ginger contains phenolic compounds, which can help digestion and can prevent bloating and flatulence. It can also calm an upset stomach.
Reduces general pain and inflammation. Gingerol, one of ginger’s main components, is a powerful anti-inflammatory compound that can help alleviate joint and muscle pain, including arthritis, migraines and menstrual pain.
Healthy for people with diabetes. Along with following a controlled carbohydrate diet and taking medications recommended by their physician, eating ginger can be beneficial to people with diabetes. Ginger increases the release of insulin, inhibits enzymes in carbohydrate metabolism, improves lipid profiles and has a very low glycemic index.
Helps the heart. Ginger is loaded with potassium, manganese, chromium, magnesium and zinc, all of which can benefit those with heart conditions. It lowers cholesterol, regulates blood pressure, improves blood flow and prevents blocked arteries and blood clots.
So how can you incorporate ginger into your daily diet? We suggest adding it to your morning smoothie, steeping slices of it in your tea or adding it to your next stir-fry or fish recipe. Here's a fun gingery recipe you can use during the holidays, as well as an everyday nausea-fighting remedy using ginger. Plus, we've got a few more ways to make this your healthiest holiday season yet.
Maple Gingerbread Cookies
2 cups white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup flax meal
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
Powdered sugar for topping
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, flax meal, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. In another larger bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the butter at medium speed until you get a creamy consistency. Add in the brown sugar and beat until fluffy. Beat in one egg, maple syrup and ginger.
At low speed, slowly beat in dry ingredients just until combined. Wrap in plastic and let dough refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Form dough into balls and flatten onto parchment paper with the bottom of a measuring cup. In a small bowl, beat the remaining egg and brush it over the tops of the cookies. Bake for 10 minutes and top with sifted powdered sugar.
Minty Ginger Nausea Fighter
In a saucepan, bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add 2 teaspoons of dried peppermint (or 1 tablespoon fresh), and 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger. Turn off the heat, cover, and steep for 15 minutes. Strain out the herbs. Stir in 1 teaspoon of honey.
Need more ways to make this the healthiest holiday season yet? Read our tips for staying fit during the winter months.