While the snickerdoodles and gingerbread men that are waltzing onto our tables are no health foods, the spice that gives them their signature flavor is another story entirely!

[To skip to the ginger recipes, click here!]

Human use of ginger dates back to ancient Chinese, Indian, and Middle Eastern societies, and ginger has been revered for its medicinal properties for almost as long as it has been a part of human cuisine.

The ginger plant hails from the Zingiberaceae family, the same one which brings us fat-fighting spices cardamom and turmeric. The part of this plant that gives us the spice is its root, and some of its most well-documented benefits are its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. A chemical in ginger called "gingerol" has been found to work with its other beneficial properties to decrease the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines in the body.

Gingerol has found to be specifically effective against synoviocytes and chrondrocytes, types of inflammatory chemicals produced in the joints, making it particularly useful for reducing the muscle pain associated with excercise and relieving the symptoms of osteoarthritis. This can lead to increased range of motion in the affected areas.

Gingerol has also has been shown to help us to hold onto more of the antioxidant glutathione, which our body can produce by itself, which can help stop the body from producing the compounds that lead to the formation of dangerous free radical peroxynitrite.

Ginger can even be as effective at treating menstrual pain as anti-inflammatory drugs ibuprofen and mefenamic acid, and can work to combat period-related water retention thanks to its diuretic properties.

Ginger's effect on inflammation has also been shown in mouse studies to be potentially beneficial in treating obesity. A supplement of ginger combined with green tea and capsaicin was found to have beneficial effects on weight and insulin metabolism.

ginger

Supplementation with ginger has also been found to lower fasting blood sugar in patients with type 2 diabetes, as well as Hemoglobin A1c levels, which indicates lower levels of glucose over time. Other studies indicated that ginger both modestly reduced the risk of diabetes and helped decrease the risk of complications in diabetic patients.

Additionally, ginger has been associated with significant reductions in cholesterol levels, triglyceride levels, and high blood pressure. Some studies have also indicated that ginger's anti-inflammatory properties may reduce the risk of cancer. Specific evidence has also been found for a potential preventative effect on ovarian, colorectal, and pancreatic cancers.

If you weren't impressed by all of the wonders ginger can work on your body, it can also give your brain a boost! Ginger has been found to improve reaction time and memory and inhibit brain inflammation, thus reducing the risk of devastating conditions like Alzheimer's disease.

Ginger has documented anti-bacterial effects and can inhibit the growth of even drug-resistant bacteria, which can lead to a lower risk of conditions ranging from gum disease to respiratory infections. It can also help relieve cold and flu symptoms by acting as a diaphoretic (meaning it can induce the cleansing process of sweating).

Evidence shows the phenolic compounds in ginger can help increase gut motility, thus helping fight constipation. Ginger has also been found to be superior to drugs like dramamine at reducing nausea caused by conditions ranging from seasickness to morning sickness and chemotherapy-induced nausea, as well as the nausea and vomiting that can occur after surgeries.

Ginger seems to be able to achieve this anti-nausea effect by speeding up digestion. However, though small-to-moderate amounts of ginger may relieve acid reflux by hastening the movement of food out of the stomach, large amounts may serve to trigger the disorders' symptoms in some individuals.

Overconsumption of ginger can also cause mouth irritation and diarrhea, and ginger should be used with caution by those on blood thinners or who have other serious medical conditions. Especially while dieting, you should also avoid ginger chews or candied ginger, which often contain unneccesary added sugar or corn syrup.

gingerfood

Luckily, ginger's medicinal effects can kick in after consuming as little as a third of an ounce of the spice. Though ginger is typically used in such small amounts as to be a negligible source of calories and nutrients, it does contain trace amounts of vitamins and minerals, including iron, vitamin C, potassium, vitamin B6, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, folate, riboflavin, and niacin.

You can store fresh ginger in your refrigerator for about three weeks before it starts to deteriorate, or freeze for it up to six months. Fresh ginger is the best option because it will contain highest levels of beneficial chemicals, but powdered ginger has a longer shelf life of between 6 months and a year.

One easy way to incorporate more ginger into your diet is to use it to flavor your water or tea. Or, you could just give it a try in these three great recipes!

Oriental Ginger Chicken

american or asian

All the taste of your favorite Chinese food and none of the pifalls! Estimated nutritional value of 184 calories, 4 g fat, 77 mg cholesterol, 3.4 g carbohydrate, .7 g fiber, 32.9 g protein, and 2 g sugar.

Prep Time
5 minutes
Cook time
20 minutes
Yield
Makes 1 serving (1 protein)

Ingredients

  • 100 grams chicken
  • ¼ cup chicken broth or water
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon lemon or orange zest
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ginger
  • 4 tablespoons Bragg’s liquid aminos
  • 1 tablespoon chopped onion
  • Stevia to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Cayenne pepper to taste

Directions
In a small sauce pan, sauté chicken in a little lemon juice and water until slightly browned. Add spices, ginger, salt, lemon and stevia. Add Bragg's liquid aminos and cook thoroughly. Deglaze the pan periodically by adding a little water. Serve hot and garnish with lemon or orange slices.

Recipe provided by

Gingered Beef

%img description%

Who needs the gingerbread man when you've got this delicious ginger beef recipe! Estimated nutritional value of 217 calories, 6.9 g fat, 89 mg cholesterol, 3 g carbohydrate, .4 g fiber, 35.1 g protein, and 1.1 g sugar.

Prep Time
5 minutes
Cook time
20 minutes
Yield
Makes 1 serving (1 protein)

Ingredients

  • 100 grams beef cut into thin strips
  • ¼ cup beef broth or water
  • 2 tablespoons Bragg’s liquid aminos
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1-2 tablespoons chopped green onions
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh grated ginger
  • 1 clove garlic crushed and minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Stevia to taste (optional)

Directions
Sauté ginger and spices in broth and liquid ingredients to release the flavors. Add the beef and stir fry gently. Deglaze the pan periodically by adding a little water. Add the chopped green onions and serve hot.

Recipe provided by

Sweet Ginger Shrimp

sweet ginger shrimp

This sweet shrimp recipe is here to save your dinner day! Estimated nutritional value of 155 calories, 2.4 g fat, 211 mg cholesterol, 6.7 g carbohydrates, .4 g fiber, 25.6 g protein, and 3.7g sugar.

Prep Time
5 minutes
Cook time
20 minutes
Yield
Makes 1 serving (1 protein)

Ingredients

  • 100 grams shrimp
  • ¼ cup vegetable broth or water
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons Bragg’s liquid aminos
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh or powdered ginger
  • Pinch of chili powder
  • Dash of garlic powder
  • Dash of onion powder
  • Stevia to taste
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Directions
Mix dry spices with vegetable broth and liquid ingredients. Sauté with shrimp in small saucepan stirring continuously until cooked. Add water to deglaze the pan periodically until desired consistency is reached.

Recipe provided by

Message Us Message Us