Ginger is a popular spice that comes from the root of the flowering plant Zingiber officinale. It’s known for its strong, aromatic flavor and is commonly used in both sweet and savory dishes.
It’s often used in Asian cuisine and can be found in various forms, such as fresh, dried, ground, or as a paste. Ginger is also known for its potential health benefits, including anti-inflammatory and digestive properties..
How is Ginger served
Ginger can be served in various ways, depending on your preferences and the culinary application:
Fresh: Fresh ginger is often used in cooking and can be sliced, grated, minced, or julienned to add flavor to dishes.
Tea: Ginger tea is a popular beverage. You can make it by steeping fresh ginger slices or ginger powder in hot water. It’s often enjoyed with honey and lemon.
Pickled: Pickled ginger, also known as “gari,” is commonly served with sushi to cleanse the palate between bites.
Candied: Candied ginger is made by coating ginger pieces in sugar, giving it a sweet and spicy flavor. It can be eaten as a snack or used in desserts.
Powdered: Ground ginger is used as a spice in a variety of recipes, including curries, baked goods, and spice blends.
Syrups and Sauces: Ginger can be used to make ginger syrup or ginger sauce, which can be drizzled over desserts, used in cocktails, or as a condiment for savory dishes.
Smoothies: Fresh or powdered ginger can be added to smoothies for a zesty flavor and potential health benefits.
Herbal Remedies: Ginger is used in traditional herbal remedies, such as ginger capsules, ginger tinctures, or ginger lozenges, for its potential health benefits.
The way ginger is served can vary greatly depending on the cuisine and the desired flavor profile, whether it’s adding a spicy kick to a savory dish or a sweet, aromatic touch to a dessert or beverage.
Why you should eat Ginger
Ginger offers several potential health benefits:
Digestive Aid: Ginger can help alleviate nausea, reduce indigestion, and ease motion sickness.
Anti-Inflammatory: It contains compounds that may reduce inflammation and help manage inflammatory conditions.
Immune Support: Ginger has immune-boosting properties and may help fend off common illnesses.
Pain Relief: It may alleviate menstrual pain and muscle soreness due to its anti-inflammatory effects.
Antioxidant: Ginger contains antioxidants that combat oxidative stress and may lower the risk of chronic diseases.
Heart Health: Some studies suggest it can reduce blood pressure and lower the risk of heart disease.
Anti-Nausea: Ginger can be effective in reducing nausea, especially during pregnancy or chemotherapy.
Weight Management: It may help with weight loss by increasing metabolism and reducing appetite.
Remember to incorporate ginger into a balanced diet rather than relying solely on it for health benefits. It can be consumed fresh, in teas, or as a spice in various dishes.
Sources include: USDA
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0.8 g 1%
Saturated fat 0.2 g 1%
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Sodium 13 mg 0%
Potassium 415 mg 11%
Total Carbohydrate 18 g 6%
Dietary fiber 2 g 8%
Sugar 1.7 g
Protein 1.8 g 3%
Vitamin C 8% Calcium 1%
Iron 3% Vitamin D 0%
Vitamin B6 10% Cobalamin 0%
What Are the Health Benefits of Ginger?
Ginger contains more than 400 chemical compounds, but researchers believe the gingerol compounds are the ones responsible for the root’s health benefits.
1. Soothes an Upset Stomach
The chemical compounds in ginger are believed to ease stomach pain and aid digestion. Modern research has found evidence that it can be helpful.
Ginger has long been proposed as a remedy to ease morning sickness during pregnancy — studies have shown it’s a safe and possibly effective way to help reduce nausea.
But its ability to help with stomach issues goes beyond pregnancy. Ginger may also help relieve nausea and vomiting after surgery and in people going through chemotherapy.
Eating ginger may improve indigestion symptoms by helping the stomach empty faster. One small study found that taking 1.2 g of ginger capsules before a meal sped up the digestion process in people with indigestion.
2. Reduces Inflammation
Ginger is sometimes taken as a supplement for rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis (two painful conditions causing joint damage). Since ginger is an anti-inflammatory, it may also be able to ease joint pain due to inflammation from arthritis.
An older study found that people with knee osteoarthritis who took ginger extract had less pain and used less pain medication. But they did experience some mild stomach upset because of the higher concentration of ginger extract.
3. Lowers Blood Sugar
Adding ginger to your diet could help improve blood sugar levels and lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. In one study on people with type 2 diabetes, researchers found that those who took 1,600 milligrams (mg) of ginger powder for 12 weeks had improved insulin sensitivity, lower triglycerides, and lower total cholesterol when compared with the control group.
Another study found that 2 g of powdered ginger supplement per day significantly lowered fasting blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes. (12)
4. Reduces Cancer Risk
The root might be a powerful weapon in the fight against cancer. Researchers have found evidence that gingerol (an active compound in ginger) has cancer-fighting abilities. Namely, it may help in the prevention and treatment of gastrointestinal cancers. (5,13) Its high antioxidant content is likely responsible for fighting off cancer cell growth. In fact, the antioxidants in ginger may even help to slow the aging process.
5. Relieves Menstrual Cramps
When it comes to period pain, ginger might actually be right up there with pain medications, like ibuprofen (Advil). Once study found that women who took 250 mg ginger capsules four times a day had the same pain relief as those who took 250 mg of mefenamic acid or 400 mg ibuprofen capsules four times per day.
6. Mitigates Respiratory Viruses
In addition to its many other benefits, gingerol might help prevent infections. One study found fresh ginger may be effective against the respiratory syncytial virus (HRSV), a common cause of cold-like symptoms and respiratory infections.
When buying ginger for a recipe, it’s healthier to opt for the fresh root rather than the dried, powdered form. You’ll get more of the gingerol that way.
The root should be smooth and firm with no shriveling or mold on it. Peel away the brown layer of skin with a vegetable peeler or paring knife, and then slice or chop it any way you’d like.