Ginger: The Magical Spice
I wanted to share some pro tips on ways to use ginger that can help with pain, weight loss and provide anti-inflammatory attributes.
Ginger is full of digestive, disease-fighting and fat-burning compounds that make it one of the most beneficial spices that you can add to meals, snacks and drinks.
Here are some benefits of using ginger:
- Ginger reduces menstrual pain as effectively as drugs such as mefenamic acid and ibuprofen. Encourage your patients to use ginger in their diet to help reduce menstrual pain (1).
- Ginger boosts weight loss. Fresh or ground ginger can help patients lose weight by accelerating fat-burning, helping with carbohydrate digestion and better control over how much insulin your body secretes. Eating or drinking ginger can boost calorie burn and reduce the feeling of hunger (2).
- Ginger supports healthy digestion by stimulating saliva, which breaks food down better as you chew it. Ginger also boosts your body’s natural digestive enzymes for better absorptions of nutrients and minerals (3)
- Ginger is a very strong carminative, meaning it can encourage excess gas elimination. Gas after surgery can be painful. Consuming ginger can force the gas down and out in a healthy way without additional medications. (4)
- Gingerol, the main component in ginger is packed with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant attributes. Ginger releases antioxidants of other healthy foods you eat as well, which makes good food, even better! Lots of antioxidants slow signs of aging. (3)
- Gingerol is also good for fighting infections. Encouraging patients to take ginger before and after surgery can help the body fight off any viruses that could delay the surgery. (2)
With all the great reasons to add ginger to your diet, let me show you some ways you can actually do it. Aim to add 1 inch of ginger to most recipes. You can use ground ginger if you want, but the root is so much tastier and powerful.
Ginger can be minced or grated. Just remove the skin with a paring knife and chop up. Or you can buy minced ginger in the store.
Here are 5 ways to add more ginger into your diet:
- Drink ginger tea. I love the taste of ginger tea, especially if you add a cinnamon stick and some honey - AMAZING! The best part about this recipe is that you don't need to peel the ginger at all. Just slice it up into slivers and throw it in a pot of water. Boil the water and steep for about 10 minutes. If you want, throw a cinnamon stick in as well when you start to boil the water. I generally boil my water first, then pour it over the ginger and cinnamon stick allowing it to steep for 10 minutes, but keep the water in a pot on low heat to keep it warm.
- Peel, chop and add ginger to stir fry. It doesn't matter what the recipe is that you are using. Ginger will add zing to anything. It's great when you taste something in your meal and you think, what is that? It's the ginger adding life to anything you cook. You can peel and chop the ginger and saute it in a pan for a minute to unleash its fragrance then continue the recipe as written.
- Add to smoothies. I have a wonderful treat for you today. This is one of my favorite smoothies called the Strawberry Ginger Zinger. It's luxurious and I almost feel bad drinking it, but it's packed with nutrients and it's good for you. The ginger adds in all the extra layers of goodness I mentioned above.
- Again, if you mince or crush ginger and add it to any meat, tofu or veggie dish, you'll notice a difference. Add the ginger in the beginning so it has a chance to unlock its flavor and cook as prescribed.
- Add ginger to any soup. This is a great idea. You may need a little ginger at first, but if you have a similar experience as I did, you will find yourself being more aggressive with getting more ginger in your diet.
These are just some simple ways to get started.
1 Ozgoli, G., Goli, M., Moattar, F. (2009). Comparison of effects of ginger, mefenamic acid and ibuprofen on pain in women with primary dysmenorrhea. J Altern Complement Med, 15 92), 129-32.
2 Wang, ., Ke, W., Bao, R., Hu, X., & Chen, F. (2017, May 15). Beneficial effects of ginger Zingiber officinale Roscoe on obesity and metabolic syndrome: A Review. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences.https://doi.org/10.1111/nyas.13375
3 Mansour, M., Ni, Y., Roberts, A., Kelleman, M., RoyChoudhury, A. & St-Onge, M. (2012). Ginger consumption enhances the thermic effect of food and promotes feelings of satiety without affecting metabolic and hormonal parameters in overweight men. Metabolism, 61(10), 1347-52.
4 Bhandar, U., Sharma, J. & Zafar, R. (1998). The protective action of ethanolic ginger (Zingiber officinale) extract in cholesterol fed rabbits. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 611(2), 167-171.