There’s more to ginger than its bold flavor. Used widely in the kitchen, especially across Asia, ginger is chockfull of nutrients and compounds to support better health and fight ailments.
You may think that spicy ginger would irritate the stomach, but ginger is in fact a soothing herb. It can be used to ease indigestion and reduce gas, bloating and flatulence. If you fight gas or indigestion often, try adding fresh ginger to your meals or have an after-dinner cup of ginger tea. Think about it: you rarely see a dish prepared in China without fresh ginger, and pickled ginger is always served with sushi in Japan. That’s because it not only tastes delicious, but it supports healthy digestion, especially when consumed with your meal.
The spicy component of ginger can also stoke your internal fire and rev up your metabolism. Metabolic function is boosted by spicy food, so your body will more efficiently break down fats and proteins, and convert your food into energy.
Ginger is also known to be a mild stimulant and can be used to promote circulation. That’s why I often enjoy sipping ginger tea on cold days to get the blood pumping and generate an overall feeling of warmth. This same benefit of ginger that supports circulation has also been shown to help lower high blood pressure and keep the blood flowing to prevent blood clots.
Another surprising find is that ginger can reduce motion sickness, morning sickness and nausea. Mom might have been right when she made you eat those ginger snaps on long road trips!
If you’re battling nausea, you might also be battling a cold or flu – both of which may also be helped with some ginger. Ginger is a natural anti-viral, so it will help fight off pesky illnesses and has been shown to heat up the human body to help induce fever. Fever is the body’s natural defense against cold and flu, and with a little help from this powerful herb, you can attack the root of your flu and find faster relief from your symptoms.
The best way to leverage ginger’s healing properties is to add it to your diet whenever possible. You can find ginger at your local grocery store, and if you wrap it in a paper towel and cover with a plastic bag, you can store it for months. I like to throw fresh ginger into salads and stir-fry dishes, or even use it as a meat tenderizer. If adding ginger into your daily diet isn’t quite convenient enough, it’s also available in capsule form – but I say, the fresher the better!