I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with ginger. Ginger reminds me of a concoction my Ouma used to give me when I got a cold- hot water, honey or sugar, and Jamaican ginger. I am convinced to this day that aside from its medicinal properties, its main function was to scare away colds and flu rather than doing actual healing. It reminds me of my cousin and brother making me drink ginger beer, which usually made my throat burn, and chasing me around the garden or house to mess up my hair, and my cousin’s ultimate favourite form of attack- the much-dreaded noogie! I also once used a face cream containing ginger and ended up with a rash 😦
My experiences with ginger are not all bad though. Ginger biscuits are okay, though they definitely aren’t my favourite. I also have memories of delicious puddings and tasty stir-fries. One of our favourite Chinese places made this dish called carving pyramid which was pork pieces covered in batter and fried and then covered in a tangy sauce that had ginger and garlic in it with other things I couldn’t quite place, and little strips of ginger. This is the dish I miss the most after the owners closed the restaurant and moved back to China. I still crave it every so often. Happy/nostalgic sigh. My Ouma’s concoction worked so it wasn’t all bad, and my rooibos, lemongrass, and ginger tea isn’t too bad, and of course, a lovely cup of chai tea or chai latte always gets me smiling. I like ginger when it’s blended with other flavours, just not by itself or as the main flavour.
Whatever my feelings about the way ginger tastes, it really is an amazing spice. Here are some its awesome benefits:
- Calms your stomach- ginger root is great for helping you with indigestion and nausea. Whenever my stomach feels unsettled, I have some of my rooibos, lemongrass and ginger tea. Check with your doctor before taking ginger tea and to make sure of how much you can take, but it also helps for morning sickness during pregnancy.
- Boosts your immune system- Ginger is often used in hot toddy preparations and immune boosting capsules when people have colds and flu or that season comes around.
- Anti-inflammatory- as mentioned in my post Cardamom! last week, too much inflammation is not good for us and can be painful. Eating or drinking ginger can help reduce inflammation.
- Cholesterol-lowering- Ginger can help you to lower high levels of bad cholesterol. Scientists are still researching whether or not ginger is truly effective for lowering your cholesterol, but it’s worth a try I say.
- Flushes out toxins- Ginger can help to flush toxins and waste products out of your body, and in particular, your kidneys. Chai is looking more and more like my go-to remedy for Urinary Tract Infection (UTI). Flushing out waste products from your body will help your body function better overall.
- Antioxidants- Ginger also has antioxidants that will help to keep you healthier and aging well. Awesome!
- Lowers your blood sugar- Ginger can also help to lower your blood sugar levels if they are high.
- Lowers your blood pressure- Ginger can help to lower your blood pressure
I would just like to mention some precautions. I’ve mentioned above that ginger can be taken to help with morning sickness, but it is always best to check with your doctor first. There can be some negative effects if you take in too much ginger when you are pregnant. If you are breastfeeding, it may be best not to take in any ginger, but as always check with your doctor. Ginger should also be avoided by people who have gallstones and it can exacerbate bleeding orders, so if you have a bleeding disorder, check with your doctor before you consume ginger. One last one, due to the fact that ginger lowers your blood sugar levels, if you are diabetic, check with your doctor to see how much you can consume safely and whether it will interact with your medication. The same goes for people who are on medications for blood pressure and other heart medications or blood thinners.
Onto happier things, ginger can be found in many forms. You can buy the roots from the supermarket, you can buy it ground, and you can buy it in liquid form. We even have it mixed into a paste with garlic for cooking purposes in our stores. Ginger is common in Asian cooking, and personally, I love Asian cuisine. It’s often used in desserts as a flavour that compliments other flavours, or as the main flavour of the dish. It goes well with pork and chicken too. It’s also always on the side of the plate when you have sushi, another favourite food of mine. If you are feeling a bit under the weather, you can use it to make a hot toddy, or make a tea with it. Ginger is such a versatile spice.
Whether you love it or hate or feel indifferent about ginger, you can’t deny that it has some great health benefits. What experiences have you had with ginger? I hope they have been better than some of mine :p Have a good week and stay healthy 🙂
Shaw Academy course notes- Ultimate weight loss coursehttp://www.livestrong.com/article/435486-can-pregnant-women-drink-ginger-tea/