Ginger – you might find it raw, dried, pickled, preserved, crystalised, ground or as an oil. With an unmistakable fragrance and flavour that’s both peppery and sweet, it’s used in everything from savoury dishes to sweet treats to smoothies.
This versatile spice also packs a health punch. Ginger – the underground stem of the Zingiber officinale
plant - has a rich history of healing
and has been traded as a valuable spice since the first century
So, what is it that makes ginger so special? Here are three health benefits modern science backs.
For centuries ginger has been used to counteract the effects of nausea and vomiting
and Western science continues to support this, with studies showing benefits
for relieving morning sickness
during pregnancy, motion sickness and even nausea caused by some cancer treatments. It has also been found to be an effective remedy against indigestion
, as ginger may help your stomach empty faster leaving less time for foods to cause problems.
Reducing pain from inflammation
With powerful anti-inflammatory properties, consuming ground powdered ginger may help reduce joint pain
and ease muscle pain
after intense exercise. Research
has also found topical ginger ointment may help ease inflammation, with relief found from applying ginger extract to the skin of painful joints. Ginger may also help reduce the intensity and duration of severe period pain
Ginger may help fight viruses
. Eating fresh ginger has been linked to antiviral benefits
, thanks to a high concentration of potent plant compounds that may help prevent respiratory infection. While more research is needed to determine exactly what impact ginger has on our immune function, including ginger as part of a healthy plant-based diet rich in fruit, veggies, wholegrains and legumes is may help your body fight off those winter ills and chills.
There’s more to come on the health benefits of this tasty spice. Research
into ginger and its health benefits is an area that continues to attract a lot of interest. One area to watch is ginger and cancer. There is some research
to show ginger is effective in controlling the extent of colorectal, gastric, ovarian, liver, skin, breast, and prostate cancers, but more research is needed in this area.
Our favourite ways to spice things up with ginger
A great one for winter, we love a warming ginger tea
while the weather’s cool. You could also try infusing water with ginger or adding some to your morning smoothie. Add a tablespoon of fresh ginger to your stir-fry or noodles
for some zing. Or if you’re after something a little sweeter, why not try a spiced gingerbread cake