Ginger is a rhizome that has amazing properties to fight inflammation. Technically, ginger is a vegetable because of the way it grows, but it is commonly referred to as a spice. This spice contains compounds that function to reduce pain and free radicals within your body. It has also been found to reduce the symptoms of nausea ranging from motion to morning sickness. Similar to galangal in its health benefits, it would be considered not as strong. Ginger provides the same amount of vitamins and minerals as galangal, but with fewer calories.
1. Health Benefits of Ginger
1. Ginger contains a compound called gingerol, which aids in reducing inflammation.
What is gingerol?
Gingerol is an active compound found in ginger that has anti-inflammatory effects 1. It is currently being looked at in cancer research institutions and has also been shown to aid in reducing pain for people with arthritis.
How does gingerol work?
Gingerol may work in two different ways. One way is by protecting the body of free radicals by 6-gingerol, one of its many forms. This protection would inhibit the production of nitric oxide, a gas that can be damaging to the body. The second function is its ability to suppress pro-inflammatory compounds 2.
Why is anti-inflammation so important?
Inflammation is seen everywhere: pain, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer's, and more. By reducing the amount of inflammation you have in your body, you are decreasing your risk of developing a disease. One of many ways to help stabilize your inflammation levels is by eating, or drinking, ginger.
EAT SMARTER TAKE AWAY: Research has shown that ginger contains a powerful anti-inflammatory compound called gingerol that has benefited people with various types of disease.
2. Disadvantages of Ginger
Ginger may cause an unsafe increase in bile production
When taken in large doses, some people believe that ginger can increase the bile production which can cause complications in the gallbladder and liver. This could especially be a problem for people with a history of gallstones since increased bile production may lead to a gallstone becoming lodged in the duct. This will block the flow of bile from the gallbladder to the digestive tract.
While there is not enough scientific evidence to support these claims, it is still a good idea to contact a physician before adding large doses of ginger to your diet if you have a history of gallstones or gallbladder issues.
Raw ginger root can cause heartburn, upset stomach, and other minor ailments
In some people, consuming more than the recommended daily intake of 4 grams of ginger may cause minor ailments such as heartburn, upset stomach, diarrhea, and mouth irritation.
If these occur, it is best to lower your intake or try taking ginger in supplement form instead of consuming the fresh root form.
High doses of ginger may cause pregnancy complications
Ginger is often used as a treatment for nausea and morning sickness during pregnancy. However, some specialists believe that when taken in high doses, ginger supplements increase the risk of some birth defects and even miscarriage. There is no sound scientific evidence that supports these claims, but if you are pregnant it is best to speak to your doctor before using ginger supplements as an anti-nausea aid.
There have not been any studies done on the effects of ginger during pregnancy in humans, but there have been contradictory study results on the effects of ginger tea on pregnant rats. One found there were no negative side effects while another found that there was double the amount of embryos lost but the surviving fetuses were larger than those whose mothers were not treated with ginger extracts.1
3. Top 100 Ginger Recipes
4. Ginger vs. Galangal
Kingdom | Plantae
Order | Zingiberales
Family | Zingiberaceae
Genus | Zingiber
Species | Z. officinale
What is ginger?
Ginger is a perennial rhizome closely related to turmeric, galangal, and cardamom. A rhizome is the underground stem of a plant, which is able to grow upwards and can regrow when separated into pieces. Ginger has been used for centuries in both culinary and medicinal applications.
What kinds of ginger can you buy?
There are almost 1,300 varieties of ginger however, only a small handful of those are actually edible. Many of the varieties are simply used in gardens, where they are known for their tropical blooming flowers.
The most easily found edible varieties is common ginger root, but in some specialty and Asian markets you can find green ginger. Common ginger root is typically large with bulbous horns, it is a mature form of the root and must be peeled before use. Green ginger is smaller than common ginger, it is a young form of ginger and has such a thin skin that it does not have to be peeled before use, it tends to have a more mild flavor than more mature varieties.
What are the different forms of ginger?
Ginger can be found in many forms for use as a culinary ingredient or a medicinal herb.
|Fresh Ginger||Fresh ginger is what you find in your supermarket’s produce section. Fresh ginger is commonly used chopped or grated into Asian and Indian dishes. Fresh ginger is the most commonly used for of ginger for medicinal applications.|
|Ground Ginger||Ground ginger is made from dried ginger root, which is then ground into a fine powder. This is best used for baking.|
|Candied or Crystalized Ginger||Candied ginger is sliced, poached in simple syrup, then coated in granulated sugar. To use candied ginger, chop it up for use in baked goods or enjoy it as is.|
|Pickled Ginger||Pickled ginger is made from thinly sliced ginger which is then pickled in vinegar. The most common use for pickled ginger is for palate cleansing while eating sushi.|
|Preserved Ginger||There are two types of preserved ginger, the first is preserved in a sugar and salt mixture and is typically used in Asian cooking. The other type, popular in Britain, is preserved in a simple syrup and is used in baked goods and chutneys. Preserved ginger is sometimes called stem ginger or glace ginger.|
|Ginger Juice||Ginger juice is made from extracting the liquid from ginger root. It is a common ingredient in cocktails, fresh juices, and dressings.|
5. History of Ginger
Galangal is a member of the ginger family, but is not quite the same. Galangal has been known to be a little bit stronger than ginger, which makes it a favorite in many Asian dishes 2. Its strong citrus scent, while still having a bit of earthy notes makes it perfect for curry pastes 3. You can tell the difference between the two by galangal’s smoother skin and its pulp that might be white, yellow or pink. Galangal has many of the same health benefits as ginger. Both rhizomes have anti-inflammatory properties, anti-nausea properties, antioxidants, and compounds that improve blood circulation
6. Q&A About Ginger
This odd shaped rhizome has a history of culinary and medicinal uses, which have helped it become a superfood favorite.
Ginger originated in Southeast Asia, more specifically it is thought to have originated on the Indian subcontinent. Ginger found grown in India has been shown to have a greater genetic modification than ginger grown in other regions, indicating that it has been cultivated for a long time in that area. The name ginger is thought to come from its Sanskrit name, sringavera, which means horn shaped root.
In the first century, ginger was exported to Europe where it became popular with the Romans. The Romans went beyond just using ginger for food and medicine, they also relied on it for income. The Romans taxed ginger so much that it soon became one of the most expensive spices on the market but still continued to sell extremely well. When the Roman Empire fell, ginger fell out of favor.
It was made popular in Europe again in the 11th century. Ginger was then brought to Mexico and the West Indies by the Spaniards after the conquest in the 1500s. It was during these conquests that ginger came to be planted in many of the tropical areas where it is now cultivated.
7. Nutritional Informationh4>How do I choose the right ginger root?
Choosing the best ginger is easier than you think. The freshest ginger has smooth skin, spicy fragrance and is a bit heavy for its size. Try to avoid the ones that have wrinkled skin or feel a little too light 1.
Why is ginger spicy?
The same compound that gives ginger its anti-inflammatory properties also makes it spicy. Gingerol is a volatile compound that has similar properties to capsaicin in peppers.
Does ginger prevent cancer?
Ginger is a great anti-inflammatory and may be used to prevent various cancers such as prostate, ovarian, colon and colorectal. Ginger also aids in decreasing nausea symptoms, which may help patients during chemotherapy.
Is ginger root a vegetable?
Vegetables are grouped by which portion of the plant it comes from (carrots are roots, potatoes are tubers and broccoli is a flower). According to this definition, ginger would be considered a vegetable even though it doesn’t contain similar nutritious benefits. People are more likely to call ginger a spice 2.
What is the best way to slice fresh ginger?
Begin by removing the skin with either a knife or vegetable grater; some people even use the back of a spoon 3! Depending on how you want to serve your ginger, you can then shred, grate, mince or slice it. When slicing, be sure to cut perpendicular to the direction of the fibers to eliminate stringiness 1.
This is the nutritional information for 2 tablespoons (1 ounce or 28 grams) of raw ginger root! The nutritional information can slightly vary with ground ginger.
|Calories 2||Calories from Fat 0|
|Total Fat 0g||0%|
|Saturated Fat 0g||0%|
|Total Carbohydrate 0mg||0%|
|Dietary Fiber 0g|
|Vitamin A 0%||Vitamin C 0%|
|Calcium 0%||Iron 0%|