Showing posts with label ginger recipes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ginger recipes. Show all posts

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Ginger: The Unlikely (and Tasty!) Spice for Arthritis Relief

Are you one of the estimated 40 million sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis in the U.S.? You can get help from your doctor or from the NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) in your medicine cabinet, but in the meantime, you may find that cheap, effective relief is growing in your own garden - or at least as close as your grocer's fresh produce section.

This mystery treatment? Ginger.

Ginger's anti-inflammatory properties are now considered undeniable, not only by alternative health proponents but also by professional medical researchers.  In fact, recent research suggests that ginger may be more effective in treating arthritis than many standard pharmaceuticals.

What the ginger-arthritis research shows

While ginger’s anti-inflammatory properties have been reported for thousands of years, scientific research spanning the last three decades has provided concrete evidence of ginger’s health benefits, especially when it comes to reducing inflammation in arthritis sufferers. For example:

  • In a University of Miami study, reported by the Arthritis Foundation, ginger’s anti-inflammatory benefits were shown to be so effective that researchers believe it may eventually become a common substitute for synthetic inflammation medications.  The study put concentrated ginger extract head-to-head with a placebo. The participants, suffering from osteoarthritis in their knees, reported 40% pain reduction and stiffness improvement.
  • A 2005 study showed that ginger may have better therapeutic benefits, with fewer side effects, than oft-prescribed NSAIDs.
  • This Copenhagen University research showed that ginger extract was as effective an anti-inflammatory agent as the drug betamethasone.
How much ginger do you need to benefit from its anti-inflammatory effects? Not much at all.  Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis sufferers showed improvement in mobility and pain reduction from taking as little as a fingernail-sized sliver daily. 

Other ginger health benefits include the potential treatment and prevention of colorectal cancer and ovarian cancer, according to these studies by the University of Minnesota.

More ginger health benefits:
  • Boosting immunity: Eating ginger boosts body heat, thanks to the compounds gingerol and shogaol. Warming your body boosts your immune system, supporting your body’s natural detoxification and ability to fight infections.
  • Digestive relief: Ever notice how sipping a bit of ginger ale eases your stomach queasiness? You can also add a couple slivers of fresh ginger when steeping your tea to get the anti-nausea benefit.
  • Common pregnancy issue relief: Trouble with vomiting or nausea from pregnancy? In a University of Maryland study, participants found relief from morning sickness from just a single gram of ginger, with no side effects.

How to get more ginger in your diet

You can get ginger in teas, powders, capsules, tinctures, oils, or directly from fresh or dried/powdered ginger root. All forms can provide health benefits, but some researchers advise taking it in capsule form, especially if you can find brands that use super-critical extraction – a purer extraction method.  Others advise using raw ginger though, as it will have the highest amounts of the compound gingerol. 
To get ginger in your diet, chew the raw inner flesh. If the flavor is too strong for you, you can add it to smoothies, or use it to spice up your lemonade. Grated ginger also nicely perks up the flavor of any rice dish.

You can also make an easy, tasty ginger dressing by combining soy sauce, olive oil, a little garlic, and ginger shavings.  If you’re having a hot side dish instead of salad, add a bit of freshly minced ginger to your sautéed vegetable dish.

Ready for dessert?  Try some grated ginger in a homemade ice cream or sorbet recipe for a zesty, sweet treat.

Looking for ginger recipes? Try these:
If you have a favorite ginger recipe of your own, please use the comments field below to share!

Ric Moxley
Contributing Writer

Friday, October 18, 2013

Health benefits of Ginger Root

Some might call it an ugly food.  Others call it a superfood.  Call it what you will, many scientists and health experts agree that ginger can do you a world of good, depending on what ails you.  And whether you’re ailing or healthy, you’ll find that ginger has a remarkable and unique flavor that can add a little zest and zing to many a lackluster dish.

Ginger root

Five health reasons to include ginger in your diet

Taste is a good enough reason to flavor your food with ginger, but the health benefits of ginger root may persuade you to make this ugly duckling of the superfood family a staple in your diet.
1.  Ginger boosts immunities
By boosting body heat, which ginger does thanks to two compounds, gingerol and shogaol, you can not only get warmed up from the inside (a handy thing on a cold day) but also get a boost to your immune system.  A little sweating from body heat is a good thing, especially when you have a cold or flu.  Not only does the sweat aid in detoxification but scientific research shows that sweat generates a germ-fighting agent – dermicidin – that combats infections.
2.   Ginger aids in many digestion problems
If your parents gave you a little ginger ale when you had tummy trouble, they were on the right track.  Even in a highly processed form, such as in a ginger soda, relief from stomach pains and nausea have been documented.   Ginger is often used to aid appetite as well, simply by munching a tiny amount before a meal to invigorate digestive juices. Having trouble with flatulence? Ginger can help there as well.

Note: while a lot of ginger will likely do you no harm, a lil’ dab’ll do ya, as they say; ginger’s active substances are concentrated enough that you can steep a half-inch sliver or two of fresh ginger into your tea water to get some anti-nausea benefit.
3. Ginger takes the flame out of inflammation
The anti-inflammatory effects of ginger are remarkable. One study showed that its anti-inflammatory effect is strong enough that it could eventually be used as a substitute for synthetic medications for inflammation. Ginger’s anti-inflammatory effects are the result of the gingerols.  If you struggle with osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, taking as little as a fingernail-sized sliver daily provides enough gingerol to reduce pain and improve mobility.  In the studies, 75 percent of the arthritis patients experienced relief.  And in another study, published in Osteoarthritis Cartilage, involving those with knee arthritis, patients were given ginger over a six-month period and experienced reduced knee pain and swelling.  Various studies over the years have shown ginger’s pain relief benefits for those with upper respiratory tract infections, muscle soreness, menstrual pain, stomach pain, coughs, and chest and back pain. 
4.  Ginger may aid in cancer treatment and prevention
Two kinds of cancer issues appear to benefit from ginger intake: protection from colorectal cancer and destruction of ovarian cancer cells.  Studies by the University of Minnesota showed a reduction in the growth of colorectal cancerous cells when patients were treated with ginger.  The researchers concluded that the compounds in ginger compounds appear to be an effective chemopreventive with colorectal carcinomas.

University of Michigan research determined that ginger could destroy ovarian cancer cells as effectively as standard chemotherapy drugs.  Ginger’s phytonutrient gingerol, extracted for the study, was able to cause cell death in all the ovarian cancer forms studied in the experiments.  Remarkably, the researchers found that the ginger treatment even had an advantage over conventional chemotherapy agents; the ginger did not cause cancer cells to become resistant to the treatment, as often occurs with standard chemo drugs.  
5.  Ginger makes pregnancy easier
Those with common pregnancy issues such as vomiting and nausea have found safe relief from these symptoms by using ginger.  Using just a single gram of ginger in a University of Maryland study,  research participants experienced relief from morning sickness and a reduction nausea severity and frequency in early pregnancy – and without side effects on the mother or the unborn child.  This cannot be said for common anti-vomiting drugs, which can cause birth defects.

Ginger root in tea

Ginger recipes

Beyond Ginger's potential medicinal properties, Ginger is a wonderful way to spice up your recipes. Some quick-serve examples:
  • If you're a big fan of ginger's flavor, you can chew directly on the raw inner flesh. Just peel and eat.
  • Whether you like to make green smoothies or fruit smoothies, you can add a nice zest to it by including a little raw ginger in the mix. With its potent flavor, a piece of ginger root smaller than half your thumb is plenty.
  • For a slightly spicy lemonade, combine a little bit of freshly-grated ginger, lemon juice, your favorite sweetener, and add water to taste.
  • Used ginger gratings in a standard rice dish to give it a perky flavor and smell.
  • Looking for an easy and exciting dressing? Simply add soy sauce, olive oil, garlic and shavings of ginger together and you're good to go.
  • If you make homemade ice cream or sorbets, a little bit of grated ginger adds an amazing flavor to a fruit or vanilla recipe.
  • Add some life to any sautéed vegetable dish by stirring in a small amount of freshly minced ginger.

Here are a few more ginger recipes that make it even easier to infuse your family's diet with a healthy touch of ginger:

Ginger – a spice for life

Some final thoughts. First, while ginger in just about any form is good for you, fresh ginger is best, particularly if you are trying to get the most health benefit, not just flavor.  Raw ginger has the highest amounts of gingerol.  Second, when buying ginger root, which you can find in most supermarkets, pick ginger that is mold-free, smooth, and firm.  Third, the best way to store fresh ginger to keep it fresh is in the refrigerator. Unpeeled, it should be good for at least a week, and up to three weeks. 
In summary, for both health and flavor, it's best to go gingerly through life.

Ric Moxley 
Contributing Writer