What Is Ginger Root And What Are Some Of The Health Benefits Of Ginger In Your Daily Diet?
For more than 3,000 years, ginger has been an important culinary and health-care product used throughout Asia. Closely related to galangal, cardamom, and turmeric, ginger is found in thousands of dishes, from curries and stir-fried vegetables to desserts. Claims of its health benefits have been passed down through the generations and are only recently being scientifically studied.
The results suggest that consuming ginger may support health in a variety of ways. You can easily incorporate ginger into your diet by brewing a hot cup of ginger tea. Read on to learn about ginger tea’s health benefits and how you might make it at home.
Potential Health Benefits Of Ginger
Ginger provides 2g of fiber for each 100g (4oz) of raw, fresh ginger root. It also contains vitamin C, vitamin B6, and a range of important mineral salts.1
Let’s take a look at a few different ways ginger may benefit human health. Ginger may be able to:
- Support digestive health2,3
- Help with feelings of travel sickness or nausea4,5
- Support healthy blood sugar levels6,7
- Help ease muscle discomfort8
- Support heart health9
- Support immune function10
Using Ginger At Home
Ginger goes well with fish, responds pleasingly to olive oil and apple cider vinegar as a salad dressing, and can be included in chutneys. It also goes well in cookies, cakes, bars, and ginger ale.11 Fresh ginger can be candied or ‘crystallized’ as a sweet snack, and it makes a great jam. It can be added to coffee for extra flavor or included in the mix for a smoothie.12 In combination with apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, and seltzer, ginger makes a refreshing ‘switchel’.
Choosing organic sources makes little difference provided that you wash and peel your ginger carefully before using it. You can even grow your own indoors.
Powdered ginger root is also widely available. It’s best to use fresh if it’s called for, but to retain the same flavor, use around four times as much powdered as fresh.
A Warm Drink To Start Or End The Day Right: Try This Simple And Delicious Fresh Ginger Tea Recipe
- 1 piece fresh ginger (the size of your pinky finger, roughly 7cm x 2cm (2in x 1in) or about 20g, a little less than 1 oz) – washed and peeled
- 2 cups water
- 1 Tbsp honey (or to taste)
- 1-2 lemons or 2-3 limes (to taste)
- Juice the lemons into a bowl. You should have 3-4 tbsp lemon juice.
- Slice the ginger finely, then crush it with the flat of a knife OR use finely grated ginger.
- Add the ginger to a small saucepan, then add the 2 cups of water and bring to a boil.
- Add honey and lemon juice. Return to a boil.
- Turn off the heat, cover, and let steep for at least 10 minutes or up to an hour in the boiling water.
- Strain and serve, or chill to make iced tea.
Making Your Own Version Of Ginger Tea
Combine ginger tea with soda water or seltzer for a refreshing iced tea (without the hassle of filtering tea leaves). It can be made even more delicious by including:
- Grated zest – lime, orange, or lemon
- Berries or slices of fruit, juiced or crushed into the saucepan (Apple is especially good.)
- Pomegranate juice, with lemon or instead of it
- Cinnamon (½ tsp or to taste)
- Herbs – lemon verbena, lemon thyme, lemon basil, mint, or peppermint
- Almond or coconut milk
- Maple syrup instead of honey
- Ground turmeric powder to double up the antioxidant power of your ginger tea
Try This Ancient And Trusted Ginger Recipe
Ginger has played a role in human health for at least 3,000 years, and today, scientists are finally starting to clarify and explain the benefits of ginger. A cup of simple, refreshing ginger tea (with lemon or your favorite addition) may not only support your health, but it offers a customizable alternative to unhealthy options such as sugary sodas and energy drinks. However, ginger may not be for everyone. Just make sure to get your doctor’s approval before using ginger for the first time.
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