- Ed Sheeran
If ginger is anything, it’s potent. For such a craggy and knobby root, its flavour knocks the wind out of you. Gingerol is the bioactive compound that gives ginger its distinctly piquant taste. Have you ever eaten a nob of raw ginger before? It’ll zap you on the tongue, create a fire in the mouth, and warm you from the belly out. (Interestingly, cooking ginger breaks down gingerol into zingerone, a less pungent compound.) Ginger ignites the kind of slow, happy burn that makes you wonder if you’re secretly a sadist — but don’t worry. There are a lot of reasons to relish this fiery root.
(Ginger Lime Tonic from Love and Olive Oil)
Besides giving ginger its flavour, gingerol is the leading force behind making this one of the healthiest spices out there. This compound is responsible for ginger’s therapeutic properties, making it a highly anti-inflammatory and antioxidant spice (1). For all you fitness fanatics, you may want to consider including ginger in your post-workout regimen. Its anti-inflammatory properties are believed to help reduce muscle soreness. And even more good news, you can prepare it however you like! One study found that both raw and heated ginger resulted in similar reductions in body pain. Burn baby, burn will no longer apply to sore muscles, but the zing of ginger.
Ginger is also known to aid digestion and relieve symptoms such as gas, fullness and heartburn. One study found that ginger helped to speed up the digestion process and empty the stomach faster. This makes ginger a great ingredient to add to your cooking or your post-meal tea.
(Gluten-free Ginger Molasses Cookies from The Bojon Gourmet)
In a similar vein, ginger is effective at reducing nausea. It has a long history of being used to help with seasickness, and has shown positive effects at reducing nausea and vomiting after surgical operations. Similarly, one study showed that ginger helps reduce the severity of chemotherapy-induced nausea in cancer patients. A review of 12 trials found that ginger also alleviates morning sickness — but for any soon-to-be parents out there, be sure to talk to your doctor first before consuming ginger in large quantities.
It’s hardly surprising that the medicinal fire burning inside every root of ginger has the ability to defeat infections. Studies have found that ginger is capable of fighting fungal infections, as well as certain drug-resistant bacteria, including pathogens that cause respiratory viruses (such as pneumonia and lung infections), urinary tract infections and mouth infections.
(Garlicky Ginger Noodle Soup from Fork Knife Swoon)
With its long list of medicinal properties, it’s no wonder that ginger is one of the most used spices in the world. One of the best ways to reap the benefits of ginger is to consume it as an immunity shot to prevent and cure illness. Try out some recipes here and here and get ready to feel the burn.
How To Use
On top of immunity tonics, the ways are endless! Use ginger to create a probiotic soda or to add some zing to a tropical or green smoothie. Enjoy it as a hot beverage with Joya’s Turmeric Functional blend, or digestive and adaptogenic Zing tea. Ginger can be added to baked goods like these extremely ginger muffins or gluten-free chocolate chunk cake. Or take the savoury route and add ginger to noodles, roasted eggplant, or a lentil stew.