Ginger has to be one of my favorite things to cook with. I just love the flavor, not to mention its versatility in the kitchen. Having a mom who was born in Indonesia, her side of the family cooks with ginger a LOT! My Oma’s Indonesian cooking was to die for, and it is one of the things I miss about her… Thankfully I still have my mom and aunt to learn her recipes from.
Ginger is a flowering plant that is closely related to turmeric, cardamom and galangal, all of which are commonly used in Asian cooking. We use the root of the ginger plant as the spice. We can find it fresh in the vegetable section of your grocery store, or you can also buy ground up powdered ginger in the spice aisle. I like to use it fresh whenever possible, there’s so much more flavor that way.
Powerful Health Benefits of Ginger
Ginger not only has an amazing flavor, it also has some great health benefits, which we will discuss a few of today.
Ginger has medicinal properties
Ginger has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, thanks to the main bioactive compound, called gingerol.
Ginger can treat nausea
Did your mom ever give you gingerale when you were sick as a kid? This is because ginger has been known to be highly effective against nausea. It’s also been found to be most effective against nausea caused by morning sickness during pregnancy.
Use ginger for muscle pain
You know that feeling you have the day after a tough workout? You know, those super sore muscles that remind you that you’re alive? Well, thanks to its anti-inflammaroty properties, consuming ginger regularly can help reduce the progression of day to day muscle pain.
Ginger helps reduce menstrual pain
Ok ladies, this one’s for you. One of the traditional uses for ginger is to treat pain, this includes menstrual pain. In one study, ginger managed to reduce pain as effectively as ibuprofen in women who took 1 gram pf ginger for the first three days of their menstrual period.
Ginger has anti-blood-clotting properties
This helps against strokes and heart disease. When consumed with other superfoods like garlic and onions, the anti-clotting properties of all of these foods work together against heart attacks and strokes.
Ginger is an aphrodisiac
Ginger increases the heart rate and warms up the body by stimulating the circulatory system. It mimics how the body feels during sex and as a result makes you start thinking about it. In India, ginger is used as a traditional treatment for impotence.
Some of My Favorite Ways to Use Ginger
Ginger in My Shakeology – Adding ginger to my morning Shakeology is always a delicious way to start the day! It’s like a gingerbread cookie in a cup! See the recipe here.
Ginger Tea – There’s a fantastic tea from Steeped Tea called Lemon Ginger Tea-Tox. I drink this tea on the regular not only for it’s benefits, but I also just love the taste! They have some other ginger teas as well, which I’m sure are equally good.
Sometimes I also make tea with fresh lemon and fresh ginger and I use honey or maple syrup to sweeten when necessary.
Ginger Water – I love bubbly water! I use a SodaStream to make my own carbonated water at home and when I want a bit of flavor in my water I’ll add a few slices of ginger to the bottle.
Raw Ginger – I include raw ginger in marinades and dressings. I also use a lot of ginger when cooking Asian foods.
Ginger Powder – If I don’t have raw ginger on hand when I get inspired to cook Asian style meals, I always have a package of powdered ginger in the pantry. It mixes very easily and evenly into homemade dressings and marinades.
A Little Trick to Keep Ginger Fresh
I learned this trick from a chef in Whistler. He told me to keep my ginger in a ziploc baggie the freezer. This keeps ginger from going bad in the fridge or fruit bowl and also allows you to slice it super thin when it’s frozen. It also makes it very easy to grate it for marinades and dressings.