Ginger is a food full of incredible benefits and properties. Know its most important qualities, its contraindications and how to take it.
The ginger is probably one of the not only most popular medicinal plants for their use in cooking as a seasoning and flavoring, but also for the amazing properties provided, why became the last 2,000 years in one of the ingredients main in Traditional Chinese Medicine, where its use as a traditional remedy in a wide variety of disorders and diseases is common, and where the popular ginger tea is common .
What’s more, did you know that it became a widely used plant in the Roman Empire? Then, centuries later, it was officially recovered by Marco Polo when he made his trip to the East, where it was widely used by the population.
It consists of a plant belonging to the Zingiberaceae family, whose underground stem (its rhizome or root) is actually the main element and the most valued for its delicate aroma and its spicy flavor, being precisely the part of the plant most used both in the kitchen – either as a spice, dried or powdered, or as an aperitif – as well as from a medicinal point of view. The plant itself can reach up to 2 meters in height, with linear leaves of up to 20 centimeters.
From a nutritional point of view we are faced with a root that is especially rich in carbohydrates and fats, which provides an excellent amount of amino acids, vitamins and minerals. In addition, it has a high content of flavonoids, oxalic acid, curcumin and other compounds such as shogaols, gingerols and various essential oils. All these compounds are the ones that mainly give ginger its great properties and benefits.
We are facing not only a very popular plant, but also an element that has been widely studied over the centuries, and particularly by Science in recent decades. Scientific studies that, indeed, have allowed us to discover each and every one of the different properties of ginger, about which we will talk to you in detail on this occasion.
The incredible properties of ginger
Wonderful nutritional wealth
As we mentioned before, ginger provides a large amount of different essential nutrients, many of them essential and fundamental within a varied and balanced diet as they are essential for our health and for the proper functioning of our body. Among those nutrients we can mention:
- Carbohydrates: between 40 to 50%.
- Fats: between 6 to 8%, highlighting mainly the presence of essential fatty acids (oleic and linoleic).
- Amino acids: arginine, leucine, asparagine, histidine, lysine, methionine, threonine, tyrosine, tryptophan, valine, glutamine and aspartic acid.
- Vitamins: vitamin C and niacin.
- Minerals: phosphorus, silicon, zinc, boron, chromium, manganese and cobalt.
- Other nutrients: flavonoids and oxalic acid.
Benefits for the digestive system
Ginger is probably one of the best foods that exist for the care of the digestive system, thanks to its useful antibacterial power when treating a wide variety of intestinal problems. By stimulating the pancreas, it increases the production of enzymes that help and favor the digestion process. It is also an antidiarrheal remedy, helping to increase the population of beneficial bacteria in our intestinal flora and fight against infectious microorganisms that cause intestinal conditions thanks to its antibacterial qualities.
It also becomes an excellent natural remedy against nausea, helping powerfully to reduce and even almost completely eliminate the urge to vomit. For example, it is a useful option when we are going to travel, for example having a ginger tea between 2 to 3 hours before starting the trip. Regarding this quality, it is also a natural option to relieve the nausea of pregnancy, especially during the first months of pregnancy.
Some studies have confirmed its ability to eliminate the Helicobacter Pylori bacteria. On the other hand, it is also useful to neutralize and reduce excess gastric acid, making it suitable for the prevention of ulcers.
In addition, ginger has been used to treat intestinal conditions, since it seems that, by stimulating the pancreas, it increases the production of enzymes that promote digestion and prevent the appearance of a series of side effects that are related to bad absorption thereof.
It also has an antibacterial power that is effective in a wide variety of intestinal problems, which are produced by alterations in the intestinal flora.
If we have nausea or the urge to vomit, it has been shown how ginger turns out to be one of the best remedies to combat them. For example, take it about 3 or 2 hours before starting the trip, and it will prevent us from getting dizzy from the movement.
It can in turn be effective against vomiting produced by chemotherapy, thus being a good way to reduce vomiting caused by chemotherapy treatments in cancer patients. Of course, in this case and due to its anticoagulant properties, in addition to consulting the doctor about its possible intake asking for a recommendation for use, it cannot be taken on an empty stomach.
However, in the presence of a digestive problem or disease of the digestive system, it is best to take it with caution.
Excellent for your cardiovascular health
Ginger helps promote and improve blood circulation, a quality that translates into being useful for preventing vascular accidents by thinning the blood. For example, it helps to dissolve thrombi that have formed in the arteries while being an excellent remedy against cholesterol, being ideal for reducing high levels of fats in the blood.
It is a unique natural option for heart disease, since it is an effective natural preventive against angina pectoris and heart attacks, as well as preventing the formation of thrombosis and clots.
Very good against flu and colds
In case of flu or cold, ginger is useful to reduce and alleviate its most typical symptoms. For example, it helps relieve joint pain so characteristic of these two diseases, as well as reducing nasal congestion and lowering fever in a completely natural way.
Natural anti-inflammatory and analgesic
Ginger acts as a natural anti-inflammatory, a quality that precisely translates into helping to treat, combat and alleviate respiratory diseases, digestive problems and conditions, and osteoarthritis.
It also has an analgesic effect very useful to relieve pain caused by inflammatory diseases (such as arthritis and osteoarthritis), and it is also effective in reducing the pain that appears during the so-called Premenstrual syndrome.
How to take ginger to enjoy its properties:
There are different options when it comes to enjoying each and every one of the properties that ginger gives us. Choosing between one and the other will depend on our needs and even on our own personal taste, but its benefits will not decrease at all by choosing one or the other option:
- In the form of an infusion or tea: it is one of the most popular options. It consists of bringing a liter of water to boil, and when it comes to a boil, add a piece of fresh ginger root. Then we must turn off the heat, cover, and let it rest for 5 minutes. Finally strain, sweeten to taste and drink it.
- In the form of ginger capsules: it is another common option, which we find especially in herbalists and nutrition stores. You can usually find bottles that carry between 50 to 100 ginger capsules, usually with ginger extract whose amount ranges between 400 to 500 mg. Therefore, your dose will depend on the amount, although the usual thing is to consume one or two ginger capsules every 8 hours.
- In the form of ginger oil: since ginger essential oil tends to be much purer (since its concentration is higher), it is best to take 5 to 9 drops per day divided into three doses.
- And in the kitchen? Many oriental cuisines use ginger for its powerful flavor. Thus, for example, it can be used to make sauces, to dress salads or to season meats.
Main contraindications of ginger
As with any other food or medicinal plant, ginger also has certain contraindications that make its consumption not so advisable depending on at what times or under what conditions. Take note:
- Pregnancy and breastfeeding: On the one hand, although ginger helps relieve nausea, in pregnancy it can cause heartburn and drowsiness. On the other hand, while breastfeeding, its safety for the baby has not been proven.
- Kidney or gallstones: Since ginger stimulates both the kidneys and the gallbladder, its consumption is not recommended if you have gallstones or kidney stones, or if you have a history.