Ginger: The Superfood You’re Probably Not Eating Enough

6628

Like this video? Subscribe to our YouTube channel by clicking here.

Ginger root has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years — and for good reason. It can treat headaches, menstrual cramps, nausea, diarrhea and coughs, to name a few. Gingerol, the bioactive component in ginger, is responsible for much of that thanks to its strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.  

Credit: Leonard J. Matthews/Flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0

If you suffer from a stomach ailment — including nausea, constipation and dyspepsia — then you might want to consider adding some ginger to your diet. Ginger can help relax and smooth out the muscles in your gut lining, allowing food to move through much easier. Ginger has even been proven to be a good, natural remedy for pregnant women suffering from morning sickness.

Over 29 million people in the United States have diabetes, according to a 2014 report by the Centers for Disease Control And Prevention — that’s over nine percent of the population. Ginger may be able to help with that, too. Studies have shown that ginger not only naturally improves diabetes and enhances insulin sensitivity, but also reverses diabetes. A study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that ginger could suppress glucitol accumulation in human blood cells and sugar-fed rats.

Related: These Mediterranean Plants May Fight Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s

Ginger also does the brain good. Alzheimer’s, a progressively degenerative disorder affecting the brain, is thought to be caused by oxidative stress and inflammation. Ginger’s potent, anti-inflammatory properties have been shown to prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s. One study found that for middle-aged women suffering from cognitive impairments, such as memory loss, ginger extract could enhance “both attention and cognitive processing capabilities of healthy, middle-aged women.”

In other words, ginger could benefit almost everyone’s health, so why not incorporate more of it into your diet? Here are some delicious recipes and tricks for ingesting more ginger.

Ginger Tea

Credit: Danielle Tarasiuk

Ginger tea is a simple and soothing way to add the root to your diet.

Ingredients:

  • 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, thinly sliced
  • 8 ounces boiling water

For step-by-step directions, click here.

Green Ginger Smoothie

Credit: Breville USA/Flickr, CC BY 2.0

This green ginger smoothie will satisfy your sweet tooth and give you a boost of healthy ginger.

Ingredients:

  • 2 handfuls organic spinach
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • ½ avocado
  • 1 medium banana
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 2 dates, pitted
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger root, chopped (adjust to your taste)
  • Juice of 1 lemon

For step-by-step directions, click here.

Ginger Chicken Soup

Credit: Jess (Paleo Grubs)/Flickr, CC BY 2.0

This twist on a classic chicken soup is perfect for fighting off a cold.

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 8 ounces unpeeled, scrubbed ginger, cut into ½-inch-thick slices
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 10 whole black peppercorns
  • 1 3-pound whole organic chicken, cut into 7 pieces (2 breasts, 2 legs with thighs attached, 2 wings, 1 back)
  • Kosher salt
  • Cilantro leaves (optional)

For step-by-step directions, click here.

Edamame Ginger Dip

Credit: Taz/Flickr, CC BY 2.0

This tasty dip is sure to curb your layered dip craving.

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces frozen, shelled edamame
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Hot pepper sauce to taste

For step-by-step directions, click here.

Ginger Roasted Salmon  

Credit: Maggie Hoffman/Flickr, CC BY 2.0

This quick salmon recipe is a delicious and healthy weeknight dinner.

Ingredients:

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 4 center-cut boneless salmon fillets (6 ounces each), skin on
  • 1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

For step-by-step directions, click here.

Homemade Ginger Ale

Credit: Kim Knoch/Flickr,CC BY 2.0

While store-bought ginger ale is typically unhealthy and often doesn’t even contain real ginger, this homemade version is a much healthier alternative.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped, peeled ginger (7 ounces)
  • 2 cups water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • About 1 quart chilled seltzer or club soda
  • About 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

For step-by-step directions, click here.

Pickled Ginger

Credit: Quinn Dombrowski/Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0

Pickled ginger is a great addition to salads, stir-fry meals, vinaigrettes and even fruit salads.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. fresh ginger
  • 2 cups unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp. table salt

For step-by-step directions, click here.

Related: Eat These Foods Instead of Meat to Help You Feel Full

Danielle Tarasiuk
Danielle Tarasiuk is a multimedia journalist based in Los Angeles. Her work has been published on AllDay.com, Yahoo! Sports, KCET, and NPR-affiliate stations KPCC and KCRW. She’s a proud Sarah Lawrence College and USC Annenberg alumn.