When you first try ginger, it is sure to give your taste buds a kick: it’s pungent and it lingers, but like many other foods where you initially can’t understand how people could possibly like them (such as hot peppers or mushrooms) it grows on you. If you have not given it a shot be prepared to do so because it packs a real health punch to support your SuperLife.
Beyond its more well-known use as a morning and motion sickness remedy, ginger’s health benefits are expansive.
• Ever wonder why sushi is generally accompanied by pickled ginger? Ginger is a broad-spectrum anti-bacterial, anti-parasitic and anti-fungal agent, neutralizing the negative effect that these unwanted visitors could create in our body. Since sushi has a higher possibility of these live agents, eating ginger can help reduce their impact on the body.
• Ginger not only keeps microorganisms such as the infamous E. Coli and Salmonella from invading your blood stream, but it also has anti-inflammatory functions.
• Mechanically speaking, ginger helps with salivation and gut motility, assisting in food digestion and transit. Along with these beneficial effects on digestive function, it also reduces flatulence and bloating. Yes, I went there.
• Ginger has been analyzed to have a thermogenic effect (the process by which the body generates heat by increasing the metabolic rate above normal) while promoting a feeling of satiety (you feel full and satisfied) to go along with it.
• Ginger has been linked with enhanced athletic performance and reducing muscle soreness through its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effect in the body.
• Ginger has a positive effect on the cardiovascular system. The anti-inflammatory, lipid lowering effect in the blood, anti-platelet aggregation all contribute to maintaining our hearth healthy and active.
• Ginger also enhances insulin sensitivity, meaning you make better use of the glucose floating around and get it into your cells to be converted to energy.
So we have a tuber that kills potentially dangerous organisms, enhances digestion, reduces inflammation, increases the body’s ability to burn calories and makes use of essential nutrients such as carbohydrates. Over all it’s a team player you want in your starting lineup.
Here are two things to take into consideration:
1. Use ginger in its natural state or purchase from a reputable company. Much of the ginger flooding the mainstream markets is poor quality. It contains high amounts of synthetic agrochemicals and other contaminants. If that’s the case, then all the good benefits you’re trying to gain from ginger will be thrown out the window. Instead, look for it in your local farmers market when in season or order online from a trusted source including Frontier or Mountain Rose Herbs.
2. As amazing as ginger is, each individual is unique. Even the highest-quality ginger might not be suitable for everyone, especially those suffering from chronic digestive symptoms (IBS, ulcers, gastritis, etc.). Additionally, those taking the anticoagulant Warfarin should consult with their qualified physician.
I personally recommend when cooking with ginger to bypass the traditional methods of cooking it before other ingredients and rather add it at the very end. Ginger contains a variety of volatile compounds that are sensitive to heat.
When you see ginger for the first time, it honestly looks like a mix between a woody root, a potato, and an antler (its ancestral name actually translates to “horn body”), but don’t miss out on all the health benefits hidden behind this funky looking tuber. How do you enjoy eating ginger? I eat it a lot of ways! One favorite is my Apple & Ginger Spice Salad. Share how you eat ginger in the comments below or on the SuperLife Facebook page or tweet us @SuperLifeLiving.
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