You probably know ginger is a seasoning commonly used in Eastern cuisines, but those cultures also prize it for its medicinal values, as well. Ginger is used as a spice to add sweetness to foods, drinks, candies and sauces and you can buy it fresh, powdered, pickled, candied, or dried.
Cooks use ginger in many recipes, either fresh or in its ground or powdered forms. It has many specific uses, and can be:
- Added to a salad
- Served as an accompaniment to an entrée
- Used as an edible garnish of a dish
- Paired with savory dishes to add a flavor contrast
- Added to cooked vegetable dishes to spice them
- Pickled or used in pickling
- Ground into a paste to thicken and flavor sauces or to create a gravy
- Used in creating jams, preserves and chutneys
- Added to drinks like hot chocolate. Juices, smoothies or hot or iced tea
- Added to baked goods
While long recognized as a folk remedy for everything from seasickness to use as an aphrodisiac, modern holistic practitioners also prescribe it for specific reasons. One of its main health benefits might be its impact on your intestinal tract, helping reduce gas and improving digestion. Its intestinal benefits may make it better for motion and seasickness than Dramamine, reducing symptoms such as dizziness, vomiting and nausea. Ginger may increase the production of digestive fluids and saliva, stimulate the circulation of blood, and loosen phlegm from the lungs. If you need to sweat for some reason, a little ginger might help get the process started.
People use ginger, with various degrees of success, to treat morning sickness, inflammation, chemotherapy nausea, asthma, bronchitis, post-operative nausea and vomiting, arthritis, rheumatism, diarrhea, flu, cold and headaches. Folk medicine practitioners believe it helps remove toxins from the body.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “There is supportive evidence from one randomized controlled trial and an open-label study that ginger reduces the severity and duration of chemotherapy-induced nausea/emesis.”
Add Some Ginger to Your Meals
The easiest way to add ginger to your diet is to buy a jar of powdered ginger and keep it in your spice rack. Fresh ginger is usually peeled shortly before cooking to maintain its flavor. You first lightly bruise the fresh tuber, peel it, then cut or grind it into a paste, depending on how you’re using it. You can use ginger raw as an accompaniment or garnish. You can also cook or boil it along with foods and drinks. Fresh ginger can also be pickled. You can keep unpeeled ginger fresh in a refrigerator for several weeks, or frozen for longer, cutting off bits as you need.
Here are 29 ideas for adding ginger to your menus.