College of DuPage Nursing Student Ellis Quinn asks you to think of the last meal you made. Did the ingredients include ginger? The answer is most likely no, like many other Americans. Ginger is not a commonly used spice in the American diet.
Zingiber officinale, better known of as ginger, is a widely used spice in many Southern Asian countries. Cooking with ginger can add a distinguished spicy sweet flavor to many types of food. It is often used for baked goods in America, but it can be added to many other dishes such as chicken stir fry or fresh salads.
Why would you want to add ginger into your foods though? Ginger doesn’t only add delicious flavor to meals, but it also can have many health benefits. Ginger has been used in for thousand of years in Asian, Indian, and Arabic herbal traditions. The Chinese would use ginger for multiple health reasons. They believed it to aid in digestion, as well as help treat upset stomach, nausea, and flatulence. Besides digestive health, ginger was used to help treat arthritis, painful menstruation periods, and even the common cold. (Better Nutrition)
The research done on the health benefits of ginger is very slim as with many herbal medicines. That being said, many health care providers see patients who report beneficial outcomes from drinking and eating ginger. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, there is evidence that indicates ginger may help relieve pregnancy-related and chemotherapy related nausea and vomiting.
You do not have to be an amazing chef to add ginger into your diet. The simplest way for you to increase your intake of ginger would be to drink it. Ginger tea is very easy to prepare.
- Peel and finely dice a knuckle size piece of ginger
- Place in a strainer inside a mug
- Add boiling hot water to mug
- Let steep for 5-8 minutes
- Add a teaspoon of honey to sweeten
Ginger is a relatively safe spice to add to any foods. Certain people may have some mild side effects that cause gastric upset. Always check with your doctor or healthcare provider to check for interactions with any medications you may be taking.
Ginger [Fact sheet]. (2016, September). Retrieved March 26, 2017, from National
Center for Complementary and Integrative Health website:
Smith, M. D. (2014, October). Medicinal foods: Garlic and ginger. Better
Nutrition. Retrieved from http://www.betternutrition.com/