Known for its spicy, pungent taste, the ginger stem is one that is found in almost every household within the Indian and Chinese borders. It can elevate the entire flavor profile of a dish while also providing a range of health benefits. While the use of ginger within the Indian and Chinese cuisine can be traced back to the olden times, it wasn’t until the 1st century CE, that this spice made its grand entry into other cuisines, starting with the Mediterranean.
A fun fact about the ginger plant is that most people refer to the bulb as the root when in actuality, it is the stem of the plant that is usually added to Indian food. Today, India is one of the world’s largest ginger producers and produces around 385.33 thousand tons annually.
Table of Contents
Nutritional Value of Ginger
For a better understanding of the nutritional value that ginger contains, mentioned below is the nutritional value chart of 1 tablespoon/1 inch piece of ginger:
- Calories – 4.8
- Carbohydrates – 1.07 grams
- Proteins – 0.11 grams
- Dietary Fibre – 0.12 grams
- Fat – 0.5 grams
In addition to the above division, ginger is also revered for the number of vitamins and minerals that it contains. These include:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin B3
- Vitamin B6
7 Health Benefits of Ginger
Since ancient times, Indians have used ginger to treat several conditions ranging from the common cold to sore throat and stomach cramps. Today, hundreds of studies have proven that the health benefits of ginger expand beyond one’s basic ailments. Some of the top health benefits of ginger include:
1. Alleviates Stomach Issues
While ginger has always been used to treat people with digestion issues and stomach pain, there is no medical research to support its medicinal properties. Truth be told, stomach pains are the least of what ginger can help with. It can also be used to ease nausea and reduce the vomiting that usually occurs during pregnancy and after medical treatments such as surgeries and chemotherapy.
Moreover, it can also relieve period pains, and today, doctors are prescribing it alongside basic period pain reliever drugs like Advil. To support this, a clinical trial was conducted by Giti Ozgoli. At the end of this trial, it was proven that women who ingested ginger capsules four times a day, had the same level of relief as women who ingested drugs four times a day.
2.Cures Common Cold
Ginger has always been the number one home remedy for the common cold, and a study conducted in 2013 by Jung San Chang and team, has affirmed its therapeutic capacity. Through this study, it was found that eating fresh ginger could strengthen the respiratory system of the individual and protect them from respiratory viruses like the common cold.
3. Improves Oral Hygiene
Gingerols, an active compound present in ginger, is known for protecting the mouth and preventing the growth of oral bacteria. The growth and spread of this bacteria in the mouth could cause the development of periodontal disease, which is a serious gum disease. Not only does ginger eradicate the bacteria but it also brightens your teeth.
4. Fights Inflammation
The essential oils present in ginger act as anti-inflammatories and fight against infections that cause stomach inflations. This makes it a great replacement for different drugs that could cause several side effects.
5. Great For Reducing Blood Sugar Levels
In a study published in 2014, it was proven that individuals with type 2 diabetes who took 1600 mg of ginger powder daily for 12 weeks reported a drop in their total cholesterol and triglycerides while also improving their insulin sensitivity. This means that not only will ginger lower the risk of you developing type 2 diabetes but it will also work towards better management of type 2 diabetes.
6. Helps Reduce the Risk of Cancer
Ginger is considered to be the powerhouse of antioxidants, and various studies have proven that the addition of ginger to one’s diet can effectively reduce oxidative stress. Oxidative stress occurs when there is a free radical build-up in the body. Free radicals are toxic substances that are formed by the body’s metabolism, along with different factors. If not eradicated, this build-up could cause cellular damage which could eventually lead to cancer. When ginger is introduced to the diet of the individual, it helps eliminate this build-up and thereby reduces the risk of developing cancer.
7. Helps Soothe Sore and Tired Muscles
While ginger doesn’t act as a miracle cure for your tired muscles, it does work towards soothing the pain in the long run. Studies have found that individuals who included ginger as a part of their daily diets were less likely to experience tired muscles the next day as compared to people without ginger in their diets.
Healthy Ways to Add Ginger to Your Diet
As you can see, you have everything to gain and nothing to lose when it comes to adding ginger to your everyday meal routine and to help you out, here are two healthy ways to add ginger to your daily diet:
1. Ginger Tea
- A chunk of ginger sliced into 1/4th inch pieces
- 1 cup of water
- A few sprigs of fresh mint
- 1 tsp of honey
- 1 tbsp of loose tea
- Add the ginger, water, tea, and the fresh mint to a saucepan placed over a high flame. Once it starts to simmer, reduce the heat to a low flame and let it continue to simmer for 5 minutes (If you want a strong flavor, simmer the water for 10 minutes).
- Once the tea has finished simmering, remove the pot from the flame and run the tea through a sieve.
- Pour the desired amount into your mug and stir in a teaspoon of honey and serve.
2. Paneer with Sweet Ginger Sauce
- 250 gm fresh paneer, cut in 1-inch squares
- 1 cm piece of sliced ginger
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 cup spinach leaves
- ½ tsp dried chili flakes
- Cooked rice (to serve)
- 1 tbsp grated ginger
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Using a toothpick, create a few holes in the paneer and cut it into bite-sized cubes.
- In a bowl, add all the ingredients needed for marination and mix.
- Add the paneer to the marinade and set it aside for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Over a high flame, add half of the oil to a pan and heat until it starts smoking. Once done, add the ginger and stir fry for a few seconds. To this, add the spinach leaves and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add a little water to this mixture and cook for another 2 minutes. Once the leaves wilt and the stems get slightly cooked (they should still have a little crunch to it), add a little salt and pepper to it and transfer it to a plate.
- Add the rest of the oil to the pan. When the oil begins smoking, add in the marinated paneer pieces and stir fry till evenly browned. Add the remaining marinade. Bring it to a boil, reduce the heat, and let the gravy simmer and reduce. Sprinkle the chili flakes and spinach to this and toss.
- Serve hot with steamed rice.
Ginger is quite literally the spice of life and can not only boost the flavor of your food but also improve your immunity. From treating muscle and joint pain, cold and flu symptoms, stomach pain, menstrual cramps, to skin burns, ginger is one ingredient that is beneficial in curing most ailments. Adding ginger into your daily foods will never be a disappointment when it comes to keeping diseases at bay, strengthening your immunity, and maintaining overall well-being.
Frequently Asked Questions
A. Yes, Ginger stimulates saliva secretion and helps with digestion.
A. Yes in very low doses (1 gram/day) and natural form, ginger is safe to consume in pregnancy.
A. Yes, but it also depends on what benefits we are looking for, in general, the recommended intake of ginger in its natural form is about 4 grams.