Ginger: Health Benefits and Contraindications
Ginger is considered to be a root that improves digestion and warms body up protecting it from poisonous substances. People call it a white or horned root. It originates from Southern Asia and Northern part of India. It got to Europe during the Middle ages and we should thank Arabian sellers for it.
In Ancient Greece, this plant was used to improve digestion after overeating. Chinese people use ginger root to improve memory. In Mongolia and Taiwan this root is used to prolong youth. Sailors were using it to fight scurvy and sea sickness during stormy weather.
Ginger root is grown artificially since ХV century. It is cultivated in Japan, Brazil, Jamaica, Argentina, China, Western Africa and Vietnam.
Ginger in Cooking
Ginger is a very common spice which is used to season different meals. It has grayish color with yellow hint, very strong aroma and spicy flavor. It nicely complements meals with rice and is used to season pastry. Combined with honey and lemon, it makes a very nice sauce.
Ginger root can be candied. It can be used to make fruit jellies, jam and candies.
Ginger spiced alcohol drinks are very popular in many countries. People enjoy the following drinks with ginger:
Mousses, compotes, fools and puddings acquire a very interesting taste if complemented with ginger 5 minutes before ready. Ginger is also used to season dough. Biscuits, cakes and ginger cookies come out very nice when seasoned with ginger.
Eastern people like to drink tea with ginger. It improves mood, normalizes cerebral circulation and promotes digestion. Ginger drink also quenches thirst during summer.
Chemistry of Ginger
Ginger has a very low nutritional value. 100 gram of ginger contain 80kcal only. It mainly contains carbs, that is, 15,8 г. Ginger also contains 1,8g of proteins and 0,8g of fats only.
Ginger mainly contains sugars, starches and essential oils such as α- and β-zingiberenes. It contains gingerol – phenol-like chemical compound which ensures its spicy taste.
Ginger is rich in healthy substances. It contains almost all B vitamins:
• Thiamin (В1);
• Riboflavin (В2);
• Choline (В4 – vitamin-like substance);
• Pantothenic acid (В5);
• Pyridoxine (В6);
• Folic acid (В9).
It also contains vitamin C (ascorbic acid).
Ginger contains the following micro- and macro elements:
It also contains amino acids, which our body is in a need for such as methionine, threonine, phenylalanine, valine, lysine.
Health Benefits of Ginger
For Healthy Body and Mind
Ginger has a great deal of health benefits. First, it positively affects digestion. It stimulates production of gastric juice and normalizes acidity (pH level). It should be consumed in the following cases:
• Kidney diseases;
• Gall bladder diseases;
• Thyroid diseases.
People, who regularly consume ginger, always have a very nice appetite and do not experience digestive issues.
Ginger kills pathogenic bacteria and, therefore, it is used to treat common colds. Ginger extract warms body up and works as an expectorant. It has anti-inflammatory and relaxing effect as well as boosts immune system.
Ginger spice favorably affects blood vessels: it cleanses capillaries and veins as well as lowers the level of «bad» cholesterol in blood. Thanks to these qualities, ginger root can be used to treat atherosclerosis, high blood pressure and prevent blood clotting and strokes. It strengthens memory, makes one energetic and improves mood.
Ginger root also relives pains in joints and muscles, reduces swelling and helps to treat rheumatic fever, arthrosis, and arthritis.
Ginger for Women
Women should eat ginger as it favorably affects uterus and relieves menstrual pains and cramps. It contains essential oils, lysine and ascorbic acid which improve tone of reproductive organs increasing libido.
Pregnant women should use ginger in the beginning of pregnancy as it inhibits nausea, weakness and dizziness. It is considered that ginger root helps to heal infertility.
Ginger root has also side effects. This root is not good for people with gallstones. It stimulates bile production, therefore people with gallstones may feel worse. Nutritionists recommend to exclude ginger spice from menu in presence of gastritis, stomach ulcer and before surgical interventions.
Doctors note that ginger consumption may evoke heart palpitations and worsen quality of sleep.
People should not consume ginger root if they are prone to strokes and cardiac infarctions. It should not be consumed in presence of wounds as it makes blood thin.
The Ways to Clean and Store Ginger
First, ginger should be washed in a cold water. Small sprouts should be removed and only large parts of ginger should be left. Excessive skin should be removed using sharp knife or table spoon. The most important thing is to remove minimum amount of skin so to preserve the maximum amount of essential oils.
Fresh ginger has health benefits for 7 days and should be stored at a temperature of 3-8oC. Dried ginger can be used during 4 months.