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Why Ginger is Our Favorite Root-Based SuperfoodPublished:
You’ve probably heard that when you’re trying to cut down on salt and fat, spices are one of the best ways to flavor your food. And it’s true! But there’s one spice that stands proudly apart from the rest, both for its versatility and its health benefits. Ginger is a superfood — or, should we say, superspice — worth working into your food and drinks.
This aromatic little root is a major player in the health world. And we should consider ourselves lucky. Thousands of years ago, it was a serious luxury. Today, you can pick up a small piece of it in your produce section for, like, pennies.. Ginger’s so flavorful, you don’t need much anyway.
The goodness of ginger.
From what we can tell, ginger started growing in southeast Asia 5,000 years ago. And from that time on, it’s been used in medicine to treat a huge variety of ailments. It’s not any less potent today, either.
Let’s take a quick tour of its benefits:
- Feeling nauseous? Try eating some ginger or brewing a ginger tea. It’s been shown to reduce nausea in people with morning sickness, those who’ve just had surgery or are getting chemo, and more. (And, hey, it can probably help with your hangover, too.)
- It’s good for your stomach in general, actually. Ginger has phenolic compounds that can help reduce gastrointestinal irritation.
- Guess what’s high in gingerol, which has tons of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties? Yep, you guessed it: ginger. And those anti-inflammatories can help with everything from osteoarthritis to post-workout soreness if you ingest ginger on a regular basis.
- It can help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and your blood sugars and keep your heart healthy.
How to use it.
When we talk about ginger, we actually mean the root of a ginger plant. You can find it fresh in your grocery store’s produce section. Fresh ginger has higher levels of gingerol than powdered ginger and, let’s be honest, tastes way better in recipes.
When you’re picking a piece of ginger, you’ve got a couple of options. You can choose mature ginger, which is really easy to find (your go-to grocery store probably has it in the product aisle). Once you’ve located their ginger stash, look for a knob that’s hard and has smooth, tight skin.
Alternately, head to an Asian market or grocer to find young ginger. If you like to be lazy in the kitchen (we feel you), you’ll love young ginger because you don’t have to peel it. Pick a piece that’s shiny with thin skin.
Whichever type you choose, store it in your crisper drawer until you’re ready to use it. And — bonus! — you can pretty much find ginger year-round. Also, did you know you can freeze ginger? If it’s unpeeled, it’ll keep for six months. There’s a bonus here, too. When you need it, frozen ginger is easy to grate.
That said, powdered ginger is still awesome for you. While the process of turning ginger to powder does reduce the levels of gingerol, it actually amplifies some of ginger’s other health properties. Don’t be afraid to use powdered ginger when you’re looking for a quick and easy way to capitalize on this superspice.
How to actually use all that ginger you just bought.
Okay, so beyond curry, how should you be using ginger? Here are a few things you can try:
- Add it to salad dressings
- Add it to smoothies
- Add it to stir-fries
- Try baking sweets with ginger
- Grab our Turmeric Ginger bottled drink
Ginger Tea Recipe
Let’s say you bought some ginger for a recipe and now the rest of the knob is just hanging out in your crisper drawer. It doesn’t have to go to waste. You can use it to make a delightfully aromatic ginger tea!
1. Peel (if you’re using mature ginger) and thinly slice a couple of inches of ginger.
2. Bring it to a boil in two cups of water, then let it simmer for ten minutes.
3. Strain the water into your mug, add a squeeze of lemon and/or a little honey (if you want), kick back, and enjoy. Aaaaah.
With a little bit of ginger on hand, you can spice up any dish and boost your body. Thanks, ginger!