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Go Gingerly Into the Day
All the ways you can use ginger for your health!
By lyssa - 07:55PM - 07/16/2012
Other than seeing it beside your sushi to "cleanse the palate" between bites, how familiar are you with the humble ginger root? Perhaps you should get better acquainted: ginger's anti-inflammatory and gastrointestinal relief properties are the stuff of legends.
The Benefits of Ginger
- Stomach-soothing: motion sickness, nausea, vomiting, morning sickness … if your stomach doesn't feel good, it's likely that consuming ginger will help.
- Anti-inflammatory: some studies have shown it reduces post-workout soreness by 25%; other studies have demonstrated that ginger is at least as effective as non-steroid anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen.
- Cramp relief: likewise, consuming ginger has been shown to be equally as effective at mitigating painful cramping in women with dysmenorrhea as consuming painkillers like ibuprofen.
- Congestion relief: ginger tea helps relieve cold-related congestion.
Buy the right fresh ginger: ginger roots should be crisp with smooth outer skins; avoid moist, wrinkled roots.
Fresh ginger can be substituted for ground ginger at a ratio of 6 to 1, although the flavors of fresh and dried ginger are somewhat different. Powdered dry ginger root is typically used as a flavoring for recipes such as gingerbread, cookies, crackers, and cakes.
You can certainly just eat ginger as a snack (commonly pickled), but the most common preparation across the world is ginger tea. Here's the traditional method: skin the roots and cut several long, thin slices to place into a pot of water. Err on the side of too much ginger, as you can always thin it with water later—or you can intentionally make it strong like a concentrate and add water as you need. Bring the ginger and water to a boil, then let it simmer for at least thirty minutes, up to overnight. Refrigerate what you don't drink.
Ginger can also be made into candy (candied ginger is the root cooked in sugar until soft), ginger beer, and ginger ale.
Using ginger as a topical pain reliever is less common and unproven scientifically, but it may be worth a shot. Simply apply a ginger tea bag or ginger root in a cotton bag that has been run under warm water to aching muscles for relief.
Ginger is on the FDA's "generally recognized as safe" list, though it is considered a blood thinner and does interact with some medications. Ginger promotes the production of bile and should be avoided by people suffering from gallstones.
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