Root Of The Week: Ginger

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Ginger is the underground rhizome of the ginger plant, known botanically as Zingiber officinale. The plant’s botanical name is thought to be derived from its Sanskrit name “singabera” which means “horn shaped”, a physical characteristic that ginger reflects. The flesh of the ginger rhizome can be yellow, white or red in color, depending upon the variety. It is covered with a brownish skin that may either be thick or thin, depending upon whether the plant was harvested when it was mature or young. Ginger is abundant in our local markets in Nigeria.

Nutritional Value of Ginger: good source of potassium, magnesium, copper, manganese and vitamin B6.

Health Benefits of Ginger
Metabolism
Ginger speeds up your metabolism – is an aid in weight loss. It can help digest fatty foods and break down proteins. It is excellent for reducing gas.

Cholesterol
Recent studies show that ginger might also have a role in lowering LDL cholesterol because the spice can help reduce the amount of cholesterol that is absorbed.

Colds, Flu and Asthma

Ginger has long been used as a natural treatment for colds and the flu. Being a warming herb, ginger can help knock out a fever. The warming effects makes it a natural decongestant, and antihistamine, thus making it the perfect remedy for colds and easy breathing. This property also makes it effective in stimulating circulation of the blood. It can also help relax muscles around the blood vessels and is said to help prevent blood clots from forming.

Motion Sickness Remedy

Ginger has been shown to be an effective remedy for the nausea associated with motion sickness. Motion sickness usually occurs with air and sea travel. Land travel on very bumpy roads can also trigger motion sickness.

Reduces Pain and Inflammation
Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties and is a powerful natural painkiller. So it can be used as a palliative for diseases that are caused by inflammations such as arthritis.

Heartburn Relief
Ginger has long been used as a natural heartburn remedy and is most often taken in the form of tea for this purpose.

Migraine Relief

Research has shown that ginger may provide migraine relief due to its ability to stop prostaglandins from causing pain and inflammation in blood vessels.

Menstrual Cramp Relief

In Chinese medicine, ginger tea is used in the treatment of menstrual cramps.

Prevention of Diabetic Nephropathy

A study done on diabetic rats found that those rats given ginger had a reduced incidence of diabetic nephropathy (kidney damage).

To discover the health benefits of ginger for yourself, simply make a tea by steeping about 5 slices of ginger in hot water. You can also put it in your soups and stews. Ginger is excellent in many dishes and is perfect when combined with garlic. Although you can use dried ginger and powdered ginger for health benefits, fresh ginger is preferred.

Here’s a simple Ginger Veggie Stir-Fry you can try

Ingredients
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 1/2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons chopped fresh ginger root, divided
1/4 cup vegetable oil, divided
1 small head broccoli, cut into florets
1/2 cup snow peas
3/4 cup julienned carrots
1/2 cup halved green beans
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 1/2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 tablespoon salt

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, blend cornstarch, garlic, 1 teaspoon ginger, and 2 tablespoons vegetable oil until cornstarch is dissolved. Mix in broccoli, snow peas, carrots, and green beans, tossing to lightly coat.
  2. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet or wok over medium heat. Cook vegetables in oil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Stir in soy sauce and water. Mix in onion, salt, and remaining 1 teaspoon ginger. Cook until vegetables are tender but still crisp.

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