Anita Capizzi RN, CHC
Anita's Healthy Tips
Ginger is one of my very favorite foods that I eat on a daily basis. There are so many reasons to use this amazing spice and with cold and flu season looming just around the bend, I thought it would be a good time to talk about it’s health benefits and uses.
The Many Properties of Ginger
I like to use ginger because it tastes great and it has anti-inflammatory and anti-viral effects in the body. Gingerols are the potent anti-inflammatory component in ginger responsible for reducing pain and increasing mobility.
When consumed on a regular basis, people with osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis may experience less joint pain and find that it’s easier to move around. Use freshly minced ginger root in sauces when making stir fries or grated on top of hot cooked rice.
Inflammation can also be silent in the body, on a cellular level, without our noticing it, setting the stage for disease formation. I put a few inches of fresh ginger root in my morning smoothie everyday to counteract any inflammation in my body.
Ginger for Nausea
Ginger is well known to alleviate nausea/vomiting whether it be due to pregnancy or motion sickness. Steeping 1-2 slices of ginger root in a cup of hot water for a few minutes can be helpful for nausea. It also aids in digestion and helps to reduce intestinal gas.
Ginger for Prevention
If you sense a cold or flu coming on, ginger is an excellent choice to use as an anti-viral.
I learned a great recipe from my friend Lisa Wilson, CHC, to chase away an oncoming cold. She uses 1 clove of garlic and 1 inch of fresh ginger in a cup of water in a high speed blender, blending until hot. Add lemon if you wish. Drink several times throughout the day.....it’s not been proven scientifically, but it sure helps you feel better!
Find ways to include ginger in your meals. Sweet potatoes, although wonderful by themselves, can benefit from the addition of a little grated ginger and a touch of orange juice. Put some grated ginger in your lemonade to give it a kick or try making your own ginger ale with, or (hopefully) without sugar, using this simple recipe :
Get used to buying and using fresh ginger root found in the produce section. It will have more flavor and have higher levels of the important gingerols, than the dried form. It’s important to store ginger in the refrigerator where it will keep for 2-3 weeks. You can also freeze fresh ginger for up to 6 months.
We can all start decreasing any internal inflammation that we may have by including ginger in our diets. And if you have a great way to use ginger, please include it in the comments below!
Anita Capizzi, RN, CHC, is a Registered Nurse, graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and Certified Health Coach at National Integrated Health Associates, NIHA. Her philosphy is to meet people where they are and upgrade their level of holistic nutrition and wellness, one step at a time. Anita Capizzi conducts a 3 month group program for those with metabolic syndrome, pre-diabetes/diabetes or blood sugar issues, Type II diabetes or for diabetes prevention, called Take Control of Your Blood Sugar.