Many pregnant women take Ginger for morning sickness… but what else can you use it for?
This flavour packed little root is (I’ve found) a great way to introduce flavour to small people who are fussy eaters. In sweets or savouries, using a strong spice like ginger reduces the need for salt or sweeteners and also has some great health benefits: helping to protect the stomach from NSAID damage (think Aspirin or Nurofen), settle nausea, stimulate blood flow and reduce cholesterol. It’s high antioxidant and some studies have shown it to be an effective treatment for pain. Though therapeutic use would be done with high dose tablets or tinctures, including it into the diet helps to broaden exposure to phytochemicals and nutrients that combine to create a really healthy (and yummy) diet.
Here’s the goss on ginger:
Fibre (2g/100g), phenolic acid, gingerol, phytosterols (150-913 p.p.m.), antioxidants, glutathione, monoterpenes, phenolic acid, terpenoids.
Major Nutritional Values:
- Energy (333kj/100g)
- Protein (1.82g/100g)
- Carbohydrate (17.77g/100g)
- Fat (0.75g/100g including 0.203 saturated)
- B vitamins, vitamin C (5mg/100g), folate (11mcg/100g)
- Magnesium (43mg/100g), Manganese (0.229mg/100g), Potassium (415mg/100g), Iron (0.6mg/100g), Copper (0.226mg/100g), Calcium (16mg/100mg), Selenium (0.7mcg/100g, depending on soil).
Reduces cholesterol, reduces platelet aggregation, lowers blood pressure. Stimulates the digestive system and settles nausea caused by illness, medication (including chemotherapy), motion or pregnancy. Protects the lining of the stomach from damage caused by non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, etc). Prevents gastric ulcers. Increases circulation and can therefore move retained fluid. Stimulates energy. The warming nature of ginger can increase body heat- best taken as a tea for this purpose. Acts as an anti-inflammatory. Antioxidants protect from free radicals that can cause cancers. Phenolic acids and glutathione help to protect against environmental carcinogens. Monoterpenes lower the risk of heart disease and cancer. The terpenoid beta ionine has been shown to reduce the growth rate of cancers in vitro. It also is shown to have pain killing properties because of it’s ability to block prostaglandins that cause inflammation and may be recommended for migraine, arthritis and other painful or inflamed conditions.
Ginger is a food that is very easy to include in the diet, via cooking, baking, ginger teas and even ginger confectionary (to be used in moderation). A classic remedy for morning sickness, even the smell of fresh ginger is refreshing and soothing. Ginger is easily obtained, available at supermarkets and grocery stores. Because of the blood-thinning effects of ginger, it should not be used by those taking Warfarin.
*Info on nutrient levels taken from this USDA site. Health benefits from Dr. Duke’s Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical Databases, Staying healthy with Nutrition by E Haas, Healing with Whole Foods by P Pitchford and Foods That Harm, Foods That Heal by R Stanford. Email if you need references! Ginger is a food and my recommendation is as a dietary staple, not a cure or treatment for any disease. Don’t use too much if you’re not used to cooking with it!