Ginger: A Series of Facts


December 5, 2012

Care of Amy Symington

Serious facts about ginger: Its recorded origin dates back 3000 years to a Sanskrit word “srngaveram” which translates to mean “horn root,” coinciding with its horn and root like appearance.  However, the Indian and Chinese are believed to have been utilizing this spicy pungent root for well over 5000 years, specifically for medicinal purposes.

There is no question then why ginger is one of the most frequently utilized spice and dietary condiments in the world.  Zingiber officinale, or ginger as we know it, is also world renowned for its potential relief of nausea, arthritis, colds and headaches in addition to potentially preventing chronic diseases like the big bad 3 – diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

In recent years much research has been executed and many scientific reports have been written in regards to ginger’s powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-nausea properties.  As always in the nutrition world the execution of more research is necessary to defiantly determine the outcome of ginger’s consumption, however currently there are some powerful reasons for adding ginger to your food repertoire. As ginger has extremely high levels of antioxidants present (only pomegranate and some types of berries exceed its levels) it has been shown to reduce overall levels of oxidative stress in those that consume it.  Oxidative stress can cause DHA damage, plaque build-up, kidney damage and overall inflammation which can lead to various inflammatory diseases like arthritis, diabetes, atherosclerosis and some cancers.

In terms of its anti-nausea benefits and relief from gastrointestinal discomfort, ginger has been shown to increase gastric emptying which results in the relief of unwanted built-up gas.  Ginger has also been shown to be of value in alleviating pregnancy induced nausea and nausea related to chemotherapy treatment.

Less serious facts about ginger: Ginger is the cousin to the other well-known spices, turmeric and cardamom. Queen Elizabeth I was credited to have come up with the infamous gingerbread man cookie that is gratuitously consumed during the winter holidays.  Thanks Lizzy! Expressive words used to describe ginger:  hot, fragrant, spicy, juicy, and peppery. For an easier and more efficient way to peel fresh ginger use a spoon to scrape off unwanted skin in lieu of a peeler or knife.

Delicious facts about ginger: In present day many forms of this fragrant favourite exist including candied, crystalized, powdered, pickled, dried and fresh versions. In addition to its medicinal and physiological uses ginger’s pungent, aromatic and unique taste is a chef’s best friend in the kitchen.

The best tool to use to finely purée ginger is a rasp. For a punch of flavour, use ginger in lieu of unnecessary added fat, sugar or salt in dressings, breads, marinades, stir-fries, curries, cookies, homemade chocolate, and any kind of cake.  Moms/Grandmas have an endless supply of ginger tea/ginger ale. It’s the law.

Filed under: Eat Veg elifelines Food of the Month Nutrition