By Jennifer Copley (Last Updated 8 January 2010)
This super-spice contains a broad array of beneficial compounds, including beta-carotene, curcumin, and salicylate. In addition to being a potent antioxidant (which means that it may protect against many different health problems), research indicates that ginger can reduce nausea and other gastrointestinal symptoms. Ginger also has anti-inflammatory properties, making it beneficial for arthritis sufferers. Studies indicate that ginger may reduce menstrual pain for some women as well.
The gingerol compound, which gives ginger its flavour, helps to protect against cancer, particularly colon and ovarian, as well as boosting immune function and helping to fight infection. Additionally, ginger is a source of magnesium, copper, potassium, vitamin B6, and manganese, all important nutrients for good health.
Combining fresh grated ginger with water, lemon juice, and a bit of honey makes a refreshing ginger lemonade.
Grated ginger can also be sprinkled on rice dishes, combined with orange juice to flavour pureed sweet potatoes, and added to certain salad dressings and sauces. It is a popular ingredient in Asian cooking, where it is often used in stir-fry recipes with beef, chicken, fish, or mixed vegetables.
Ginger is a wonderful addition to many different baked goods, particularly cookies, gingerbread, spice cakes, fruit pies, and pumpkin pie. It goes well with other spices such as cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.
Ginger tea is used as a home remedy for nausea, cold, flu, and sore throat. It is made with fresh ginger root and hot water, and, optionally, honey and lemon or lime.
There are also many delicious ginger coffee recipes available online.
For a full list of healthy herbs and spices and the reference list for this information series, see the main High-Antioxidant Herbs and Spices page.