Food Cures with Ginger
By Sarah Axtell, ND • July 16, 2014
Ginger root is one of my most favorite herbs. It adds pungency and spice to foods; it is a nutrition all-star; and I think I am partial to it because of my 3 beloved gingers at home- Chris, Cecelia and Louisa! It’s very warming, perfect for a rainy or snowy winter day.
Here are some benefits of the aromatic and spicy herb.
Digestive benefits: In herbal medicine, ginger is termed a carminative, meaning it helps decrease and eliminate gas. It stimulates digestion and helps keep the intestinal muscles toned. This promotes an efficient and effective transport of substances through the GI tract, lessening overall irritation. Ginger also helps protect the stomach from damaging effects of alcohol and NSAIDs (ibuprofen), thus preventing ulcers. It’s also a great remedy for motion sickness, nausea or vomiting.
Circulatory benefits: You may have been familiar with the above digestive benefits, but did you know that ginger reduces the risk of atherosclerosis (or clogged arteries)? It does this by making blood platelets less sticky and less likely to aggregate. Yay for a healthy heart!
Anti-inflammatory benefits: Ginger is one of the all-star herbs (among many others like turmeric and garlic) that help to decrease inflammation in the body. This is helpful in cases of acute inflammation, like the pain of a sore joint or the pain of menstrual cramps. It is also highly beneficial in the cases of chronic inflammation, which is the root cause of most chronic diseases- like cancer, heart disease, arthritis, auto-immune diseases and diabetes. It’s also good for your immune system!
Here are some delicious ginger recipes that ring true to the ole’ saying “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Food cures!
Hot Spiced Coconut Milk– makes 6 servings, from Clean Start, by Terry Walters
A warming creamy drink for the cold and wet time of year. It is like a chai tea latte. Great for kids too! It’s good to get kids used to fresh herbs at a young age.
- 3 cups unsweetened almond milk
- 1.5 cups unsweetened coconut milk
- 1 tbsp fresh grated turmeric
- 1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
- 3 pieces star anise
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 5 whole cloves
- Zest of an orange
- Freshly grated whole nutmeg
Place all ingredients except nutmeg in a pot over high heat and whisk until smooth. Bring to gentle boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 30 minutes. Remove from heat and serve hot, topped with nutmeg.
Chewy Ginger Almond Cookies- egg free, dairy free, wheat free, refined sugar free
I made these this afternoon, and I must say my house smells so good and cozy! They are easy and quick to make with minimal, simple ingredients. You and your family are bound to love ’em! They include molasses, which is one of my most favorite sweeteners. Molasses is rich in Iron, giving energy to growing kids, menstruating women, and pregnant mamas. They are also protein-packed, thanks to the almond butter which holds them together. Protein and sweets go together because it will balance out the glucose (and resulting insulin) surge you get from the sweets.
- 2 cups oat flour (simply blend 2 cups oats in blender or food processor to make flour)
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or just add nutmeg and clove in addition to the cinnamon)
- 1/2 cup almond butter
- 1/2 cup molasses
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1-2 tbsps grated fresh ginger
Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine all dry ingredients and mix. Combine all wet ingredients and mix. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix well. Drop batter by heaping teaspoons onto greased cookie sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
Other Ideas for Using Fresh Ginger:
- Add to stir-fries for an added kick to your everyday soy sauce
- Place a few sliced pieces in a mug and pour boiling water over it. Easy ginger tea for an upset stomach or pain!
- Add to your favorite pesto recipe for some added spice.
- Add to oatmeal or granola for a delicious and rejuvenating breakfast!
- Make a delicious peanut sauce with peanut butter, Braag’s Liquid Aminos (or soy sauce or wheat-free tamari), honey, touch of water, and ginger.
- Add to your favorite smoothie recipe.
Editor’s Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health practitioners with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.