You’ve got to love herbs and spices.
Herbs and spices are great because they’re easy to store and don’t go off, they’re cheap to buy and they’re fun to grow. That alone means that they’re ideal for keeping around the kitchen and then using to add flavor to your meals. When you sprinkle a little bit of ginger or fennel on your next meal from your herb rack, you will no doubt get a pang of pride that comes from taking your cooking to the next level and adding flavor to your meals. This is especially true if you grew the ginger yourself too!
But perhaps the best part is just how healthy many herbs and spices are. Many of the items you find in your herb/spice rack are actually packed with nutrients and can boost the healthy-benefits of any meal to a large degree. As though that wasn’t enough, they will also often do so without adding any calories at all (or very few) to your meal. That makes them the perfect option for getting more nutrients and flavor in your food without packing on the pounds.
And one of my very favorite foods when it comes to amazing health benefits is ginger. Read on to find out the amazing benefits of ginger and just how easily you can enjoy them for yourself!
Let’s start by looking at one impressive and incredible use for ginger: combating colds!
Colds are caused by an infection of the upper respiratory tract caused by numerous different viruses. These will then penetrate the mucus layer of the nose and cause irritation, pain and discomfort. Fortunately, ginger can turn the tides of this battle thanks to its status as a potent antiviral agent. In other words, ginger is able to kill off unwanted bacteria and thereby combat colds. If you add a little ginger to your tea, then this may help you to ease the symptoms of a cold and even speed up recovery.
Another advantage of ginger is that it can stimulate perspiration – making you sweat. This is ideal for those struggling with a temperature associated with cold or flu, because it can help to ease the body temperature. That’s actually the purpose of sweat – the fluid steals the body heat in order to evaporate and this helps to return you to a normal temperature.
On top of that, ginger is known as an anti-inflammatory. This may help boost the immune system and to ease many of the symptoms of the battle against foreign invaders. This can in particular help to ease inflammation in the throat that causes much of the scratchiness you get after a cold.
Then there are the ‘sesquiterpenes’ – elements found in ginger that make it effective as at targeting and destroying rhinoviruses.
As a side note, many of the benefits of ginger that we’ve just looked at will also make it effective at combating allergic symptoms. The anti-inflammatory effects are particularly effective for reducing swelling that can come from a range of allergic reactions.
What’s more, is that ginger is also considered to be a natural antihistamine. This means that it can help to combat the symptoms of the immune response – just like anti-histamine tablets you might get in the shop.
There are many more health benefits of ginger too. For example, ginger is commonly used as a way to combat nausea and sickness. It has traditionally been used as a sea sickness remedy and can also be recommended for those that get travel sickness from travelling in cars. Simply add a little ginger to some warm water and drink and it can help to settle the stomach. Some studies suggest that it may even be as effective as prescription medication.
Another benefit of ginger is that it might help to soothe muscle and joint pain. This means it could potentially be an effective choice for bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts looking to speed up recovery following workouts. It might also be helpful as a way to combat injuries. It is suggested that these effects are a result of the anti-inflammatory properties of ginger.
Likewise, for the same reasons, ginger can also be a useful remedy for fighting the effects of osteoarthritis. This is a condition caused by degeneration of the joints in the body and in one study with 247 participants, it was found that ginger could reduce pain and the need for medication.
On top of all this, ginger has also been found to reduce blood sugar making it a useful dietary supplement for those suffering from diabetes. It’s also effective at combating heart disease and chronic indigestion. It even helps to treat menstrual pain!
If you want to benefit from ginger, you need to find a way to conveniently get it in your diet. One of the best ways to do that is with ginger tea.
This is a simple beverage that tastes great and is ideal for sipping when you have a cold or just want a pick me up. Start by thoroughly washing the ginger, then peel and slice it into thin, small pieces. Boil some water and then place into a pan on a hob with the lid on. This will allow you to keep the water boiling. Now add the ginger and keep it simmering for 15 to 20 minutes. Allow to sit for 5 minutes and then decant into mugs or glasses.
If you are not a fan of the ginger ‘bits’ in your tea, then you can steep either with a tea strainer or with a sieve in order to remove any lumps. Drink at room temperature after allowing to cool for a few minutes. This will infuse the water with the nutritional benefits of the ginger and make for a healthy and very comforting drink. If you wish, you can also add milk for extra creamy flavor.