What is ginger?
Ginger is a rhizomatic herb, or herbaceous plant, of Asian origin. It has a spicy taste and its smell is very strong. It is considered, for these factors, a hot plant.
It was the English botanist William Roscoe who gave the plant the scientific name of
Zingiber officinale. The nomenclature comes from a Sanskrit word that means “horn shape”, as a tribute to the protruding shapes that the rhizomes (underground stems) of ginger present.
There are approximately 85 species of fragrant herbs of the genus
Zingiber . They are found predominantly in East Asia and tropical Australia.
In states like Florida, California and Hawaii, the plants have orchid-like flowers on their stems.
The used parts of ginger include its rhizome, root and leaves. From yellow to bright brown, externally, its body is elongated and full of fragmented irregular branches.
It is considered a spice, being present in various dishes, in the manufacture of syrups and sweets. It is found in several types, such as root, powder, fresh, dried, in capsules, syrups and other pharmaceutical products.
What is it for?
Ginger is a medicinal plant that helps in the treatment of various diseases, such as
heartburn , gastritis , poor digestion, sore throats and high cholesterol.
It is also popular for helping to treat cardiovascular diseases and even being a preventive agent against some types of
As a seasoning, it is used in various Asian dishes, including sweet and savory. It is common to accompany Indian and Japanese dishes, such as sushi, for example.
This plant can also be found as a root, in powder and even in the form of massage oils.
Because it is a diuretic and contributes to a faster metabolism, ginger is also used by people looking to lose weight. In these cases,
ginger tea is the most consumed form.
In addition, it is beneficial for its anti-inflammatory, analgesic, vasodilator, anticoagulant, antispasmodic and anticoagulant properties.
Properties and nutritional table
The main substance of ginger is gingerol, it is he who provides benefits such as the preventive action of some types of cancer. This substance is also responsible for protecting our body from inflammation.
Gingerol is also responsible for exerting antifungal and analgesic action, helping to reduce
fever (antipyretic) and inhibiting platelet aggregation, which reduces the risk of thrombus.
In the nutritional table below, it is possible to check all the nutrients present in this plant. Consider the values for 100 grams of ginger, which is much higher than what should be consumed daily, considering that the limit should be 3 grams for adults.
Ginger lose weight?
Ginger tea can be beneficial for those who want to lose weight, as it has a diuretic function and is considered a food that speeds up the metabolism.
However, ginger itself may not be the best option for those who want to lose weight, as it increases appetite.
Thus, exaggerating consumption, in addition to bringing other complications, can cause the opposite effect, that is, end up gaining weight.
However, ginger is a good option to have in your daily diet, and tea, especially, can contribute to weight loss. This, of course, when you have the combination of exercise and good nutrition.
There are several benefits attributed to this plant. There are surveys that point to more than 100 diseases or symptoms that can be alleviated or prevented with the consumption of ginger.
It is undoubtedly an important number, which reveals the importance of this spice in our daily lives. Find out which are the main ones:
Relieves menstrual cramps
Ginger can be used to relieve menstrual pain, which may arise during or before the menstrual period.
Because it is anti-inflammatory and analgesic, ginger can help relieve these pains. In such cases, it is recommended to consume ginger as tea.
It is antioxidant
Its antioxidant action helps to fight free radicals, which, although necessary for our organism, in excess can cause various diseases.
This is because free radicals do not have an even number of electrons in the last electron shell, which makes them unstable. And when they seek to establish a balance, they can end up causing serious complications.
They can lead to the oxidation of healthy cells, such as lipids,
proteins and DNA. This attack on the healthy cells of our organism leads to the destruction of the polyunsaturated fatty acids that are part of the cell membranes, a process called lipid peroxidation.
Basically, free radicals end up attacking the good cells of our organism for trying to reestablish themselves. In this way, ginger becomes a way to prevent this whole process from happening.
As an antioxidant, it helps prevent our body from premature aging of cells, flu, colds and some types of cancer.
Some chronic and degenerative diseases are related to this process caused by free radicals, they are:
Has anti-inflammatory action
Ginger is considered a medicinal plant and is largely due to its anti-inflammatory power. It is used as an alternative treatment to symptoms of
arthritis , muscle pain and respiratory diseases such as bronchitis , asthma and cough.
Eases nausea caused by chemotherapy
Patients affected by some type of cancer, who are undergoing chemotherapy, may find ginger to help with the nausea caused by this procedure.
Studies have shown very positive results in patients who use the plant to reduce these nausea.
Because it is a medicinal plant that is very beneficial in reducing nausea and because it is beneficial to the digestive system, it is a natural way to make people’s lives minimally more comfortable.
Ginger, as an anticoagulant, contributes to better blood circulation, in addition to lowering blood pressure and decreasing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Thus, it is beneficial for peripheral areas such as brain, hands and feet.
It also helps to reduce diseases related to poor circulation such as
thrombosis , numbness, cramps, varicose veins and memory loss.
Ginger can be a tool for better immunity. Because it is anti-inflammatory, analgesic and other benefits, it helps our body to become stronger and prevents diseases such as colds and flu.
Reduces nausea and relieves digestive problems
Ginger can help relieve pregnancy sickness and is also used by people who experience this discomfort on air travel, for example.
For this benefit, it is also used in aromatherapy, in the form of essential oil. In these cases, it plays a role against digestive disorders, such as flatulence and
Helps prevent heart disease
This medicinal plant has vitamin B6, magnesium, potassium and several other nutrients that are beneficial for the heart, decreasing the chances of heart disease to develop.
With magnesium and potassium, ginger helps to lower blood pressure, one of the risk factors for cardiovascular diseases to happen. In addition, ginger can help reduce bad cholesterol, another factor considered harmful to our health.
Helps in the treatment of infertility and erectile dysfunction
Men’s health, just as it is for women, has a lot to gain from consuming ginger. That’s because there are studies that point out that the consumption of ginger has good results in cases of
erectile dysfunction and infertility.
Because it is a vasodilator, ginger becomes beneficial for men who suffer from this type of problem by stimulating better circulation and blood flow.
It also acts directly on the neurological system, which implicitly interferes with the treatment of erectile dysfunction.
Manganese, present in ginger, helps in the release of testosterone, the male sex hormone. Thus, this substance becomes essential to maintain sexual desire and the production of sperm.
Consequently, it acts beneficially as a way of treating erectile dysfunction and also infertility.
Prevents colorectal cancer
Colorectal cancer, or colon cancer, can be prevented with the use of ginger due to gingerol, a substance that gives ginger its characteristic spicy taste. This type of cancer can affect both men and women, so ginger can be considered in both cases.
Helps fight cellulite
Ginger can be an ally to fight cellulite. These little marks, although common, tend to be very unpleasant for many women. Because it is anti-inflammatory, this food helps to make the skin smoother and without the orange peel aspect that
Prevents Alzheimer’s and other cognitive diseases
Cognitive and degenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, are associated with some factors such as oxidative
stress and chronic inflammation, which contribute to the aging process.
Some studies done with antioxidants and bioactive substances present in ginger have shown that these compounds have an inhibiting action on inflammations that affect the brain.
There are also observations about how ginger is beneficial for improving brain functions, such as cognition and memory.
Reduces bad breath and prevents toothache
Bad breath and toothache are not pleasant conditions. Among the ways to treat these problems, there is the use of ginger. Because it is antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and analgesic, it contributes to relieve pain and bad odors in the oral region.
For this, it is possible to chew the raw root, prepare an infusion or apply the ginger as a paste in the region where it hurts. In addition to relieving toothache, it will be a remedy for bad breath.
It’s an aphrodisiac
There are foods that can increase libido, and ginger is one of them. This root is responsible for increasing the blood flow to the genitals, stimulating the desire.
In addition to being beneficial for sex life, for both men and women, it provides a greater sense of well-being.
Assists in the treatment of diabetes
Ginger can be used to help treat
diabetes , as it reduces glucose levels by up to 30%.
It also helps people with type II diabetes to expel 10% more insulin.
However, these benefits are manifested with regular consumption of ginger. Just as it can be an effective natural remedy, overeating is not good for you.
Before using, consult with a doctor and check the possibility of adding this ingredient to the treatment of diabetes.
Contributes to weight loss
Ginger can contribute to weight loss as it balances hormones and energy levels.
It also helps in controlling appetite, a problem associated with stress and a possible hormonal imbalance. Consequently, it reduces swelling caused by these factors.
There are also studies that show ginger as responsible for stabilizing cortisol levels in the body, which may be related to the increase or difficulty in losing weight.
Read more: What is ginger tea for and what are its benefits?
How much should I consume?
Ginger, when consumed in excess, presents health complications. Daily consumption of 2 to 4 grams is recommended. In this way, it is possible to nourish itself with all its properties, without bringing health risks.
However, that amount is not a rule. It is understood that each organism responds differently to the substances consumed.
Therefore, it is best to seek medical advice to understand the limit that your body should consume from this plant, so that it does not have any side effects.
Ginger, although of great value in the treatment or prevention of various diseases, has some contraindications. What becomes a benefit in some cases, can become a risk for the worsening of other pathologies.
Know some cases in which the use of ginger can become a risk:
Ginger should be avoided during pregnancy, or, if consumed, should be in very small doses and under medical supervision.
The risk that this plant poses to pregnant women is associated with the fact that it causes premature contractions or even, in extreme cases, causes a miscarriage.
Thus, the consumption of the root is contraindicated, at least, during the first three months.
However, there are studies showing that ginger helps to reduce nausea early in pregnancy. In any case, what should be considered is the medical assessment of the risk-benefit present in this plant, since each body will react independently.
Ginger is not suitable for people who are underweight because it is a thermogenic and diuretic food. Just as it can be advantageous for those who want to lose weight, for those who need or want to put on weight, consuming it can be disadvantageous.
Before any surgery
Because it is anticoagulant, ginger is contraindicated for people who are going to have some surgery, due to the risk of bleeding. Therefore, it should be consumed, at most, up to 3 to 4 days before the procedure.
People with gallstones
People with gallstones should avoid ginger, as the plant increases bile production.
This production can generate a greater effort for the gallbladder, causing this bile to become crystals, causing severe pain in the affected patient.
In some cases, it is only with emergency surgery that these conditions can be reversed. Therefore, it is not recommended to consume ginger if you suffer from this pathology.
People who suffer from bleeding disorders or any disease related to the blood system should be careful about using ginger. Because it is anticoagulant, this plant, in excess, can end up causing hemorrhage.
People using certain medications
People who use drugs for hypertension or anticoagulants, such as aspirin, should avoid consuming ginger. This plant may end up increasing the effect of the medication and causing complications such as bleeding and fainting. In cases of
gallstones , ginger can only be consumed according to medical advice.
There are some side effects associated with excessive consumption of ginger. Exceeding the amount that should be consumed daily can cause complications such as causing miscarriage, increasing menstrual flow, making cases of ulcers and gastritis more intense.
When used externally, as an essential oil, it can cause skin burns.
Among other side effects related to abuse, are the following symptoms:
Scaly and dry skin;
Negative reaction to anesthesia;
Ginger has some drug interactions. This means that, people who use certain medications must take greater care or even avoid the consumption of this plant.
Among the drugs that have some kind of interaction with this root are:
Medicines that have sucralfate, ranitidine or lansoprazole;
Medicines for the heart or that interfere with cardiac contraction, such as beta-blockers and digoxin.
Many dishes use ginger as an ingredient. Its spicy flavor can be enjoyed in both savory and sweet dishes. It can be consumed fresh, dry, preserved or crystallized.
However, if a recipe calls for ginger in some specific type, it is not advisable to substitute it, as the flavor varies by type. For example, if a recipe calls for dry ginger, when using preserved ginger, the taste will be different from what the recipe originally dictated.
Dry ginger has a milder flavor, is more aromatic and is widely used in Japan, China, Indonesia, India and Thailand.
In Japan, there is a custom to use the juice of squeezed ginger to season chicken and preserves called beni shouga, made with fresh ginger. These are used pure or as an accompaniment to sushi.
Here are some suggestions on how to use it:
Ginger tea is easy to make and there are several recipes, with varied ingredients. It can be prepared with powdered ginger, fresh root, dried or with dehydrated ginger. To extract your substances better, it is best to use the dry root.
Check out a simple ginger tea recipe. To see other recipes like this, visit:
Ginger tea: what is it for, how to make it, do you lose weight?
2 to 3 centimeters of fresh ginger;
1 liter of water.
How to prepare
Wash the ginger well, then cut or grate. Boil the water and add the ginger. Leave covered, still on high heat, and, after 8 to 10 minutes, remove from heat. Strain before consuming.
Grilled salmon with ginger
2 salmon slices;
Juice of 1 orange;
1 teaspoon of garlic powder;
1 teaspoon of powdered ginger;
2 tablespoons of soy sauce;
1 spoon (cup) of honey.
How to prepare
In a container or plastic bag, place the salmon and add the orange juice, garlic, ginger, soy sauce and honey.
It is necessary that all this seasoning involves the salmon well. If preparing in a container, cover tightly and set aside in the refrigerator. And if you are preparing it in the plastic bag, close it carefully and, likewise, take the refrigerator.
Let the salmon rest in the seasoning for 30 minutes, so that all the flavors of the ingredients are used. In a row, light a frying pan with a little oil and let it grill. Is ready.
Mashed sweet potato with ginger
4 to 5 sweet potatoes;
1 cup (tea) of milk;
1 tablespoon of margarine;
1 tablespoon ginger;
Salt to taste;
Tomato sauce (optional).
How to prepare
First, cook the potatoes and, after they are cooked, peel them, because removing the peel after cooking, besides being easier, it avoids the waste of the
potato pulp .
After peeling, mash and set aside. In a saucepan, place the cup of milk, margarine and salt to taste. In sequence, place the potatoes. Over low heat, stir until it comes off the bottom of the pan.
Add the spoon of ginger and turn off the heat. Place in a serving bowl. If you prefer, add tomato sauce on top.
Carrot and ginger muffins
160 grams of whole wheat flour;
4 tablespoons of sunflower oil;
150 grams of grated carrot;
1 grated fresh ginger nut;
1 teaspoon of salt;
1 teaspoon of yeast;
125 ml of soy milk;
How to prepare
Beat the eggs with the oil and then add the milk, flour, salt and yeast. After obtaining a homogeneous mixture, add the grated carrot and ginger.
In molds for mini-muffins (yields 24 units) or muffins (yields 8 units), pour the dough and sprinkle sesame seeds on top of each muffin.
In an oven heated to 180º, let it bake for 20 minutes. Finally, increase the oven temperature so that the sesame seeds are toasted, for 2 minutes.
How to store
Ginger is a plant with many benefits, and, in good conservation, it can last up to 6 months in your refrigerator. Learn how to store correctly with these three options:
Saving for 3 weeks
To preserve the ginger root for up to 3 months, one option is to keep it wrapped in paper towels, inside plastic bags for freezing. Leave it in the refrigerator drawer.
Saving for 3 months
Place the ginger in a glass jar and cover it completely with sweet wine and keep it closed. That way, it will be kept for up to three months.
Saving for 6 months
For those who intend to leave ginger for 6 months in the refrigerator, without using it for this long period, but still want to keep it good for consumption, this is a good tip.
First, cut the ginger into pieces, still with the peel. Cover them with paper towels – if possible, each piece packed separately is even better – and store it in a plastic bag for freezing. This time, leave it in the fridge freezer.
Ginger is a plant with several possibilities, benefits and some care. It is possible to explore both its characteristic flavor and perfume and its health benefits.
It is essential, in case of any contraindication or suspicion of
allergy to this root, that a doctor is sought for the best guidance. If you are in groups that have some type of contraindication, avoid consumption.
In excess, ginger is not good for your health, but when ingested in the right doses it can contribute to alleviate many symptoms and chronic diseases.