Even though we’re nearing the end of winter, some of us might be feeling the distress of lack of sunlight, bone chilling temperatures and exhausted immune systems from battling colds or flu during the season. Now is the time to revitalize our senses and cleanse our inner selves.
“Ginger in warm water or smoothies alike is a great way to warm up this time of year,” says Cheryl Moffatt, Holistic Nutritionist and Manager at Nutrition Plus Community Health Market in Barrie.
Instead of gingerbread cookies and houses, there are countless ways to use ginger to warm your soul, cleanse your digestive system, ease your stomach, add substantial antioxidants and stabilize your blood sugar levels.
“Over the years ginger has been used to help digestive issues. Greeks would eat ginger wrapped in bread. Eventually, ginger was added to the dough and became a favourite for many – gingerbread,” says Moffatt.
Ginger can be easily added to your daily routine by grating it fresh and steeping it in a cup of hot water, or you can take it in a capsule form after a meal if you feel bloated, says Kassandra Nelson, Supplements Advisor at Gaudaur Natural Foods in Orillia.
“Fresh ginger can fight infection. That’s why it’s used in a lot of cold remedies,” explains Nelson. “It’s also good for inflammation, pain, relaxation, menstrual cramps and arthritis (especially when mixed with turmeric and curcumin).”
There are a variety of ways you can enjoy the health benefits of ginger. You can grate fresh ginger root into a smoothie, or use ginger puree in soup. “Ginger is very gentle. It’s something you can eat that won’t affect your system like some herbs,” says Nelson.
Also, fresh ginger combines nicely with a stir-fry dish or fish. Homemade ginger muffins or loaf make a great easy on-the-go breakfast in the morning, especially for kids racing out the door to catch the bus or run those few blocks to school.
Just like most natural and modern medicinal remedies, there are some people who should consult their doctor or healthcare practitioner before consuming ginger based on their particular health issues and prescribed medication.
“A lot of pregnant women use it. There’s not a lot women can take when pregnant,” Nelson says. Throughout history, ginger has been used in South East Asian regions such as India and China as well as Rome and various tropical areas for treatment of ailments including nausea and colic.
With a rich history, numerous health benefits and accessibility, ginger can easily fit into your daily routine and spice up your winter blahs.