As onions and garlic get sidelined during navratras, ginger takes centre stage, and that makes the nutritionist in me really happy. This is one ingredient I believe we all must have lots of, but somehow don’t, which is why this de rigueur eating gladdens my heart no end. Why? These are the reasons:
It is your gut’s fast friend and is gastro-protective. It helps block acid and suppresses infection causing bacteria Helicobacter py-lori. A 2007 study even proved that ginger is actually far more ef-fective than drug lansoprazole for preventing the formation of ul-cers (it showed six-to eight-fold greater potency over the drug). Wow! Ayurveda has always known about this herb and recom-mended it wholeheartedly. Traditionally it has been used to soothe gastric disturbances like colic, upset stomach, gas, diar-rhea, nausea and more for ages now.
There’s more! If you are worried about your genetic propensity towards arthritis, then you must adopt ginger liberally. It contains very potent anti-inflammatory compounds called gingerols, which work the magic. At least two clinical studies have reported that 75% of arthritis patients and 100% of patients with muscular dis-comfort experienced relief of pain and/or swelling after consuming ginger regularly. Easy pill this one.
There are reports that ginger provides protection against cancers too, particularly colorectal cancer.
It is known to promote healthy sweating even during the cold months and works as a good detox agent.
Research about it’s effect on blood sugar is in nascent stage, but reports suggest that ginger may have powerful anti-diabetic properties.
It is well known that oxidative stress and chronic inflammation can accelerate the aging process and hasten alzheimer’s disease and age-related cognitive decline. Ginger can help cut both stress and inflammation to size.
Ginger is a wonderful immune system booster too, which is why it is great to keep colds and flus away and also help treat them. It’s a good combat agent for the upper respiratory tract infections too and works on coughs, sore throats and bronchitis like a dream.
Finally research has also shown that ginger can provide pain relief from migraine headaches. Apparently it works on migraines by blocking prostaglandins (which stimulate muscle contractions), controlling inflammation in the blood vessels, and impacting some hormones.
Max it’s benefits
The best news of course is that it is so concentrated with active substances that you don’t need to have a lot if it to score the benefits. The pungency in ginger is derived from compounds gingerol, shogaol and zingerone. Gingerol is the active component in fresh ginger, zingerone, the least pungent compound is formed when gingerol is cooked, while shogaol – which is twice as pungent, is formed when gingerol is dried.
To make ginger tea, steep one or two 1/2-inch slices of fresh gin-ger in a cup of hot water. Or you could also combine ginger, soy sauce, olive oil and garlic to make a wonderful salad dressing. And yes cook all your navratri dishes with lots of ginger.