There is nothing better than a glass of adrak wali chai each morning. It wakes you in the morning and rejuvenates you every evening after a tired day at work. As for the dishes, adrak ka swaad in lentil curries and pulses gives a new lip-smacking taste to the boring dal.
‘Adrak’ known as Ginger in English is a time-tested formula in Indian Ayurveda. It not only makes food digestion smoother but also battles cold, cough, flu, fever and other illnesses.
Aromatic, spicy and pungent in nature, ginger brings a special flavour to curries, dry vegetable items, gingerbread, pickles and tea. A ginger root can be used in fresh, dried or powdered form, and even as an oil or juice.
Queen Elizabeth I, the last monarch of the Tudor dynasty, was a ginger fan! That possibly led her to invent the gingerbread man in the 16th century. Ever since, Gingerbread is being savoured by countless children and adults across the world. Let us take a quick look at the goodness of ginger in helping us stay healthy.
Origin of Ginger
The ginger plant is native to south eastern Asia, India and China. It is an integral part of the diet and has been valued for thousands of years for its culinary, aromatic, and medicinal properties.
Some of the top commercial producers of ginger include India, Jamaica, Indonesia, Fiji, and Australia. India is the world leader in the production of ginger.
Nutritional analysis of Ginger
If you want to flavour your food and drinks without adding sodium, add ginger to your recipe. Because of its low consumption in dishes, ginger does not add calories or carbohydrate to your food, which means it’s safe for your waistline!
Ginger has several anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds in the form of gingerols, beta carotene, capsaicin, caffeic acid, curcumin and salicylate that are beneficial to health. A look at the table below will give you an idea of the ingredients and health benefits of ginger.
(Source: Nutrition Data)
Health Benefits of Ginger
- Common Ailments
Ginger has come a long way in proving its efficacy in the field of natural healing. It helps in digestion, reduces nausea and helps fight flu and the common cold.
Other health benefits of this Ayurvedic kitchen ingredient include reducing heart ailments, migraine, depression, and curing disorders related to stress and anxiety.
Gingerol is the natural oil present in ginger that has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. This proves to be effective in treating rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and other muscular disorders. The chemical components of ginger prevent the making of prostaglandins in the body, which are responsible for causing inflammation.
- Fights chronic indigestion
A piece of ginger has phenolic compounds in it that relieve you from irritation in the gastrointestinal tract. It is a good remedy to calm down a troubled stomach. It also provides relief to your bloating and gastric problems that happen due to poor dietary habits. Ginger also stimulates your saliva and bile production.
- Combats nausea
Whenever you feel nauseated, grab a piece of ginger and chew it raw. You can also drink it as ginger tea. This is a good home remedy to treat nausea. Similarly, pregnant women who experience morning sickness can use ginger to relieve themselves of vomiting and nausea tendency. Eating ginger lozenges or candies is a fast and quick way to pop in the benefits of ginger during pregnancy.
- Detoxifier and disinfectant
Ginger promotes body sweating when eaten. This not only helps clean out skin pores, it also makes your body sweat out body toxins. Ginger has been known to reduce viral and bacterial infections in people who sweat regularly.
- Reduces menstrual cramps
Prostaglandin is the key hormone that ups the monthly cramps and pain in ladies. Ginger is the big saviour in such a situation that reduces prostaglandin levels in the body thereby relieving you from cramps.
- Promotes heart health
Ginger is totally heart-friendly. It lowers cholesterol level and regulates blood pressure. But the best part is that it prevents blood clotting, which reduces the risk of heart ailments.
Ginger is high in potassium, which boosts heart health. The manganese present in it also protects the heart, blood vessels and urinary tract.
- Controls diabetes
Ginger is effective in lowering your blood sugar level. You can regulate it by drinking one glass of warm water mixed with one teaspoon of ginger juice first thing in the morning on an empty stomach.
Tips on How to Add Ginger to Your Diet
– Ginger enjoys good pairing with different types of pumpkin and apples. While shopping for ginger, look for a root that has smooth and taut skin (no wrinkles) and a spicy aroma.
– Never keep ginger lying open in a freezer or refrigerator. Keep it in a plastic bag (tightly wrapped) in the fridge.
– Before using, peel and grind or grate fresh ginger. To get the real flavour and health benefits of ginger, use only fresh ginger in recipes.
– As quick tips, add fresh ginger into your smoothie or juice, or to your stir-fry recipe or homemade salad dressing. You can use fresh or dried ginger to spice up any fish recipe or steep fresh ginger (peeled) in boiling water to make your classic ginger tea.
How to make Ginger Tea at home
Source: Tarla Dalal
Now that you know the useful benefits of ginger, stock it at all times in your kitchen. Those of you suffering from heart problem or high blood-pressure, should take ginger after consulting your health professional.
All said and done, ginger is the home remedy that will keep you in the pink of health, provided you balance it with yoga and healthy eating practices.