Gingerly Delicious Way to Beat the Flu
The Golden Root
Get to the Root!
I have always used a fair amount of ginger in my cooking. Long before I knew how beneficial it was to health and the immune system. I also have to tell you that my children and I very rarely suffer from colds and flu. Maybe consuming ginger isn't the only reason for this, but if we are what we eat, it must play a productive role in our case.
My love of travel introduced me to foods in various continents and I savor the insight it gives me into the people and the cultures I explore. Dietary condiments, herbs, and spices that are used to flavor foods impart the distinctive aromas to foods around the world, making them unique to the region, are an exciting discovery by themselves. With the world coming closer together through global interactions, these exotic condiments have become accessible and available throughout the world, encouraging chefs and the cooks at home to create new dishes or put a spin on traditional ones to add depth and interest to everyday cooking.
Ginger is well-known to the western world, yet not as fully exploited in culinary use as it has potential for. Highly aromatic and full of zing, the ginger root offers not just richness of flavor, but also enormous health benefits. From its ancient origins in the Indian subcontinent to its global presence, this wonder root - Zingiber Officinale - is a close relative of turmeric and cardamom. Sanskrit texts dating as far back as 3 and 4 century AD reveal its medicinal uses for ailments and health conditions. The consumed part of the plant are not actually roots but rhizomes, or stems, although the words are used interchangeably.
Traders from the Arab world brought ginger to the Mediterranean region and exported it to Greece and Rome more than 2000 years ago.
Around the thirteenth century, a pound of ginger was the same price as a lamb in the Arab trading world.
In the Medieval ages, ginger became the preserved product used in sweets in Europe.
The gingerbread man was born, thanks to Queen Elizabeth I of England. It is said that she presented royal visitors to the palace a likeness of their own image in beautifully wrapped gingerbread men.
Owing to its pungent, strong and heat-producing effects, ginger was thought to be a potent aphrodisiac through several ages.
The Greeks used to roll a piece of ginger in bread to eat after a large meal as a digestive aid.
Why It is so Good for You
- Very useful as an immune system booster, especially against colds and flu. Tea infused with ginger also helps relieve cold and flu symptoms.
- Gastrointestinal benefits: Ginger helps rid the body of intestinal gas through its carminative effect. The spasmolytic property helps soothe the intestinal tract.
- Rich antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties known as gingerols.
- Helps combat motion sickness.
- Provides significant and completely safe relief of nausea associated with pregnancy.
- Medical studies have suggested its benefit in patients suffering from arthritis in the reduction of pain.
- It is also considered to help in the prevention of cancer, particularly of the colon.
How to Use Ginger in Food and Drink
While most of us in the western world associate ginger with sweet dainties, such as gingerbread cookies or pies and gingerbread houses, there are many ways to incorporate this delightfully healthy spice into everyday meals. Its sharp, spicy tang infuses a delightful, fresh scent into many things you prepare.
- Asian-inspired dishes: Peel and grate a one-inch or larger piece of ginger and toss into a bit of oil in a wok or saute pan before adding meat and vegetables.
- Coconut and ginger rice: In a tablespoon of hot vegetable oil in a saucepan, heat a few slivers of peeled ginger to release the aroma, then add rice, stir and add one cup coconut milk along with water to make up the cooking liquid in the usual proportion.
- Indian and Jamaican recipes often call for ginger in the preparation of bases for many curries. Try them! http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/3376/ http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Indian-Style-Chicken-with-Ginger-and-Curry-5622
- Cocktails spiced with ginger taste exotic and delightful. You can use homemade ginger syrup to create a variety of beverages. All you need is 1/4 pound of ginger, peeled and sliced, a cup of sugar and one cup of water. Heat, simmer, cool and store in the refrigerator to liven up your vodka, whiskey, tequila, bourbon or brandy. http://drinks.seriouseats.com/2013/10/ginger-drinks-cocktail-recipes-fall-drinks-with-fresh-ginger-canton-liqueur.html
The Last Word
Food is good and nourishes our body. Some things more than others. Ginger is one of those things. So simple to use and a powerful weapon against the ills of this time of year. So go ahead and indulge! It will fortify you.