Ginger is a root, a spice, and a super-food. Ginger has been used as food and with medicine like Ayurveda in India and Chinese medicine for thousands of years. The most important aspect of ginger is to be one of the warming spices that raise our body temperature. It can also be used for faster recovery when we get cold; in fact, my mom normally gave me a ginger tea when I got cold.
Yet, raw ginger itself is categorized as one of the foods that make your body cold (Yin) based on Yin Yang philosophy. Raw ginger is to warm the body surface that is acting to sweat; therefore, the core body temperature is lowered. Imagine when you have a cold and/or fever, you want to lower the temperature down, you can use raw ginger to do just this.
It is ideal to consume cooked or powdered ginger when you want to raise the body temperature from the inside of your body. Someone like me who is sensitive to cold, it is good to have ginger cooked in my food regularly.
What does it mean to raise our body temperature by consuming a spice like ginger? It has been believed that if your body is cold, you are more susceptible to getting a cold or flu due to your weak immune system. So it is important to keep your body warm and have a strong immune system to stay healthy.
Ginger also has the important role of keeping diseases away by maintaining a strong immune system, but it also supports a fast recovery when you do catch one.
Here are 5 most key medicinal benefits of ginger.
1. Strengthens The Immune System
I believe this is the essential benefit of ginger for staying healthy. If the immune system is weakened it allows many kinds of sickness to come into your body. If you catch a cold that means your immune system is weakened. So having a strong immune system is a key to prevent the body from getting infectious diseases.
Also, cancer doesn’t like warm body temperature in the body. It has been said that it is ideal to keep your body temperature higher than 36.5 degrees Celsius so that cancer cells cannot glow in the environment. For this reason, ginger is known to prevent from getting cancer.
2. Increase Blood Circulation
Substances of ginger such as zingerone, shogaols, and gingerols help to produce better blood circulation in the body; which raises body temperature and delivers oxygen and essential nutrition to the body.
In addition, body circulation helps to relieve some pains from a migraine and shoulder ache and does not constipate like modern medicines.
3. Antibacterial Activity
A good example to provide here is a raw fish dish such as Sushi or Sashimi served with pickled ginger you may see at a Japanese restaurant. These dishes with ginger on the side are used in a way to kill bacterial substances in the raw fish and help to suppress your chances of getting diseases when they increased.
Ginger is used for removing the smell of meat as well. So I often use ginger (ground) when I cook meat to provide fresh aroma and spicy flavor.
4. Treat Stomach Problems
Ginger is used to helping aid in digestion and treat various types of stomach problems: nausea, upset stomach, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), gas and diarrhea.
It is also good to treat morning sickness and nausea of chemotherapy for cancer patients. In fact, when my mom was getting chemotherapies and not wanting to eat due to nausea, I brought miso soup with ginger, thinking it would have been easier for her to just drink soup rather than to eat solid food. Also hoping to suppress nausea she had. She was feeling a little better after the soup.
5. Cold, Flue, and Cough
As mentioned in the beginning, ginger helps to build a strong immune system. The stronger the immune system gets the fewer chances of getting sick like the common cold. Even if you actually get a cold or flu, it would help reduce the symptoms.
Ginger also relieves one of the common cold symptoms such as a sore throat. I make a ginger tea when my family catches a cold and for myself. I don’t mind having a piece of ginger in my tea but my boyfriend doesn’t like it so I squeeze and use just the juice in a ginger tea.
Use Moderate Amounts
I cannot find anything bad about ginger. But it doesn’t mean we should use it in everything we do. I would recommend using ginger in a moderate amount as a spice.
Once many years ago, my roommate made a ginger lemon tea for us before going to bed. What happened? I felt so hot and it stimulated my brain too much so that I was wide-awake. I couldn’t sleep that night till early in the morning.
Importance of having a strong immune system
I would like to emphasize of having a strong immune system here again by using my story.
Growing up in Japan as a woman, I have been told that “a woman should never let her body get cold”. What does this means, a woman has a role in bringing babies into this world. If a woman’s body is cold, it is hard for her to conceive a baby. Let alone to give a birth to a child. This story tells me the importance of having a strong immune system in order to “be healthy”. This applies not only to a woman but also for everyone.
People’s food today has changed from our ancestors’. It is believed that there are foods that actually contribute to making a human body colder; examples are refined white sugar, ice cream, white bread, food chemicals, microwaved food, and pills etc. This is based on Yin Yang philosophy which theory is explained that everything is categorized as either Yin or Yang to harmony and balance.
To me this philosophy makes sense. And use as a “reference” when I cook. I like to think about the balance of meal we consume every day. Reminds me a quote from Hippocrates, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”
Let Ginger Be one of Your Super-Foods
As such, ginger is a panacea, remedy for diseases or difficulties. Let ginger to be one of the super-foods you consume every day to help create the healthier body.
Once it becomes your daily custom to consume ginger, it would be less of a chance to catch a cold easily: stronger immune system. Let’s stay healthy!