‘Tis the season for gingerbread houses, cookies, coffees, teas, and more.
Perhaps you’ve even made some of these delicious, festive treats yourself!
But I encourage you to enjoy some REAL ginger this holiday season…and all year round, for that matter.
After all, studies show ginger can support your overall health in FIVE powerful ways.
I’ll explain how in just a moment. But first, let’s back up to discuss the history of this wonderful, ancient spice…
This golden spice dates back thousands of years
Ground ginger comes from the rhizome (or root) of the flowering ginger plant, which originated in China. It belongs, like turmeric, to the Zingiberaceae family of plants. In fact, like turmeric, ginger has a long history as an effective folk remedy…
For example, in China, men and women began using ginger to treat stomach upset, diarrhea, and nausea 3,000 years ago. That long history of use probably explains why ginger plays such a prominent role in Asian cooking to this day. And it probably also explains why your mom had you drink a glass of (real) ginger ale when you had an upset stomach as a child.
The first known recipe for gingerbread dates back about 4,000 years to ancient Greece. And by the late Middle Ages, Europeans had their own version. In fact, the hard cookies often appeared for sale at Medieval fairs—including Christmas fairs—in England, France, Holland, and Germany.
Historians typically credit Queen Elizabeth I (1558-1603) with the novel idea of decorating gingerbread cookies for visitors to her court. And, at about the same time, Germans started making elaborate gingerbread houses—with hard cookies for walls.
Eventually, the practice made its way over to the American colonies. In fact, we know that George Washington’s mother served gingerbread to the Marquis de Lafayette when he visited her home in Fredericksburg, Virginia. And, today, we sometimes refer to the intricate, carved, white, architectural details found on many colonial American seaside homes as “gingerbread work.”
Now, let’s move on to the many health benefits of eating REAL ginger…
Enjoy these FIVE major health benefits with ginger
Ginger has a very long history of use in treating a variety of common health problems. And we can probably credit gingerol, the main bioactive compound in ginger, for most of these impressive benefits. It seems to work as a powerful antioxidant—reducing harmful oxidative stress and inflammation.
Here are five well-established benefits of eating and supplementing with ginger…
1.) Zaps nausea. Research shows ginger works quite well to relieve nausea, especially when caused by pregnancy and chemotherapy. In fact, one review of 12 studies found that pregnant women who took 1.1 to 1.5 grams of ginger experienced significant relief from their symptoms of morning sickness.
When it comes to chemotherapy, there isn’t yet enough conclusive data to figure out the correct, effective dose to treat everyone. That’s because the right dose may differ from one cancer patient to another—depending on the type (and intensity) of their chemo treatments. So, you might just have to try dosing to see what works for you.
Important note: If you are pregnant or undergoing cancer treatment, make sure to check with your doctor about adding ginger (as well as other natural approaches) to your daily regimen.
2.) Relieves chronic indigestion. If you suffer from frequent after-dinner indigestion and reflux, skip the dangerous antacids…and reach for some fresh ginger, instead. Studies show that eating fresh ginger (or taking a ginger supplement) can help speed up emptying of the stomach, which reduces indigestion and stomach discomfort.
3.) Eases menstrual cramps. Many women reach for ibuprofen or another non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) to get fast relief from painful menstrual cramps. But a 2009 study found that 250 mg of ginger powder worked just as well as ibuprofen and other NSAIDs in reducing menstrual pain.
4.) Supports healthy blood sugar. Research shows ginger also supports a healthy metabolism and blood sugar. In fact, in a 2015 study, 41 men and women with Type II diabetes took 2 grams of ginger powder per day. As a result, they lowered their fasting blood sugar by 12 percent in just 12 weeks. In addition, they improved their HbA1c—the long-term measure of blood sugar control—by 10 percent in just 12 weeks, too.
5.) Soothes aching joints. Ginger also significantly reduces symptoms in arthritis and related diseases. In one 2015 review of five previously published studies, men and women with osteoarthritis who took ginger experienced significant reductions in pain and disability.
Ginger seems to work—using a mechanism like the disastrous Cox-2 inhibitor drugs—by blocking inflammation. But it doesn’t have the horrible side effects as those drugs.
How much ginger can you safely take?
In some of the studies I mentioned here today, people took doses of only 15 mg up to 400 mg per day. But remember, when we consume ginger as a spice, we take in at least 1,500 mg or more in one sitting.
So, in my view, you can readily take doses up to 2 grams (or 2,000 mg) daily. And even at that higher “food quantity” dose, there’s no known toxicity.
Of course, you can also just sprinkle some ground ginger regularly onto your foods. Or—add fresh, chopped ginger to your marinades, salads, smoothies, soups, and stir-fries.
I personally enjoy making a hot infusion with fresh ginger root. I simply cut a slice of the root, add it to a mug of hot water, then let it steep for a few minutes before drinking. (As an added bonus, this soothing infusion almost instantly cures any type of upset stomach!)
And at this time of year, ginger tea pairs perfectly with your gingerbread. So—what are you waiting for? Enjoy!