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December 23, 2019
Christmas full of ginger!

Since many people are wondering how they can make ginger a part of their diets, I decided to take a look at the properties of this spice that is getting more and more into our lives and our recipes!

A few facts about it…

It belongs to the same family as that of cardamom and turmeric, and it is one more spice that we use a lot in our kitchen -especially during the holidays. Its most bioactive element -on which most scientific studies have been conducted- is gingerol and it seems to be responsible for many properties that ginger has.

Do you know why it is so well-known?

Ginger is mainly used in traditional medicine and it has been found that it cured several diseases in the past. More specifically, it seems to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiemetic, antiseptic, and antibacterial properties.

In fact, I found 4 other properties I didn’t know of, and they made me want to try it even more…And that’s why I will talk about them below…

Ginger seems to:

1. Reduce abdominal pain and dyspepsia.

Since it’s Christmas and we use to eat a little more, we definitely need something that improves the digestive process in order to avoid bloating. We certainly have to eat reasonable amounts of food and not exaggerate, but why not add a little ginger to our dishes since it seems to improve digestion?

2. Reduce nausea.

People that travel a lot either by boat or by plane, are usually the ones who use it in order to be able to travel without motion sickness. So, if you are getting ready for a trip and the feeling of dizziness and nausea makes you very nervous, simply try ginger in the form of tea or candy. In fact, it seems to be consumed by women at the beginning of their pregnancy, but you will have to ask your doctor about that since each case is different.

3. Help in case of a cold and in the prevention of several diseases.

Due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, ginger seems to help reduce inflammation, swelling and pain, while it fights oxidative stress. It is not by chance that many people consume ginger tea when they have a sore throat. Moreover, it has been found that its consumption helps prevent several chronic diseases, like obesity and heart disease.

4. Help reduce muscle pain…

And muscle inflammation when consumed before moderate exercise. At least this is what a relevant study, which examined the effects of ginger specifically on quadriceps, showed and it is something very interesting, especially for those who exercise.

Unfortunately, most scientific studies regarding the possible health benefits of ginger have been conducted mainly over the past few years. We should probably wait until there are some more relevant studies to draw better conclusions.  The only thing that’s certain is that it’s recognized as safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). So, even though some of its beneficial properties are not 100% recognized, we can add it to our diet, making our dishes tastier and giving our recipes a different taste!

Recipes with ginger?

A few ones that spring to my mind are gingerbread cookies, gingerbread brownies, ginger jam,  gingerbread cake, and flapjacks with ginger. These are some of the sweet recipes… But did you know that you can add it to your savory recipes as well, and consume it in its healthier version? I have tried it in soups, along with couscous or with chicken, and I can say that all these recipes were so tasty, so original and so impressive!

I think it is definitely a spice worth adding both to our diet and our foods, so that we can check how it benefits our health!

No-sugar added gingerbread cookies

No sugar added gingerbread cookies by Akis Petretzikis

Couscous with ginger and hazelnuts

Couscous with ginger and hazelnuts by the Greek chef Akis Petretzikis

Flapjacks with apricots and ginger

Flapjacks with apricots and ginger by the Greek chef Akis Petretzikis

Antioxidant ginger lemonade

Antioxidant ginger lemonade by the Greek chef Akis Petretzikis

Indian chicken korma

Indian chicken korma by the Greek chef Akis Petretzikis

Sticky lemon chicken

Sticky lemon chicken by the Greek chef Akis Petretzikis

Akis

This article was written in collaboration with Kitchen Lab’s Sports Nutritionist Anna Maria Volanaki, MSc, BDA, SENr.

*The above information is based on published research findings.

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