Christmas is so close and Santa is getting ready to make his way to your house. Look, we all care about Jolly Ol’ Saint Nicholas, right? Let’s change things up and instead of leaving him some chocolate chip or sugar cookies this year, we’ll leave him some FitnessGenes Gingerbread Men! Oh, yes. Get excited! Make your way to the recipe here.
Now, if the recipe this week is on some of the most amazing gingerbread men cookies ever, then what is our ingredient review on? Well, we are going to look at Ginger, of course!
Ginger’s Spicy Background
Ginger, also known as Zingiber officinale Roscoe, belongs to a family of plants known as Zingiberaceae. This family of plants also happens to contain another spice we covered recently, “Turmeric.” You can read up on Turmeric here. Ginger comes from a perennial plant that has thick, tuberous rhizomes, meaning the “thick, tuberous” portion underground is the stem of the plant and is actually the portion of the plant we use.
Ginger is taken from the rhizome and processed into various forms. Most commonly, it is made into a powder, syrup, oil or an oleoresin. The most familiar and obvious use of ginger relates to its culinary applications, which date all the way back to the 13th century! Ginger has an incredibly diverse range of uses, from dietary supplements, to beverages (ginger ale, ginger beer, ginger tea), and a large amount of food products.
Ginger originated from China and eventually spread into India, Southeast Asia, West Africa and various parts of the Caribbean. Medicinally, it has been used as part of healing practices in Asia, India, Europe and the Middle East. Ginger is often used as an herbal remedy to treat various problems and disorders, such as arthritis, stomach upset, asthma, diabetes and even menstrual irregularities.
What does the research suggest about ginger?
- Ginger holds strong anti-inflammatory effects, most likely due to its high antioxidant capacity.
- Some research has suggested use of ginger as an antinociceptive, reducing the perception of pain.
- Ginger is often used as an antiemetic, for dealing with nausea and vomiting.
- Some research suggest that ginger may have beneficial effects on blood pressure, blood glucose and blood lipid levels.
- In many countries, ginger is utilized for its antimicrobial effects.
- Current studies are even underway for the use of ginger in cancer therapies.
- Gentlemen, there is also evidence to suggest that ginger may improve testosterone levels! It is important to note that more studies are needed to support this fully as only currently shown in rodents and infertile men.
Pregnancy and Morning Sickness
Ladies… your attention please. Are you or someone close to you pregnant and dealing with morning sickness? There is incredibly strong evidence that ginger can be effective for treatment of mild to moderate nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. What does the research suggest? Consuming 1 gram of dried ginger per day (or its equivalent in syrup form) is the recommended dosage for treatment of morning sickness.
Now, understanding your genetics can play a key role in knowing if and how you would benefit from the consumption of Ginger. This becomes very relevant when we look at certain genes.
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Barari, A. R. (2016). Endurance training and ginger supplement on TSH, T3, T4, testosterone and cortisol hormone in obese men. Persian Journal of Medical Sciences (PJMS), 3(1).
Grzanna, R., Lindmark, L., & Frondoza, C. G. (2005). Ginger-an herbal medicinal product with broad anti-inflammatory actions. Journal of medicinal food, 8(2), 125-132.
Jeena, K., Liju, V. B., & Kuttan, R. (2013). Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antinociceptive activities of essential oil from ginger.
Jiang, H., Xie, Z., Koo, H. J., McLaughlin, S. P., Timmermann, B. N., & Gang, D. R. (2006). Metabolic profiling and phylogenetic analysis of medicinal Zingiber species: Tools for authentication of ginger (Zingiber officinale Rosc.). Phytochemistry, 67(15), 1673-1685.
Malu, S. P., Obochi, G. O., Tawo, E. N., & Nyong, B. E. (2009). Antibacterial activity and medicinal properties of ginger (Zingiber officinale). Global Journal of pure and applied Sciences, 15(3), 365-368.
Panpatil, V. V., Tattari, S., Kota, N., Nimgulkar, C., & Polasa, K. (2013). In vitro evaluation on antioxidant and antimicrobial activity of spice extracts of ginger, turmeric and garlic. Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry, 2(3), 143-148.