Trusize Nutrition by Farihah Choudhury
Food as medicine
In the age of Berocca and paracetamol, the monumental advancement of pharmaceutical drugs in the 21st century has revolutionised the way we view and handle ill health.
Although Nobel Prize winning pills and potions have vastly improved healthcare in many ways and improved human longevity and vitality, the downside of our solutions being boiled down to a marvellous white pill is that we have become detached with the power of nature to cure ailments. Instead of looking at the cause of colds or headaches we are inclined to just take an ibuprofen and get on with our day to day lives. However, addressing the issue with every day, natural remedies may provide long term preventative solutions to aches and pains, and bring us back to the healing capacities of the world around us. One of these such naturally sourced solutions is ginger, the edible rhizome of which can be consumed.
Ginger, part of the Zingiberaceae family, is a popular spice used traditionally in Asian cuisine, which confers many health benefits. The root of the plant can be consumed in many forms: raw, powdered, juiced, in an oil, dried, and even in lozenges and sweets. Naturally, ginger contains a multitude of nutrients. This includes zinc, phosphate, magnesium, vitamin B6 and riboflavin and folate, all of which are important for the correct functioning of our bodies. Folate deficiency is common in the U.K. population, and can have adverse effects for foetal outcomes in pregnant women. Ginger also has multiple advantageous compounds in it such as shogaols and gingerols, and is generally considered to have antioxidant properties. As such, it is beneficial to incorporate ginger into your diet, and has been used to years to treat the symptoms of many ailments.
A spicy solution
Ginger has been studied show to mitigate the feeling of nausea, and has been used by cancer patients suffering nausea undergoing chemotherapy, as well as by pregnant women to reduce feelings of sickness in multiple studies. Secondly, compounds in ginger have been shown to ease indigestion by stimulating production of gastrointestinal lubricants, and also promote the activities of the digestive enzymes trypsin and pancreatic lipase. The spicy flavour of ginger is due to a compound called a ketone. This taste profile means that ginger is a diaphoretic; meaning it induces sweating. This is beneficial for treating cold and flu symptoms. Lastly, ginger is used as an agent for pain reduction and inflammation, for example, having been shown to reduce inflammation when taken with cinnamon, another spice, in Iranian female athletes.
Overall, ginger is shown to have many natural health benefits and may be an alternative to other minor treatments when consumed with a healthy, balanced diet, but sufficient evidence is not yet present to consume ginger as an absolute replacement for physician prescribed medication, and should not be used as such either.
Five ways to incorporate ginger into your diet
Diced to use in a curry or stew
Sliced with a lemon wedge in hot water (teabag optional) to make a tea
In lozenge form to soothe a sore throat
Powdered form to add to various meals/drinks
Fresh and blended in a smoothie with your favourite vegetables | Tru. 🌱
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