The Benefits of Ginger

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The Benefits of Ginger

We’ve all done it. Decided to be a little adventurous. Headed out to that trendy new restaurant. Ordered the dish with the most incomprehensible name. Maybe last time it was vegan food, wild game or food prepared through molecular gastronomy. Maybe it was a hit. Maybe it made you rethink embarking on culinary adventures. But today, you’re in luck. Today’s you’re going to learn how to make sushi at home. Tuna sushi. Salmon sushi. Heck, maybe you’ll even try making dessert sushi. You’ve got your recipe printed out and you’re ready to roll… literally.

But what are those two little piles of pink and green in the picture? For now, ignore the tiny but potent dollop of green wasabi. Today, we’re going to talk ginger. Pickled sushi ginger, that is.

Ginger, otherwise known as Gari, is sweet and acidic, having been marinated in sugar and vinegar. Thinly sliced, it is the perfect palate cleanser for in between bites of different types of the Japanese delicacy. But ginger is more than a glorified mouthwash. There are many benefits to eating ginger. Here are some of them:

 

A natural anti-emetic

Nausea affects everyone from time to time. Ginger is a natural way to help stave off nausea and vomiting, without any harmful side effects. Though it is unclear how exactly ginger works, the anti-nausea plant is packed with vitamins and minerals, making it a great, nutrient dense solution for those unable to keep food and water down, due to severe queasiness. This is why it is recommended to drink ginger ale when you have a stomach virus, or to suck on ginger candies or chews or sip ginger tea if you suffer from morning sickness (provided, or course, that you’re a woman. Ginger is also sometimes given to cancer patients, to help reduce the nausea experienced following chemotherapy.

Reduces muscular inflammation

 For people who experience muscle soreness on a regular basis, ginger’s anti-inflammatory properties can help reduce associated pain, when integrated into a rigorous injury recovery regimen. This means that when ginger is consumed - whether alongside a salmon sushi roll, grated into tea or in capsule form, it works like a NSAID drug (Advil, Ibuprofen, Alieve, Tylenol), but is 100% natural. Ginger can thus can help lower joint and muscle inflammation, making it easier and less painful to move and rehabilitate the affected area in physical therapy.

Boosts the human immune system

Studies have found that ginger can help balance and enhance the immune system’s protective functions, so that the human body can remain healthy and function properly. The root’s antiviral compound, gingerol, helps your body fight viruses and reduce the growth of bacteria - in the mouth as you chew and throughout your digestive system as it passes through your body. This way, when you regularly ingest ginger, your body is given a routine and thorough cleaning. Your bloodstream and organs are rid of toxins, so oxygen can be carried wherever it needs to go, leaving you feeling energized and ready to go.

Enhances brain function

Ginger root has also been found to benefit cognitive functions, such as memory, attention, neurotransmitter balance, brain aging and mental clarity. Due to its antioxidant properties, ginger has long been used to treat memory loss and dementia, when used together with a healthy diet and exercise. This is because one factor in memory loss is poor organ health or slow digestion due to the presence of toxins in the bloodstream. Because ginger has the ability to clean out the digestive system and purify the bloodstream, its ingestion can help reduce the common cognitive effects of aging and enhance the quality of life for normative people, as well as for those suffering from brain illnesses. The bioactive compounds found in ginger increase activity of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter critical for learning and memory, much like the role played by the best Alzheimer drugs on the market today. In fact, when healthy middle-aged adults were given dried ginger supplements, they exhibited improved working memory, reaction time, and attention capabilities.

Next time you stare down that neat little pile of sushi ginger, remember that the thin pink slices are full of benefits. Yes, ginger may be used as a palate cleanser in the sushi world, but the natural root purifies more than just your tastebuds - the integral part of sushi preparation cleanses your body AND your mind!

 

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  • Mark Fireman