Top Health Benefits of Ginger

The health benefits of ginger are plentiful and it is often classed as a wonder spice with both medicinal and culinary upsides. Over forty-four hundred years ago, according to “Rodale’s Encyclopedia of Herbs”, Greek bakers made gingerbread from ginger that was imported from the Orient. In the sixteenth century the Spanish were cultivating it. From Jamaica conquistadors brought it to the New World. In 1884 Great Britain was importing well over 5 million pounds of ginger root. The origin of ginger is uncertain. It is believed to be native to southern China and India. It was then introduced into southern Florida. It grows well in fertile, well-drained and moist soil that can be partially shaded.

The Diverse Nutrition and Health Benefits of Ginger

Ginger contains bisabolene, borneal, borneol, camphene, choline, cineole, citral, ginerol, inositol, volatile oils, PABA, phellandrene, acrid resin, sequiterpene, many B vitamins, zingerone, and zingiberene. It has been used throughout history to treat colitis, diverticulosis, nausea, gas and indigestion, paralysis of the tongue, morning sickness, vomiting, hot flashes and menstrual cramps. It is said to cleanse the colon and stimulate circulation. It has also been used to treat colds and sore throat.

Although ginger can be very spicy to the tongue it purportedly is good for indigestion. It is a safe and effective herb. There has been some research to suggest that it is very effective against motion sickness as well. Ginger helps to promote circulation and is a very mild stimulant. Ginger tea is said to be very effective in preventing colds. It can also be used in the spring to make an excellent spring tonic to wake up the body after a long cold winter and many claim it is able to cleanse the blood – or at the very least give an invigorating jump start.

Growing Ginger

Ginger is grown throughout much of the tropics commercially and in other regions it can be grown in a container or container gardening. To grow your own, give your purchased rhizome plenty of warmth, humidity and moisture after planting. You can move it outdoors in warmer months in a somewhat shady area. About 12 months after planting, you can remove it from the pot. Remove the fibrous roots. Cut off as much as you can use. Save a small amount to replant again in a new pot. You can buy ginger commercially fresh, dried ground or in dry pieces. Fresh ginger needs to be wrapped tightly and stored in the refrigerator. It can last for several months when stored this way.

Ginger Ale Recipe

Who hasn’t enjoyed a tall frosty glass of ginger ale? Ginger ale was considered the most popular soft drink in the U.S. in early years between 1860 and the 1930’s. There are several different types of recipes around for how to make your own home made ginger ale or ginger beer. A simple home recipe for ginger ale is to take some fresh ginger and crush the root. Place one cup of the root into a gallon or so of water and bring to a rolling boil. Remove from the heat and let it steep about 15 minutes. This will release the powerful flavor and health properties of the ginger. You then strain it. You may add honey or the sweetener of your choice to this tea. Then just add your desired amount to some carbonated water.

Ginger ale commonly contains ginger, sugar, and carbonated water. Ginger beer has a stronger flavor of ginger, and is less carbonated and much less sweet. For those trying to cut back on their alcohol consumption ginger ale can be used as a nonalcoholic substitute in punches and for champagne at various events and occasions. These beverages can resemble champagne and other flavored alcohols in appearance. Ginger ale has been given to many to calm an upset stomach. This is due to the presence of ginger + carbonated water having a calming effect on the stomach.

Other Culinary Uses for Ginger

Ginger is a super sugar substitute that will provide a great taste with almost no calories added. You can use it in making gingerbreads, spice cookies and cakes. It enhances many meat dishes such as chicken and beef and for making sauces and marinades. A little ground ginger added to mayonnaise makes a great topping for a pear salad. A chef suggestion is to put 1 slice of peeled fresh ginger into a marinade you make for each pound of meat or poultry. If you like fried chicken and livers, you can make seasoned flour shaking some ground ginger into the flour mix to toss the meat in before frying. Ginger root can be used fresh or dried in recipes from North Africa, Southeast Asia, the Caribbean, Japan, China and East India. In Chinese cooking, you usually will find that first you brown a piece of fresh ginger root. Then you add your stir-fry vegetables to this.

To make ginger tea, use a pinch to a tablespoon of ginger powder per cup of boiling water. You can also grate or slice the fresh root and then simmer it in water until you have what is yellowish water. You can also add other useful herbs to the steeping water such as peppermint, a little clove powder or a few bruised cloves. Let it steep and strain and drink throughout the day to promote good health. If you prefer a stronger tea, increase the amount of ginger rather than letting it steep for a long period of time.

Ginger baths can be another great health benefit besides just consumption of the herb. Ginger baths can help ease pain and increase circulation. Just drop a few grated gingers into your bath and soak. You can also soak cloths in ginger tea and apply these directly to the painful area on the body.

Allergies

While speaking of the benefits of ginger, there are those who may be allergic to ginger. Severe allergic reactions to ginger might include a rash, hives, difficulty in breathing, and various forms of dermatitis. If this is the case, stop taking ginger immediately and seek some medical attention. Few side effects have been associated with ginger taken at low dosages. In conclusion, there seem to be many benefits to adding ginger to your diet. The health benefits of ginger are exceptional and it has the ability to add great flavor to the diet.

Summary

A fiery spice, the health benefits of ginger stretch from increasing circulation to helping with indigestion as well as being an ingredient in many dishes from around the world and is easy to incorporate into many simple and quick dishes as part of your daily diet.

Top Health Benefits of Tea

Prior to the health benefits of tea being well understood, the history of tea began in 2737 B.C. when camellia leaves fell into a vat of boiling water. The alluring fragrance enticed the inquisitive Chinese Emperor Shennong to sample the brew. He pronounced that the elixir was medicinal and imparted vigor to the body.

Tea began its worldwide conquest in teahouses throughout China, Korea and Japan. In the 16th Century, tea stormed the shores of Western civilization, frequented the inner sanctum of Europe’s aristocracy and lit the fuse that ignited the American Revolution. Today, tea is second only to water which refuses to relinquish its title as the world’s most consumed beverage.

Global Tea Production
Tea is a mountainous crop grown in 36 countries. The predominant tea-producing regions are China, Japan, Russia, Ceylon, Formosa, India and East Africa.

There are thousands of distinct varieties of tea that fall into four principal categories. They are black tea, green tea, white tea and oolong tea. Every variety of tea originates from one plant, the Camellia Sinensis. The soil, climate, altitude and manufacturing process imparts the unique characteristics and flavors of tea with the length of oxidization during processing giving rise to several different types of tea.

Nutritional Facts
Tea’s meager nutritional facts conceal it status as one of the top superfoods that has caught the eye of many researchers who are investigating the health benefits of tea. One 237 gram serving provides 2 calories and 0% of your daily requirements for minerals, vitamins, protein, carbohydrates, sodium, cholesterol and fat.

The caffeine level of tea is influenced by several factors, such as brewing time, temperature, grade and variety. It is estimated that tea releases large quantities of its caffeine within half a minute of brewing. If you wish to reduce your intake of caffeine, you can quickly pour out this brew and add fresh water.

How to Use Tea
The most popular way to enjoy tea is as a beverage. You can steep it in hot water as either a teabag or as loose leaf tea, use an instant powder or buy a prepared drink in a can or bottle. It is also available as wine, hard candy, jelly and a pastry.

Health Benefits of Teas
As Emperor Shennong surmised nearly 5,000 years ago, tea is a health tonic. The Camellia plant is a rich source of polyphenol and flavonoid antioxidants. These are naturally occurring substances that prevent and reverse the DNA and cellular membrane damage inflicted by free radicals.These molecules are linked to a wide range of diseases, such as cancers, heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s and premature aging. Tea has 800 to 1000% more polyphenols than vegetables and fruits.

One cup of white tea has the equivalent amount of antioxidants as 80 ounces of apple juice. The longer fermentation period of black tea reduces its level of antioxidants. Green tea has a higher level of antioxidants than black tea. Research indicates that brewing tea for 1 to 5 minutes is the best way to obtain its health benefits.

Heart Disease
The antioxidants in tea are believed to reduce the risk for heart disease and stroke by lowering cholesterol levels, oxidative stress and improving blood vessel dilation. Tea also significantly reduces atherosclerosis and triglycerides.

People who consistently drink three to four cups of black tea have lower rates of stroke and heart disease. A statistical analysis of multiple studies demonstrated that drinking three cups of tea a day decreased the risk of heart attack by 11%.

A 5-year study of 805 men showed an inverse relationship between the dose of tea and the incidence of death from stroke and lethal and non-lethal first heart attack.

Cancer
Tea reduces the incidence of cancer by fighting free radical damage, reducing abnormal cell growth and aiding normal cell death. Regular tea consumption is associated with a reduced risk for lung, ovarian, oral, skin and digestive cancer.

A study of smokers who consumed 4 cups of decaffeinated green tea a day had a 31% reduction in oxidative DNA damage when compared to a control group that drank 4 cups of water.

Drinking black tea dramatically lowers the risk of a form of skin cancer. A population-based study revealed an inverse relationship between tea consumption rectal, colon and pancreatic cancers.

A 1998 Stage I and II breast cancer study demonstrated that Japanese women who drank more than 5 cups of green tea per day were less likely to have disease recurrence and were disease-free longer.

Oral Health
The health benefits of tea extend to its role in oral health. The polyphenols in tea reduces plaque and the growth of bacteria that causes bad breath. They also inhibit the germs that cause strep infections and cavities. Tea collects fluoride in its leaves. Some believe that this is beneficial for building resilient tooth enamel. For people concerned with teeth staining, white tea is a better option than its black or green counterparts. It has more polyphenols and is less likely to stain teeth.

Liver and Kidney Health
People with hemochromatosis are unable to properly metabolize iron. This results in iron overload and damage to major organs. According to a German study, one daily cup of tea contains enough antioxidants to block iron absorption and prevent the lethal accumulation of iron.

Daily tea consumption reduces the risk for developing kidney stones. A study of 81,093 women lowered their risk by 8% for each 8 ounce cup of tea consumed each day. The results were replicated in an earlier study of 46,289 men who reduced their risk by 14% for each daily cup of tea.

Obesity and Fat Metabolism
Initial research indicates that tea increases the metabolism, breaks fat into smaller components for use by the body and reduces your appetite. Tea also increases the body’s ability to use insulin, glucose and produces more heat. The cumulative effect of these physiological changes is enhanced weight loss and increased exercise tolerance.

Osteoporosis
Tea appears to play a crucial role in bone health. A study of older female tea drinkers had higher bone mineral density (BMD) results than women who didn’t drink tea.

Drinking tea also helps younger adults. In a study of habitual tea drinkers, adults 30 years and older experienced a significant improvement in their BMD. The benefit was especially noticeable in people who drank tea for more than six years.

Caffeine Alert
People who are pregnant, breastfeeding or have anxiety disorders, stomach ulcers or kidney disorders should not consume caffeine. It can also interact with antibiotics, Echinacea and theophylline, a bronchial dilator.

Summary
Tea is one of the most popular beverages in the world after water and the health benefits of tea come from it being a rich source of antioxidants that can contribute to optimal health in a wide variety of ways.