There are lots of good and healthy things you can add into your diet – but if you’re going to choose just one, try ginger.
Let’s be honest here: we can all use a little brain boost from time to time. The days are long and busy ― it’s easy to feel mentally fried. We have a little secret to share with you. Ginger, the delightfully spicy root, is just what you need.
Not only is it good for the brain, but it can help soothe nausea and ease arthritis, too.
With a long list of health benefits from fighting indigestion to boosting immunity, it’s been a favourite all over the world for centuries and can be found in all kinds of cuisine.
Here's why it's worth checking out, and what you should do with it.
What is it?
Ginger is a plant with tuberous roots that are widely used in cooking. It has a coarse outer layer and is usually peeled and/or thinly sliced before use. It's available in various forms - fresh, dried, powdered and pickled are just some of them. Unsurprisingly you'll get more of the nutritional benefits from fresh ginger instead of dry. Look for smooth, unblemished chunks of ginger too - the bits that look more like tree bark tend to be drier.
So what can it do?
There are loads of purported benefits to this spicy, fragrant lump of root:
- Ginger tea is thought to help stave off colds and the dreaded lurgy. It also warms you from the inside out (great on a cold day).
- It has anti-inflammatory properties so is thought to be helpful for those with joint issues. You’ll often find ginger as a warming ingredient in things like muscle rubs.
- It's well known as an anti-nausea treatment too
- It also functions as a digestion aid (especially if you're prone to gas). Nice.
Perhaps less known is that fat that ginger can have beneficial effects on the skin.
Topically (ginger oil) or in skincare products, it’s invigorating and great to stimulate blood flow and soothe aching muscles. Some studies have shown its anti-inflammatory properties could help reduce redness in the skin. Each zingy bite of ginger also contains nutrients like like iron, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, and zinc so it's worth your time.
What should you do with it?
A good all-rounder is simple ginger tea. Thinly slice some fresh ginger and add to hot water, with a bit of lemon for a warm, immune system boosting drink. (Add a bit of honey if you need some sweetness.)
Or alternatively, you can sprinkle fresh or powdered ginger into coffee for an extra boost.
Main image by Dominik Martin