Ginger has been used for centuries to flavor foods and to treat numerous ailments. It is well-known for its health benefits, such as its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-nausea properties (1).
Ginger brings a unique spicy flavor and aroma to many dishes and beverages. If you’re intimidated by the thought of incorporating ginger into your diet, this article will show you how to eat ginger for health benefits with simple and flavorful recipes!
Healthy Ways to Add Ginger to Your Diet
Ginger can be eaten in many ways, including raw, cooked, pickled, crystallized, and powdered. It has a spicy, peppery, and sweet flavor with a strong aroma.
Raw ginger has a more potent flavor and aroma and packs a more powerful antioxidant punch (2). Eating ginger in its raw form is the best way to maximize the health benefits of ginger in the diet.
Sugar is often added to ginger recipes to help balance the spice, so consume these foods in moderation.
Fresh ginger tea is a simple way to incorporate ginger into your day in just five minutes! Simply boil water and ginger slices together to make this comforting drink.
This ginger tea is caffeine free and has zero calories. It’s a great alternative to sugary beverages like soda and juice.
Raw ginger is particularly potent and has higher amounts of gingerols than cooked ginger. Gingerols are the active antioxidant compounds in ginger, which have anti-cancer and anti-viral properties (2, 5).
Don’t be intimidated by the strong flavor of raw ginger. This zesty carrot ginger dressing is an approachable way to incorporate raw ginger into your diet.
This dressing is made in less than five minutes and is vegan, low-fat, and rich in antioxidants. It pairs well with many Asian dishes, including lettuce wraps, stir-fries, and salads.
Pickled ginger, known as Gari in japan, is most commonly served with sushi. You don’t have to go to a sushi restaurant to enjoy pickled ginger; you can make it at home with just four ingredients.
This recipe calls for young ginger, which you can find at Asian grocery stores. It will naturally turn pink when pickled and has a milder flavor and a tender texture.
Young ginger provides almost double the polyphenols and antioxidants compared to mature ginger (6).
Mature ginger is the type of ginger typically available at the grocery store. While you can use it for this recipe, it is tougher to slice thinly and may taste spicier.
Skip the Chinese takeout and try this delicious one-pan ginger chicken. This recipe is low in saturated fat and has significantly less sodium than takeout.
This ginger chicken recipe is cooked in a wok, where garlic, ginger, and shallots make up the base of the flavorful and aromatic dish.
Carrot Ginger Soup
The pureed carrots also help make this soup extra creamy without the added fat of cream.
Shake up your morning by trying this simple ginger water. This spicy beverage can be enjoyed hot or cold and is made by pouring boiling water over ginger slices.
If you’re feeling adventurous, add a pinch of cayenne pepper for an extra kick of spice.
Ginger water is caffeine free and has zero calories. It’s a great way to boost hydration while reaping the health benefits of ginger.
Animal studies have shown that consuming ginger water can reduce blood sugar, cholesterol, and weight, though more human studies are needed (8).
Try this ginger salmon for an easy, anti-inflammatory weeknight dinner. All you need is 20 minutes and one pan to achieve a tender and flaky filet with a crispy glazed crust.
Ginger is well known for its anti-inflammatory benefits (1). In addition, incorporating fatty fish like salmon twice a week provides essential omega-3 fatty acids that are beneficial for reducing inflammation and the risk of heart disease (9).
When finished, you’ll have a refreshingly sweet and tart beverage. Enjoy this recipe in moderation due to the added sugars.
While there are limited human studies on the health benefits of kombucha, fermented foods are known to impact digestive health positively. In addition, animal studies show kombucha positively affects blood sugar and high cholesterol (10).
Health Benefits of Ginger
Ginger provides numerous health benefits in addition to its ability to brighten up dishes from many cuisines. Here are the top five health benefits of ginger:
1. Anti-inflammatory properties
Ginger is one of the highest antioxidant food sources and fights damaging oxidative stress in the body. Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties and can help reduce joint inflammation (1).
2. Treats nausea
Perhaps its most well-known health benefit is ginger’s ability to reduce nausea. It can be beneficial for those who are pregnant, experiencing seasickness, or undergoing cancer treatment (1).
3. May help prevent cancer
Some studies have found ginger to have anticancer properties due to the antioxidant compounds present in ginger. However, more human studies are needed to understand this connection (1).
4. May improve blood sugars
Research shows ginger can help improve blood sugar and insulin levels in people with type 2 diabetes (11).
5. Improves indigestion
Ginger can help the stomach contents empty faster, reducing symptoms of fullness and stomach pain in people with functional dyspepsia (12).