10 Ways to Add More Ginger to Your Family's Diet


Remember when you were a child and your stomach was tossing and turning? Your parents probably brought you a tasty liquid cure - old fashioned ginger ale.

Ginger planted its root in Asian and has long been used as a stomach aid and in other medicines. The tasty tuber is also popular in cooking, commonly dried into a spice, or chopped up and cooked in stir fries.

It is the active components of the ginger root that make it effective in dealing with nausea and pain. The components include the oil and pungent phenol compounds: gingerols and shogaols.Gingerol has long been the used in the treatment of nausea, from motion sickness to chemotherapy and pregnancy. About 70 per cent of cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy experiences nausea and vomiting. One study reported nausea was reduced by 40 per cent in those taking ginger supplements alongside their standard anti-vomiting drugs.

Gingerol also acts as a strong anti-inflammatory and can relieve pain in those who suffer osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. A 12-month study looking at people who had arthritis in their knee found that groups taking ginger supplements experienced significantly less pain in movement than those given a placebo. Pain decreased from a score of 76.14 to 41in patients and swelling in their knees dropped from 43.25cm to 39.36cm by the 12th week.

The anti-inflammatory properties of ginger are believed to be specifically from 6-gingerol, a form of gingerol that provides free radical protection in the body. It has also been shown to suppress pro-inflammatory compounds, particularly cytokines and chemokines. With modern lower fiber diets and a growing intake of refined foods, our bodies are at risk from inflammatory markers. These markers can lead to long term health concerns, such as cardiovascular problems or autoimmune diseases. Luckily ginger is there to help.

Other perks to adding ginger to your day:

  • Helps with indigestion, gas and diarrhea
  • Shown to have anti-cancer activity (some research done with ovarian cancer)
  • Useful as a food preservative
  • Promotes healthy sweating which can be an effective naturally body response to fighting off colds and flu

Ways to add Ginger to your day:

  • Cut into coins and add to any cooked meat and or vegetable in a wok or pan
  • Sprinkle dried ginger into any salad dressing
  • Add to asparagus or squash
  • Boil pieces of ginger in water and add honey or fruit slices as a beverage (ginger tea)
  • Sprinkle into baked fruit desserts like apples or pears
  • Add real ginger to gingersnaps or make your own ginger ale
  • Add finely chopped pieces to shrimp dishes or soups
  • Add as a spice to hot coffee or tea
As a cure for digestive upset, ginger is not recommended for children under two. The University of Maryland suggests calculating the correct ginger doe for your child based on their weight.

Karla Heintz (BSc), is a nutrition educator and author of 'Picky? Not Me, Mom! A parents' guide to children's nutrition.'

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.