The Spice of Life: Ginger
No list of superfood spices would be complete without ginger. If you're not a particularly adventurous cook, you may not have tried fresh ginger root yet. Dried, powered ginger serves in a pinch, but it can never replicate the complex, fiery zing of freshly grated or sliced ginger. Do yourself a favor, and take the plunge. Choose firm, glossy root sections with no evidence of shriveling or mold.
Gently remove the outer layer of skin by scraping it away with the end of a spoon or the blade of a dull knife. What's left is a yellowish, juicy, fibrous piece of root. Slice into thin sections, or grate and collect the juice and fibers to add to any number of dishes. As little as a teaspoon adds distinctive zip, but some may prefer greater amounts. Fresh ginger mixed in soy sauce with a little fresh garlic makes a great asian marinade, or add it to stir-fried vegetables for succulent flavor.
Ginger possesses numerous remarkable properties. It's excellent for preventing or alleviating motion sickness, for instance. Use it to relieve nausea related to morning sickness, or chemotherapy. Get seasick? Nibble on candied ginger root before and during your time on the water to help prevent or relieve the nausea of motion sickness. Or try ginger tea.
Ginger also reduces inflammation. Powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds work to alleviate pain associated with inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, or muscle soreness from over-exercising. For example, a recent study compared the over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, ibuprofen, with ginger, for relief from the pain and stiffness of osteoarthritis. Both treatments were judged to be about equally effective at relieving pain and inflammation. Proving, again, that many of the best medicines come not from the medicine chest, but from your kitchen pantry.
Leong DJ1, Choudhury M, Hirsh DM, Hardin JA, Cobelli NJ, Sun HB.Nutraceuticals: potential for chondroprotection and molecular targeting of osteoarthritis.Int J Mol Sci. 2013 Nov 21;14(11):23063-85. doi: 10.3390/ijms141123063.