Wednesday, September 10, 2008

More Food for Thought and Healing

We’re coming again to that season. The season of colds, sore throats, stomach bugs and flu. The cooler weather and shorter days send us indoors and the kids are all back in school. We spend more time closer to more people so it is inevitable that we share more germs. Yay. If you are prone to allergies, you may find you are also more susceptible to the various illnesses making the rounds. That being the case, I thought it might be worth our while to spend a bit of time on the healing foods. Don’t worry, though. I’ll still have some fun recipes to mix in. I’ll just add some information about foods that can enhance your health.

Last time, it was peppermint. Great stuff, right? Headaches, stuffy noses, even stomach discomfort. This time, we’ll talk about something that is equally terrific – ginger. Obviously, if you are allergic to ginger, it won’t be terrific for you. Exercise your good judgement, of course.

Perhaps the most commonly known use of ginger aside from its obvious use in recipes is to soothe and upset stomach. A bit of ginger ale (let the fizz go just a little flat) or a cup of ginger tea can do wonders for a queasy stomach. Did you know that ginger can also help ease the aches of arthritis and even reduce the pain of ulcerative colitis? Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties that can be very beneficial for these conditions. Wonderful, isn’t it? Natural and soothing.

Studies are being conducted to determine if ginger has even farther reaching benefits. While it is too early to say for certain, it seems possible that ginger may be able to help reduce cholesterol levels and reduce blood clotting. Still other studies are examining components in ginger that may have anticancer properties. For more on this, have a look at the article on the University of Maryland Medical Center’s site. http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/ginger-000246.htm You might also like to have a look at these sites. http://arthritis.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?zi=1/XJ/Ya&sdn=arthritis&zu=http%3A%2F%2Fnews.bbc.co.uk%2F1%2Fhi%2Fhealth%2F1665874.stm and http://arthritis.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?zi=1/XJ/Ya&sdn=arthritis&zu=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.stevenfoster.com%2Feducation%2Fmonograph%2Fginger.html

Ginger is available in tea bags, tinctures, extracts and oils in addition to the fresh ginger in the produce section and powdered ginger in the spice aisle. However, as with any supplement or herbal remedy, caution should be used. Do you take blood thinners or have a bleeding disorder? If so, be very sure to talk to your doctor before adding ginger as a therapeutic treatment. If you suffer gall stones, ginger might not be for you, either. Again, be sure to consult your doctor. Ginger in larger amounts can cause some heart burn. If so, you might do better to try your ginger in capsule form. Ginger can also interact with some prescription medications. Once more, I’m going to remind you to consult your doctor before you start add ginger to your daily regimen.

Given the remarkable possibilities of ginger, it is worth that talk with your doctor. It is worth trying that cup of tea or that extra glass of ginger ale, don’t you think? Certainly, it is worth keeping on hand for those inevitable upset stomachs. Of course, we can always enjoy ginger’s wonderful flavor in our recipes.

So, let’s go eat that!

4 comments:

Tiffany said...

Those are some interesting points. I do eat ginger for upset stomachs sometimes, but I didnt know about the other health benefits. Thanks for the tips!

Sandra Gordon said...

Interesting, isn't it? I didn't know about the other benefits, either. When I read about it, I thought it was definitely worth passing along.

Corinne said...

I love ginger ale for an upset stomach... I will have to try some peppermint for this cold-from-hell I've had for over a week!

Sandra Gordon said...

Oh, you poor thing! Yes, do try the peppermint to help with the sniffles and stuffy head. I hope you feel loads better very soon!