Known in Peru as kion, this food was brought to the country in the late eighteenth century, arriving from its native China. In Peru, it is produced in the Central Jungle, mainly in the Junín region, where the best ecological conditions can be found for its cultivation.
Scientifically named Zingiber officinale Roscoe, ginger is a thick-stemmed tuber that can reach up to three feet in height. It is very similar to turmeric and is characterized by being very aromatic, with a bitter, spicy flavor and light yellow color inside.
Today, ginger is considered a superfood due to its properties and nutritional benefits. It has a high vitamin C content, which allows healthy development of tissues in the body, strengthening the immune system and preventing the formation of free radicals. It is also rich in vitamin B9 or folic acid, and minerals such as magnesium and potassium; the latter contributes to the proper functioning of the digestive system and allows normal muscle contraction.
Other vitamins and minerals present in this superfood are vitamin E, other group B vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6), calcium, iron, manganese, zinc, phosphorus and sodium. It also contains essential oils, such as gingerol, which has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.
Although ginger has been considered a medicinal plant for centuries, as in the case of traditional Chinese medicine, several modern science studies have found that this tuber can have several benefits for our health.
In this regard, the World Health Organization (WHO) has recognized the effectiveness of ginger for the relief of digestive problems, as it assists in the assimilation of fatty foods. It also contemplates the use of this root to reduce nausea and dizziness.
Another property attributed to this superfood is its anti-inflammatory power. Researchers at the University of Copenhagen proved the effectiveness of ginger in relieving muscle pain and inflammation. In addition, the University of Georgia, USA, conducted a study with 74 people, finding that a daily dose of ginger reduced exercise-induced muscle pain by 25 %.
In a health blog, pharmacist and nutritionist Reme Navarro also highlights the use of ginger as an anti-inflammatory, pointing out that it is very effective in combating sore throat and other cold symptoms, such as nasal congestion and increased body temperature.
But, that's not all. Scientific studies show that ginger has an antioxidant property, playing an important role in preventing phenomena related to oxidative damage. It also has therapeutic effects on a large number of pathologies, including ischemic heart disease (coronary heart disease) and the prevention of certain types of cancer. In relation to the latter, the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center conducted a study demonstrating that powdered ginger induced cell death in ovarian cancer cells, while the University of Minnesota discovered that ginger has the property of slowing the growth of colorectal cancer cells, thus preventing colon cancer to a large extent.
Finally, this superfood is credited with other important properties such as being an ally in reducing cholesterol, decreasing the risk of blood clotting and helping to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
Ginger and cuisine
In addition to all the nutritional and medicinal potential of ginger, we cannot fail to mention that this superfood has also proved to be a highly versatile ingredient in the kitchen.
Its sweet and spicy flavor makes it perfect for use in soups, salad dressings, sauces, sushi, and even smoothies, juices, oils, and, of course, desserts. It comes in a variety of forms – it can be found fresh, pickled, dehydrated, candied, and in many other forms.
Sources: Minagri/ Andina/ La Nación/ tuberculos.org/ lanolina.edu.pe/ mifarma.es/ euroresidentes.com/ holadoctor.com