This spice that comes in many forms can have surprising health benefits. Read more about ginger, including health benefits and ginger recipes for adults and children.
Health Benefits of Ginger
In addition to making your dishes tastier, spices have great nutrient properties. Ginger in particular has a variety of health benefits and can be used in many different ways. This spice is derived from a plant and can be fresh or dried, or found as a juice or an oil. Gingerol is the phytochemical compound in ginger that packs the nutritional punch.
Benefits of Ginger
Here are some of the ways that gingerol can improve your health:
- Aids digestion. Having ginger with meals may help speed up digestion and is worth trying if you or your child have chronic indigestion.
- May help blood sugar control and reduce both blood pressure and cholesterol. Ginger has been shown to be beneficial in some small studies, but more research is needed before making set recommendations.
- Reduces nausea. Ginger has been shown to reduce nausea, especially nausea caused by morning sickness during pregnancy. But it can also be helpful for kids who are nauseous and have difficulty eating, or any other nausea.
- Reduces inflammation. Ginger contains antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties, which can aid in immunity. This can make the spice particularly helpful during cold and flu season!
- Soothes sore muscles and joints. Ginger is not going to automatically cure muscle aches, but those with aches from exercising may experience less soreness with regular intake of ginger.
Gingerbread is one classic and familiar use of the healthful spice. The original gingerbread was made from rye, flour and honey and seasoned with ginger, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. However, the flavor of gingerbread is in the combination of everything together, not ginger specifically.
If you really want the ginger flavor, and more of the nutritional benefits, there are a variety of other ginger recipes, including child-friendly options.
Children can certainly have ginger, but it is a strong flavor, so you may have to be creative about it. The earlier you introduce the spice to a child, however, the more likely it can become a normal part of their flavor profile. Providing children with a variety of herbs and spices is beneficial to both their health and their taste buds.
- Ginger tea. You can make tea yourself by cutting up ginger root and steeping it in hot water. Then add other flavorings like lemon or honey to your taste.
- Ginger fizzy drink. For kids, you can make ginger tea, but make it double strength. Then mix it with a little bit of honey or sugar and add sparkling water for a fizzy drink! However, do not give honey to children under 1 year of age.
- Ginger gelatin. Try adding ginger to lemon or orange gelatin. It will expose children to the unique flavor while providing nutritional benefits, in a treat they may already enjoy. Simply heat the water you are planning to use for the gelatin and pour it over 1 to 2 teaspoons of dried ginger. Let it steep, then strain it. Then you can use this water with your gelatin packet.
- Salad dressing. Make a ginger-infused vinaigrette to add to salad or toss on vegetables before you roast them. Try ginger and Dijon mustard or sesame ginger as flavor combos.
- Pickled ginger. Have a kid who likes pickles? Try pickled ginger, which is generally sold in a jar and sometimes called sushi ginger.
- Spice up any dish. You can add minced or powdered ginger to dishes your family already enjoys. Mix it into a stir-fried rice, hummus, curry or a soup that your family already enjoys.
Ginger Supplements and Safety
Should I or my child take a ginger pill? There are no set recommendations for amount of ginger to take for various ailments. Especially in children, I would not suggest a concentrated form of any particular nutrient. It is best to use ginger in food sources, rather than supplement form.
You will see ginger gummies marketed towards kids. If you’re interested in these, discuss this with your pediatrician. High doses of ginger may cause heartburn and diarrhea. However, there is low to no risk of this if ginger is consumed in food.
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