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Nutritional benefits of adding ginger

Since ancient times, people in Asia have enjoyed the many benefits of ginger. Now, like them, we are discovering that ginger can add a lot more than just flavour.

Produced from the rhizome (underground stem) of the tropical herbaceous plant, Zingiber officinale, ginger has a pungent, spicy and aromatic smell and a light, tangy flavour. Ginger contains many essential nutrients and vitamins, essential oils and minerals such as potassium and magnesium, so certainly deserves a place in a healthy diet.

Ginger can be used fresh, dried, powdered, pickled, preserved, crystallised (or candied) or as a juice or oil. In various forms, ginger has been used for its medicinal properties for over 2,000 years. Today ginger is used as a treatment for conditions such as mild stomach upsets and the pain of osteoarthritis.

In osteoarthritis, researchers have found that a highly concentrated ginger extract in capsule formulation can help relieve osteoarthritis symptoms including pain.

So how can you get more ginger into your diet?

Fortunately, it’s very versatile and can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes. Fresh ginger is available in young and mature forms, with the young form having a subtle flavour and thin skin that does not need to be peeled. Fresh ginger can be grated, sliced, cut into batons or crushed and added to dishes such as stir-fries and curries. Grated ginger can be used to make tea while dried ginger can be used in sweet dishes such as gingerbread.

This recipe for BBQ Fish with Ginger and Avocado Smash shows how a little ginger and lime can add piquancy to a simple meal.