Ginger, Ginger Jam, Jazz, and Pizzazz

Ginger Nutrition Benefits
By Don and Peggy Doman

I love ginger beer, ginger snaps, ginger ale, and cranberry/ginger sorbet as well as the 1929 song Forty-Seven Ginger-Headed Sailors (as sung by Hugh Laurie in the PBS series Jeeves and Wooster) and any movie featuring Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire.

Depending upon its current use of choice, ginger can be a delicacy, a medicine, or a spice. For years ginger has been known for alleviating symptoms of gastrointestinal excess: tummy ache. This is probably why ginger ale is a good cocktail mixer as well as an after-a-long-night-out balm to the upset stomach.

Scientific studies indicate therapeutic properties beyond those of easing the pain of eating and drinking too much. The Linus Pauling Institute links ginger, along with its cousin turmeric, to curcumin, which has a wide variety of health benefits from general anti- inflammatory properties to more specific problems like Alzheimer’s Disease.

study of the use of ginger as a potential anti-inflammatory and antithrombotic agent by the Department of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science, Safat, Kuwait reveals, “These results suggest that ginger could be used as an cholesterol-lowering, antithrombotic and anti-inflammatory agent.”

I love the bite ginger adds to food. That it’s healthy is an added benefit. Ginger beer on a warm Hawaiian afternoon is a great cooling agent and a wonderful accompaniment to a green papaya salad and a Spam sandwich.

While attending a meeting of the Pahoa Sunset Rotary Club on the island of Hawaii, I was treated to an interesting program by Dr. Sally Boyd, who used a huge ginger root as a visual prop during her presentation. She’s a licensed and board certified naturopathic physician in the state of Hawaii. Dr Boyd speaks about the restoration of health and vitality using a wide range of natural therapies. She recommended ginger for the stomach.

Ginger proponents claim much more than the ability to settle an upset stomach. They suggest ginger for its arthritis pain fighting ability as well as protection against colorectal cancer and other cancers in addition to boosting our immune systems. More studies are needed, but in the meantime, cranberry/ginger sorbet after a delicious meal is a great way to end a wonderful evening.

It’s possible to grow your own ginger and turmeric (same family). Young ginger doesn’t need to be peeled. Health claims aside, ginger adds pizzazz to meats and vegetables and of course desserts. I recommend ginger jam over whole grain toasted Roman Meal bread or as an essential ingredient for ginger mango chutney to accompany fish and pork roast.

In stir-fry I prefer grating the ginger instead of using slices of ginger which usually end up uneaten. Grating ginger adds overall taste as well as actually being consumed as part of the meal. When I need to reward myself in Tacoma, I seek out a favorite candy store where I can purchase candied ginger coated with dark chocolate. That’s two healthy choices for almost anyone’s sweet tooth.

If ginger were a person at a party, it would be the center of attention. Making puns, telling jokes, and sharing stock tips and gossip; that’s the kind of taste personality Ginger has.

c. 2013 –

This free healthy aging and living article is made possible by the Linus Pauling Institute and the Roman Meal Company.