Give It Up for Ginger: by UW Korean Restaurant

Health-Promoting Benefits of Ginger

Ginger has always been considered an essential cooking ingredient in Korean cuisine. Called Saenggang, it is another vegetable commonly used alongside garlic. It is typically used in marinade sauce, in Kimchi or in some Korean tea.

Different countries use ginger differently. Some Asian cuisines have their ginger pickled, grated, shredded, grounded into paste, or brewed as tea, in Korea ginger is made into kimchi. It is either finely minced or just juiced to avoid the fibrous texture and added to the ingredients of a spicy paste just before the fermenting process. In Western cuisine, ginger is traditionally used mainly in sweet foods such as ginger ale, gingerbread, ginger snaps, parkin, ginger biscuits, and speculaas.

Gingerol is the active component of fresh ginger. It is chemically related of capsaicin and piperine which give chilli peppers and black pepper their spiciness. It is normally found as a pungent yellow oil, hence, its unique fragrance and flavor. However, when cooked, ginger transformed into the less pungent zingerone.

Gingerol has been investigated in some studies and found to have medicinal values. For example, it seems to be effective in an animal model of rheumatoid arthritis. It has also been studied for its effect on cancer tumors in the bowel, breast, ovaries, the pancreas, among other tissues, with positive results.

Ginger appears to be highly effective against nausea, especially that associated with morning sickness; likewise, also on nausea and vomiting after surgery, and in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. However, caution or a doctor’s advice must be sought in ingesting large amounts of ginger in whatever form owing to the risk to the fetus of the pregnant mother.

Owing to its anti-inflammatory properties, ginger has been shown to be effective against exercise-induced muscle soreness. It may be effective at reducing the daily progress of muscle pain if it doesn’t do so immediately. Against arthritis, a study showed that a combination of topically-applied ginger, mastic, cinnamon and sesame oil, can reduce pain and stiffness in these patients. Also, ginger has been shown to help patients with chronic indigestion, may significantly relieve premenstrual syndrome pain, lower the bad cholesterol levels, and even blood sugar levels.

Good Ginger in Your Diet

With these beneficial effects of the lowly ginger, it is good to enjoy dishes that include the flavors and aroma of this root crop, such as found in many of our selections at Korean Tofu House. Know more about how ginger enhances many other Korean dishes and improves your health issues.