Are you looking for a playful way to spice up your Valentine’s Day? Try some ginger root! Just hearing the Latin name for ginger, Zingiber, sounds sexy. The famous physician Avicenna noted that this gnarly rhizome ‘increased lustful yearnings,’ and Madame du Barry, an official royal mistress to King Louis XV, served ginger to all her lovers (and herself) to assure their seduction.
Today, ginger is well documented to help reduce digestive stress, motion sickness and inflammation. And although there is little science to support the aphrodisiac claim, it is logical to assume that ginger stirs desire, as it has the power to increase blood flow from the brain to our fingers, toes and even our private parts. After baking up some of my famous ginger chocolate cookies, the alluring smell hangs in the air and soon my husband finds his way to the kitchen for a special treat. We share a cookie with smiles, kisses and hugs—a good start to a romantic evening.
Need more reasons to embrace this romantic spice? Here are five facts about ginger:
1. Beat inflammation with ginger: Ginger has the ability to beat painful inflammation by inhibiting the effects of arachadonic acid. Arachadonic acid is a necessary fat that is responsible for triggering the inflammation involved in the immune response, and ultimately leads to pain at that site. Boosting your ginger intake can reduce the feelings of pain caused by inflammation. Choosing ginger as an alternative to over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs gives your liver a break from needing to work overtime and clear these drugs from your system.
2. Ginger is used as a compress to manage osteoarthritis: Ginger has been used for thousands of years in China to treat the pain associated with osteoarthritis. The ginger is boiled and grated into a compress, then applied to the affected site. Find out how to make a ginger compress here.
3. Ginger inhibits the growth of cancer cells in the colon: Ginger contains a compound called gingerol, which has been shown to suppress tumour growth of already formed tumour cells. It has also been shown to inhibit the expression of proteins that trigger the initial development of cancer cells specifically in the colon. So boost your fibre and your ginger for the ultimate intestinal cleanse!
4. Use ginger to stop nausea and vomiting during pregnancy: In recent studies, ginger has been shown to be just as effective at relieving nausea and vomiting in pregnancy as the many over-the-counter and pharmaceutical drugs. It can also boost a mother’s immunity as well as the baby’s immunity in the process. It also has a cleansing effect on your digestive tract and puts much less stress on your liver during pregnancy.
5. Ginger can prevent ulcers and heartburn: As a very potent antioxidant and antibacterial agent, ginger can clear pathogens from your blood stream and digestive tract. It has been shown in studies to kill the H. Pylori bacterium that can cause heartburn and digestive upset. Ginger also allows the mucosal wall of the stomach to build up, thus protecting the stomach against ulcers and damaging pathogens.
Spicy ginger love cookies
1/2 cup (125 mL) almond butter (mix if separated, then measure)
2 tsp (10 mL) cinnamon, ground
1 tbsp (15 mL) ginger, ground
2 cups (500 mL) almond meal
1 tbsp (15 mL) ground flax meal
6 tbsp (90 mL) honey
1 tsp (5 mL) pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup (60 mL) dark chocolate chips (70 percent fair trade and organic, if possible)
1 tbsp (15 mL) fresh ginger, grated fine
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
2. Place all the ingredients into a bowl and stir to thoroughly combine.
3. Roll the dough by hand into 1 inch (2 cm) balls and lightly press down with a fork.
4. Place the cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
5. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden. The cookies will become stiff as they cool.
6. Store in an airtight container.
Makes 24 cookies.
Nutritionist Julie Daniluk hosts the Healthy Gourmet, a reality cooking show that looks at the ongoing battle between taste and nutrition. Her soon to be published first book, Meals That Heal Inflammation, advises on allergy-free foods that both taste great and assist the body in the healing process.
For more amazing recipes visit Chatelaine.com’s recipe section.