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Ginger a Superfood for Sailors

In India, it goes by the name maha-aushadhi, meaning "Great Medicine," a fitting name for this remarkable superfood. Ginger, with its rich history spanning centuries and its multitude of health benefits, has rightfully earned its place as a staple ingredient onboard Kahu and in kitchens worldwide. Let's explore the wonders of ginger and why it's celebrated as a superfood for sailors.

 

A Root Like No Other


Contrary to popular belief, ginger isn't technically a root but a stem from the Zingiber officinale plant. Its chunky rhizomes, or ginger "roots," are bursting with flavour and health benefits, making them a cherished ingredient and a staple in our recipe book aboard Kahu. Whether fresh or ground, ginger adds depth and complexity to dishes, enhancing both savoury and sweet creations.





 

Forever Friend


If you are in a warm climate or have a cozy indoors then you can try your hand at growing your own ginger from the stem you have in your kitchen.  You basically need to make sure the part of the stem you are using has what gardeners call “eyes”—plant in soil or a pot with drainage (too much water will rot the ginger stem).  You will need to wait for about six weeks for roots to appear but after that put it into a bigger pot and keep it in a warm area.  If you give it a try let us know how you got on!

 

Unlocking the Health Benefits


Ginger boasts an impressive nutritional profile, packed with bioactive compounds such as gingerol, shogaol, and paradol. These compounds contribute to ginger's powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, making it a potent ally in promoting overall wellness.


Why ginger is so good for us.


Ginger has been used throughout the ages for its medicinal properties. It is packed full of vitamins and minerals but I have to be honest here you will never eat enough of it in one day for it to be a stand-alone viable source for recommended daily intakes.  The power of ginger comes from it being a consistent ingredient in your weekly diet.


The health benefits of ginger


Nutrient-Rich


Despite its small size, ginger packs a powerful nutritional punch. It is rich in bioactive compounds such as gingerol, shogaol, and paradol, which contribute to its potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Additionally, ginger is a good source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, magnesium, and potassium.

 

Digestive Aid


One of ginger's most well-known benefits is its ability to aid digestion. It stimulates the production of digestive enzymes and promotes the movement of food through the gastrointestinal tract, relieving symptoms of indigestion, bloating, and nausea. Whether consumed fresh, as a tea, or in supplement form, ginger can provide soothing relief for digestive discomfort.

 

Anti-Inflammatory Effects


Chronic inflammation is linked to a myriad of health issues, including arthritis, heart disease, and certain types of cancer. Ginger's potent anti-inflammatory properties help combat inflammation at the cellular level, potentially reducing the risk of chronic disease and promoting overall well-being.

 

Immune Booster


With its high concentration of antioxidants, ginger can help strengthen the immune system and protect against illness. It has been traditionally used to ward off colds and flu, thanks to its antimicrobial properties. Incorporating ginger into your diet during cold and flu season may help fortify your body's natural defences.

 

Pain Relief


Ginger has been shown to have analgesic properties, making it effective in alleviating various types of pain, including muscle soreness, menstrual cramps, and headaches. Its anti-inflammatory effects may also provide relief for individuals suffering from conditions such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.


Versatile and International


From savoury dishes to sweet treats and beverages, ginger's versatility knows no bounds. In savoury recipes, it forms the flavourful base for curries and stir-fries, while in sweet treats, it adds warmth and spice to gingerbread cookies and loaves. And let's not forget about ginger-infused drinks, from homemade ginger beer to refreshing ginger tea.

Ginger's culinary prowess extends far beyond our kitchen aboard Kahu. In Japan, it's pickled and served with sushi, while Australia boasts a delightful ginger beer tradition. Across the globe, ginger adds its distinctive flavour to holiday decorations, beverages, and cuisines, showcasing its universal appeal.

 

How to incorporate ginger into your cooking


Savoury Dishes


Paired with chopped garlic and sliced onion and fried in oil it makes the basis of delicious curries and sizziling stir-fries.


Soups


We use it in our ramen broth for a comforting and tasty tofu noodle ramen after a  

It is a base to most of the Asian recipes that we cook onboard.  From curries to stir-fries, it always has it place and add a zingy rich taste. I either grate it with the fine grater or dice it.


Sweet treats


Gingerbread cookies go down a treat.  Especially on passages where we can be prone to seasickness in rough weather.  We also make a delicious ginger loaf with lemon and ginger icing which is delicious with afternoon tea.





Drinks


We love ginger beer.  It is a delicious and nutritious alternative to sugary soda drinks.  We also use ginger to make tea, and flavour water as a refreshing change to rehydrate.

 

Recipe Spotlight: Mam's Dhal - Our Red Lentil Tarka Dhal


As always we have a recipe to accompany our superfood for sailors article.  This month we decided that ginger was such a superstar superfood we have gone and added two!  Our Mams dhal - red Lentil Tarka Dhal, is a no-fail sure to impress, even better the next day, Go straight to the recipe here.

 

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