Ginger and turmeric are the new “it” couple. Ginger, most commonly used in gingersnaps, gingerbread cookies or ginger ale, is more nutritious when enjoyed fresh! Like ginger, turmeric is a common spice, often used in Indian cuisine, known for its fragrant flavor and fantastic yellow color. Both originate from the same plant family and are types of roots, known as rhizomes.
(College Budget Tip: you can regenerate turmeric and ginger roots by cutting a portion of the stem and planting it… wow!)
These spices have much more to offer than taste. The health benefits of eating ginger and turmeric daily are tremendous! Read on to find out why some people call these roots miraculous.
- Antioxidant Power-House
Ginger has almost the same amount of antioxidants as berries! Adding ginger to your diet is a tasty and substantial way of getting an extra antioxidant boost. Why is this important? Your body undergoes all sorts of stress caused by aging, physical activity, actual stress of a breakup or losing a love one, and just general daily wear and tear. Antioxidants can help fill in the gaps caused by those things to help your body regroup.
- Inflammation Reducer
Some people consume ginger for headaches or menstrual cramps instead of reaching for the ibuprofen! Research has shown that people who consume ginger report less pain due to arthritis and other chronic pain diseases. Ginger contains a potent gingerol component that is attributed to help ease the aching. Toss some ginger into your smoothie after a difficult workout to help recovery!
- Nausea Helper
Maybe this is a no brainer… but ginger actually does help with nausea. It helps relieve stomach discomfort caused by gas build up. Try eating ginger before a bumpy road trip or a boat ride to avoid motion sickness. Or even try making some ginger tea after a night out on the town to kick that hangover to the curb!
- Protect and BOOST Your Brain
Turmeric, also known as the golden spice, is literally gold in helping your brain function better than normal. Curcumin, the beneficial part of turmeric, makes this spice act like a superhero. It can increase DHA levels that help with brain development and protection and also helps remove plaque and metal build up that leads to dementia and Alzheimer’s. Research has linked it to lower levels of depression and common brain diseases, all while improving memory and brain function. Chaaaa-ching.
- Who Wants to Get Old?
Turmeric is the closest thing you’ll get to Peter Pan. Yes, curcumin is on the MVP list when it comes to edible anti-aging solutions. The mixture of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory components in turmeric will help combat almost any chronic disease. Cancer and heart disease, for example, have been shown in some cases to be prevented and even treated by turmeric. To keep things simple, turmeric helps everything from optimal brain function to joint health to combatting the daily cold to protecting your heart.
- Cashing In the Golden Spice
There is a bit of a caveat with curcumin. It can be difficult for your body to absorb. In order to fix that issue, combining pepperine, found in black pepper, and turmeric make it more available for absorption. Also, curcumin is fat-soluble, meaning that it should be consumed with a nutritious source of fat like olive oil, fish or avocado.
Jackie Parker is currently a senior nutritional sciences student on the dietetics track at Texas A&M University.