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Probably best known for its ability to relieve nausea, ginger is another powerful healing flavor source. Gingerols and shogaols, plant compounds that give ginger its spicy-hot taste and stimulating aroma, are anti-inflammatories that can reduce pain from colds, flu, sore throat, headache, cramps, and even osteoarthritis, without the stomach irritation often linked to ibuprofen. Early research hints that ginger could also inhibit growth of certain types of cancer cells, including those in the ovaries and gastrointestinal tract. A recent study published in the Saudi Medical Journal indicates that ginger may also lower cholesterol levels significantly, thereby benefiting heart health.
Related: Ginger Tea Recipe
Choose It & Use It
Cook with fresh grated or candied ginger, or brew ginger tea. (Steep 2 tablespoons fresh grated ginger in a mug of boiling water for 5 minutes; strain.) Enjoy Asian, Caribbean, and Indian dishes, which traditionally contain fresh ginger, and opt for baked goods laced with fresh, dried, or candied forms, such as gingerbread, gingersnaps, spice cake, and pumpkin pie.
Caution: children under 2 should not ingest ginger.