Aromatic, pungent and spicy, ginger adds a special flavor and zest to Asian stir fries and many fruit and vegetable dishes. Fresh ginger root is available year round in the produce section of your local market.

It is covered with a brownish skin that may either be thick or thin, depending upon whether the plant was harvested when it was mature or young.

Nutritional Profile

Ginger is generally prized for its use as an herb or flavor as a spice and not as a nutritional supplement. It is very low in Cholesterol and Sodium. It is also a good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin B6, Iron, Magnesium, Potassium and Selenium, and a very good source of Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol) and Manganese.

How to Select and Store

Ginger is generally available in two forms, either young or mature. Mature ginger, the more widely available type, has a tough skin that requires peeling while young ginger, usually only available in Asian markets, does not need to be peeled.

Just like with other dried spices, when purchasing dried ginger powder try to select organically grown ginger since this will give you more assurance that it has not been irradiated.

Ginger is also available in several other forms including crystallized, candied and pickled ginger.

Related: 10 Herbs and Spices for Optimum Health

Fresh ginger can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three weeks if it is left unpeeled. Stored unpeeled in the freezer, it will keep for up to six months.

Dried ginger powder should be kept in a tightly sealed glass container in a cool, dark and dry place. Alternatively, you can store it in the refrigerator where it will enjoy an extended shelf life of about one year.

Health Benefits

Historically, ginger has a long tradition of being very effective in alleviating symptoms of gastrointestinal distress. In herbal medicine, ginger is regarded as an excellent carminative (a substance which promotes the elimination of intestinal gas) and intestinal spasmolytic (a substance which relaxes and soothes the intestinal tract). Modern scientific research has revealed that ginger possesses numerous therapeutic properties including antioxidant effects, an ability to inhibit the formation of inflammatory compounds, and direct anti-inflammatory effects.

Also: Gastrointestinal Relief, Safe and Effective Relief of Nausea and Vomiting During Pregnancy, Anti-Inflammatory Effects, Protection against Colorectal Cancer, Ginger Induces Cell Death in Ovarian Cancer Cells, Immune Boosting Action.

Ginger is not a commonly allergenic food and is not known to contain measurable amounts of oxalates or purines.


Native to southeastern Asia, a region whose cuisines still feature this wonderfully spicy herb, ginger has been renowned for millennia in many areas throughout the world. Ginger is mentioned in ancient Chinese, Indian and Middle Eastern writings, and has long been prized for its aromatic, culinary and medicinal properties. After the ancient Romans imported ginger from China almost two thousand years ago, its popularity in Europe remained centered in the Mediterranean region until the Middle Ages when its use spread throughout other countries. Although it was a very expensive spice, owing to the fact that it had to be imported from Asia, it was still in great demand.

Related: 18 Home Remedies That Really Work

Today, the top commercial producers of ginger include Jamaica, India, Fiji, Indonesia and Australia.

Nutrition Chart

Ginger, slices, fresh | 1 tbs | 6.00 g | Calories: 5

Vitamin K0.01 mcg0
Vitamin C0.30 mg0
Vitamin E 0.02 mg0
Vitamin B30.05 mg0
Vitamin B60.01 mg 1
Folate0.66 mcg0
Choline1.73 mg0
Calcium0.96 mg0
Copper0.01 mg1
Iron0.04 mg0
Magnesium2.58 mg1
Manganese0.01 mg 1
Phosphorus2.04 mg 0
Potassium24.90 mg1
Selenium0.04 mcg0
Sodium0.78 mg 0
Zinc0.02 mg 0
Protein0.11 g 0
Carbohydrates0.05 g0
Fiber0.12 g0

Percent Daily Values (%DV) are for adults or children aged 4 or older, and are based on a 2,000 calorie reference diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower based on your individual needs.

Percent Daily Values (%DV) are for adults or children aged 4 or older, and are based on a 2,000 calorie reference diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower based on your individual needs.

Preparing and Cooking with Ginger

To remove the skin from fresh mature ginger, peel with a paring knife. The ginger can then be sliced, minced or julienned. The taste that ginger imparts to a dish depends upon when it is added during the cooking process. Added at the beginning, it will lend a subtler flavor while added near the end, it will deliver a more pungent taste.

The Healthiest Way of Cooking With Ginger read: Recipes.


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