Fresh ginger has become my favorite way to spice up a green smoothie. It not only has a lot of potential health benefits, but it adds a wonderful flavor that complements citrus, banana and durian.
Health Benefits of Ginger
Ginger has a variety of health benefits and has been used medicinally for centuries. Ginger is widely known for its immune-boosting and stomach-settling abilities (ie: drinking ginger ale to settle your stomach). It has been shown to be effective in treating nausea from motion sickness, morning sickness and chemotherapy. Some studies suggest that ginger can help relieve intestinal gas and speed up digestion.
Ginger’s anti-inflammatory properties show promise for those afflicted with osteoarthritis. Animal studies have shown that ginger may help prevent skin and colorectal cancers while also killing ovarian cancer cells. Ginger may also possess blood thinning and cholesterol-lowering properties which may be helpful in treating heart disease.
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Tips For Using Ginger In A Green Smoothie Recipe
Ginger adds a warming, spicy flavor to fruit and green smoothies. I find that fresh ginger works best with pineapple and other citrus fruits like orange, lemon and lime. It also blends well with sweet banana or vanilla bean and ads a kick to raw chocolate creations. It is excellent with durian and can be combined with other spices like nutmeg and cinnamon.
Since I have a Vitamix blender, I just cut a piece of ginger off of a root, peel it and toss it in. I usually slice or dice it first. I use about 1/2 inch piece or more depending on how much smoothie I am making. If you do not have a high-speed blender, you can easily grate fresh ginger with a small grater that you’d use for Parmesan cheese or whole nutmeg.
I routinely add ginger to green smoothies. Just about any green will work provided that the fruits I mentioned above remain dominant in flavor. Don’t rely on ginger to mask bitter greens.
Ginger Precautions and Warnings
Ginger is, however, a mild chemical irritant, so don’t go crazy with it in your green smoothies. A little bit goes a long way. Ginger may interfere with certain medications such as Warfarin and some people are allergic to it. Symptoms may include rash, heartburn, bloating, gas and nausea. Despite its effectiveness in treating upset stomach and indigestion, ginger is not recommended for those with gallstones, ulcers, inflammatory bowel disease or blocked intestines.
How To Select Ginger
Always choose fresh ginger over dried, ground ginger. Ginger root should be smooth, firm and free of mold. I recommend that you keep it in the refrigerator.
If possible, choose organic ginger as conventionally grown may have been irradiated.
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Tracy Russell is the creator of RESET 28: A 28-Day Program For Energy, Weight Loss & A Healthy Glow, and founder of Incredible Smoothies. She has been helping people take control of their health and well being with green smoothies, a whole foods diet, and fitness since 2009.