A key to optimal health is making sure your digestive system is running smoothly. However, many of the processed foods we consume tend to hinder proper digestion, and we all know that an “unhappy” stomach and colon can be really debilitating.

Enter ginger, the ginger plant’s glorious underground rhizome, which, besides adding a delicious kick to many foods, contains medicinal properties to aid most of your gastrointestinal issues.

Ginger is credited with the ability to do the following:
• Eliminate intestinal gas
• Relax and soothe intestinal tract
• Prevent symptoms associated with motion sickness
• Provides relief from nausea and vomiting during pregnancy
• Possible protection against colorectal cancer

In addition to keeping your intestines clean, ginger is said to help reduce inflammation due to osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, as well as add a bit of a “boost” to the immune system.

So how can you incorporate this spicy and aromatic food—preferably the fresh ginger root instead of the dried or crystallized variety—into your everyday life?

1- Tea. Boil cut-up pieces of ginger with your choice of cinnamon sticks, orange peels or mint leaves, for a hot or cold beverage that’s an instant pick-me-up for your achy tummy.

2- Stir Fry. Vegetables never tasted so good as when they’re paired with julienned bits of ginger in sesame seed oil.

3- Fresh Juices. If you like to “juice” one or all of your meals, try a carrot, ginger and green apple combination; your taste buds will love you for it!

4- Lemonade. The next scorching hot day on your calendar won’t be complete without a tall glass of lemonade infused with fresh ginger slices.

5. Salads & Dressings. Add ginger to your favorite salads and dressings for that extra “umph” of flavor that will transform an everyday meal into an experience.

To learn more about this magical root, check out this article on The Epicenter’s encyclopedia of spices.