Our bodies are complicated yet sophisticated systems. The process of digestion flows from the mouth to the oesophagus, down through to the small intestine, then the large intestine ready to be eliminated. Depending on what you have eaten will depend on how long this process takes. For example, fruit and vegetables pass through the digestive process very quickly because they are largely water and easily broken down by enzymes. Other foods can take several hours. If you consume a large, heavy meal and eat more food a couple of hours later, the process will become congested. Think of it like a traffic jam. No one is going anywhere until the car at the front starts going again. Same with the body.
If transitioning to a plant based diet, or simply increasing the amount of fresh fruit and vegetables you are consuming on a daily basis, you may notice an increase in flatulence. This is caused by the increase of fibre. The healthy bacteria in the gut feed on these fibre, releasing gas. Eventually the body adjusts.
In the world of herbs, ginger is considered carminative, which means it helps to expel gas. One way to help alleviate this issue is to consume smaller portions of food to allow the bacteria to have the time they need to process the fibre.
Ginger is a superfood because it is has so many health benefits but it is also a versatile herb. Fresh ginger is found in the root or rhizome, and has a delicious zing to its yellow flesh.
It is known for its anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and protective properties that assist the stomach and liver. It also cleanses the colon.
There are many nutritional benefits to include ginger as part of your regime. These include Vitamins B1, B3, B6 and C, as well as calcium, manganese and magnesium to name just a few.
Adding fresh ginger to your foods is a great way to incorporate this herb. Dried ground ginger can also be used. Add to stir fries or curries or even baking.
Taken as a tea after meals can help with digestion or nausea. Try adding a knob of fresh ginger with some lemon slices to a saucepan of water, allow it to simmer – not boil, and enjoy.
A note of caution. Ginger is a stimulating herb and can increase circulation to improve cold hands and feet. This stimulating effect can also thin the blood so caution should be taken if this is a concern.
Choose wisely. Live vibrantly.
Photo by Юлія Вівчарик on Unsplash