Anti-Estogenic (and other) Effects of Ginger + Recipes
I've already mentioned on this site, at RAW Forest Foods, and at other sites, what a huge role that diet plays in excess estrogen in the male and female bodies. I've focused on soy and hops, as they are the major diet related contributors to elevated levels of estrogen. I want to take the opportunity now to address a similar issue: What foods will lower high levels of estrogen? Instead of focusing on the negative, we're instead focusing on positive actions we can take.
Today I'm only going to talk about ginger, because ginger is so amazing in and of itself. I'm also going to include two recipes for fun ways of incorporating ginger into your diet. One is an easy ginger tea for when you are, or a loved one, is sick, and the other is for making your own ginger beer, which is easy and fun, non-alcoholic, and a potent health tonic.
Ginger ( Zingiber officinale) is a perennial plant that originated in the tropics, but because of its aesthetic beauty is now widely cultivated in more temperate climates. The active health promoting compounds in ginger are called gingerols and shogaols.
I first learned to identify ginger while in the deep tropics of Costa Rica in the Fall of 2003, and was amazed upon returning home to Santa Cruz, California, that the plant was everywhere I looked. Once on a bike tour on the Central Coast of California, I harvested ginger from a waterfall overlooking Big Sur. Truly remarkable. In the deep tropics, we used a relative of the common culinary ginger called Galanga (also known as Thai Ginger), to treat chest colds. It works wonders, as does the regular, culinary ginger available fresh in the grocery store.
The ginger we know and love, according to Whole Health MD, is a reliable treatment for:
- Relieving Nausea;
- Combat Motion Sickness;
- Reduce Dizziness;
- Control Chronic Pain;
- Limit Flatulence;
- Ease the Pain of Muscle Aches and Rheumatoid Arthritis;
- Minimize Symptoms of the Common Cold, Allergies, and Other Respiratory Conditions;
- Reduce Blood Lipid Levels
Ginger is also great for lowering excess levels of estrogen in the body. Eating more ginger is a positive action you can take in restoring healthy levels of estrogen and testosterone in your body. Remember, to experience the health benefits of ginger, you need to be consuming real ginger from the fresh root. You can find this in every grocery store, but try and buy organic. Commercial products, like ginger ale, often have no real ginger in them and a whole lot of artificial flavorings and corn syrup, and will not do anything positive for your health.
Ginger is a great ingredient to have on hand to add too many of your meals, and will nicely spice up any stir fry or curry that you're making, while greatly adding to the nutrition of meal.
When I'm sick, I always make pot after pot of fresh ginger tea. I grate a couple of inches of fresh ginger root into a pot full of water, then simmer with a lid on for 20 minutes. I take the heat off, add the juice of one lemon, and raw wildflower or manuka honey to taste, and drink HOT. This does wonder for all sickness, especially chest colds. You can, of course, make it stronger or weaker as you like.
Another fun thing to make, especially as we're moving into cold season, is homemade ginger beer. For this, I'm going to borrow a recipe from Sandor Katz's Wild Fermentation (a book I highly recommend). The following is an excerpt from the book Wild Fermentation:
This Caribbean-style soft drink users a "ginger bug" to start the fermentation. I got this idea from Sally Fallon's Nourishing Traditions. The ginger bug is simply water, sugar, and grated ginger, which starts actively fermenting within a couple of days. This easy starter can be used as yeast in any alcohol ferment, or to start a sourdough.
This ginger beer is a soft drink, fermented just enough to create carbonation but not enough to contribute any appreciable level of alcohol. If the ginger is mild, kids love it.
Time Frame: 2 - 3 weeks
Ingredients: (for 1 gallon/4 liters)
3 inches/8 centimeters or more fresh
2 cups/500 milliliters sugar
1. Start the "ginger bug": add 2 teaspoons (10 milliliters) grated ginger (skin and all) and 2 teaspoons (10 milliliters) sugar to 1 cup (250 milliliters) water. Stir well and leave in a warm pot, covered with cheesecloth to allow free circulation of air while keeping flies out. Add this about of ginger and sugar every day or two and stir, until the big begins to start bubbling, in 2 days to about a week.
2. Make the ginger beer any time after the bug becomes active. (If you wait more than a couple of days, keep keeping the bug fresh ginger and sugar every 2 days). Boil 2 quarts (2 liters) of water. Add about 2 inches (5 centimeters) of ginger root, grated, for a mild flavor (up to 6 inches/15 centimeters for an intense ginger flavor) and 1 1/2 cups (325 milliliters) sugar. Boil this mixture for about 15 minutes. Cool.
3. Once the ginger-sugar-water mixture has cooled, strain the ginger out and add the juice of the lemons and the strained ginger bug. (If you intent to make this process an ongoing rhythm, reserve a few tablespoons of the active bug as a starter and replenish it with additional water, ginger, and sugar.) Add enough water to make 1 gallon (4 liters).
4. Bottle in sealable bottles: recycled plastic soda bottles with screw tops; rubber gasket "bail-top" bottles that Grolsch and some other premium beers use; sealable juice jugs; or capped beer bottles, as described in chapter 11. Leave bottles to ferment in a warm spot for about 2 weeks.
5. Cool before opening. When you open ginger beer, be prepared with a glass, since carbonation can be strong and force liquid rushing out of the bottle.
(Ryan again) And that's it. The recipe, though good, makes the whole process seem a little more complicated than it actually is. Just try it out. Be adventurous and have fun. I hope that you find this post inspiring and that it motivates you to add something fun and healthy into your life. I'm going to start a ginger bug tonight!