10 Spices, Spreads and Oils for Your Healthy Kitchen

This gnarly little root is a punchy spice.
This gnarly little root is a punchy spice.
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Ginger's numerous medicinal properties have made it a popular spice in many parts of the world for hundreds of years. Ginger has been credited with solving a variety of digestive ailments, including stomachaches and diarrhea. Like garlic, ginger can be used as an effective antiflatulent. It's been proven to increase circulation, which is beneficial for a variety of menstrual, circulatory and heart problems. Ginger can also treat nausea, arthritis, migraine headaches and sore throats [source: Smith].

However, ginger doesn't help everybody. Many people have found that this hot little spice increases stomach pains instead of resolving them, and research has indicated that ginger may actually prevent normal blood clotting in some people [source: Rinzler]. Therefore, those who take blood-thinning medication may want to stay clear of this powerful spice.

You've got a lot of options if you do want to start incorporating some ginger into your meals. Try dunking a few slices of fresh, peeled ginger into boiling water for a healthy homemade tea, or mix some minced ginger in with beef or chicken for a spicy stir-fry. For a dietary splurge, use the spice to bake ginger cookies.

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