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Crystallized Ginger Nutrition

By Michele Turcotte, MS, RD

Ginger is a tuber that is consumed whole as a delicacy, medicine or spice. Ginger is used to produce a type of candy in South India called "inji-murappa," which literally means "ginger candy" in Tamil. Candied ginger is also crystallized ginger (ginger cured with sugar). Crystallized ginger may be used as a condiment. It has a strong flavor and a chewy consistency. Ginger has been touted as an antibacterial spice with medicinal properties.

Basic Nutrition Facts

Candied or crystallized ginger is a carbohydrate-rich food since, essentially, it contains spice and sugar. A 1-oz. serving (28 grams) offers about 100 calories, 0g fat or cholesterol, 26g carbohydrates (21g sugars or just more than 5 tsp.), 0g dietary fiber or protein. Crystallized ginger is not a good food source of any vitamins, nor most minerals. However, 1 oz. does offer 40mg calcium or roughly 4 percent of the recommended daily value (DV) for this mineral. The characteristic flavor and odor of ginger root comes from a volatile oil composed of shogaol and gingerols. Gingerols have analgesic, sedative, antibacterial and gastrointestinal (GI) tract motility effects.

Anti-Nausea Properties

Ginger has been used as a popular culinary and medicinal herb for thousands of years. The Chinese have used it for 2,500 years as an antiemetic (anti-nausea) and flavoring agent, while the ancient Greeks wrapped ginger in bread and ate it after meals to aid in digestion. Ginger is now used around the world as a popular, natural nausea remedy. A review of six double-blind, randomized controlled trials was published in April 2005 in the journal entitled "Obstetrics and Gynecology." The conclusions confirmed that ginger is effective for reducing and relieving the severity of pregnancy-induced nausea and vomiting without adverse effects on pregnancy outcomes or side effects. The U.S. Food and Drug administration (FDA) has given ginger generally recognized as safe status (GRAS).

Anti-Inflammatory Agents

Gingerols are potent anti-inflammatory agents responsible for the strong odor and flavor of ginger. Gingerols may work by suppressing pro-inflammatory compounds in the human body (such as cytokines and chemokines), particularly those produced by the cells of the synovial joint lining (synoviocytes). Therefore, gingerols may be particularly beneficial in alleviating joint pain and/or osteoarthritis. The anti-inflammatory benefits of gingerols were published in a 2005 issue of the "Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine."

Crystallized ginger, or ginger candy, is an alternative for those who wish to consume ginger in a convenient and tasty form. It offers the benefits of ginger extract, ginger root and, perhaps, is more potent and fast-acting than ginger capsules.

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