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Use ginger to combat an end-of-semester cold

By Christie Melhorn, March 16 2018 —

The pre-end-of-semester plague has hit campus. If you don’t feel like your sinuses are about to explode or that you’ll hack up a lung, you probably will in the next few days. Brace yourself.

But before spending a bunch of money on over-the-counter medication, try treating your sickness with ginger. It’s a long-standing natural cold remedy that can benefit your health whether you’re fighting a sickness or not.

Candied ginger snacks are tasty but quite sugary and won’t soothe a cold — they’re also incredibly pricey. Ginger root costs next to nothing at most grocery stores and is really versatile. For an effective cold-crushing tea, simmer an inch and a half of peeled and thinly sliced ginger root in boiling water for five minutes. The brew feels great on a sore throat and leaves behind a soothing warmth — just be aware it’s really strong and has an acquired taste. The process of making it is also a nice study break and has a satisfying, esoteric feel. If you’re extra brave, you can also chew just ginger root raw.

Here are some reasons why you should add more ginger to your diet, based on information courtesy of Healthline, Readers DigestMedicine Hunter, and Positive Health Wellness.

Fights infection:
Ginger contains antibacterial properties called gingerols and shogaols that are linked with reducing inflammation, helping soothe a swollen throat. They also help kill off rhinoviruses — viral agents that are the prevailing cause of common colds. Ginger is also known to ease symptoms of nausea, which could cushion a nasty congestion headache.

Treats indigestion:

Indigestion is a common consequence of stress and anxiety. With final papers and exams looming ahead, it’s understandable if your stomach is in a knot and your appetite is inconsistent. But a lack of adequate nutrition only slows recovery from a cold. Gingerols are associated with reducing muscle tension and settling a strained stomach. If you’re feeling really queasy or nauseous, grab a ginger ale from Stör or a vending machine to help settle your stomach.

Improves brain function:

Constantly feeling stressed and overwhelmed, as students often do, can stunt cellular redevelopment and accelerate cognitive decline. However, ginger is rich in antioxidants believed to slow neurodegeneration and the aging process. In a Kohn Kaen University study, 60 middle-aged women who consumed ginger extract daily for two months showed improved reaction time and working memory. Ginger can’t mend existing cellular damage or guarantee an A on your paper, but it doesn’t hurt to eat more brain-boosting, antioxidant-rich food.  

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