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Galangal (Blue ginger): Benefits, Uses and Possible Side Effects

Galangal is a plant of the ginger family, Alpinia galanga, a root with which it shares certain nutritional properties. It has a brown color, although it is pale in the interior area.

It stands out for its spicy flavor, although it is an aromatic edible. It is also known as blue ginger, being originally from China.

Keep in mind that the use of culinary spices is highly recommended. These condiments have phytonutrients with antioxidant power. Its inclusion on a regular basis in the diet can generate a series of positive effects.

Nutrients and vitamins

Galangal is a root that does not provide much energy; only 71 calories per 100 grams of product. However, most of it comes from carbohydrates, since it has 15 grams of the nutrient for every 100 of the food. It also concentrates a significant amount of fiber inside.

Now, what galangal really stands out is its micro and phytonutrient content. Within the first group, vitamin C can be highlighted, since every 100 grams of the product can provide 5.4 grams of the nutrient. As far as phytonutrients are concerned, it concentrates an innumerable amount of flavonoids and phytochemicals with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant action.

Health Benefits of Galangal

We are going to discuss the main benefits of galangal when it is introduced in the context of a varied and balanced diet.

1. Improves immune function

This property is due to the vitamin C content of the food. This nutrient has the ability to improve the functioning of the immune system, providing more efficient protection against respiratory infections. This is evidenced by a study published in the journal Frontier in Immnology.

2. Protects against tumor processes

According to research published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention, galangal could protect against the development and progression of certain oncological types, due to its antioxidant activity. Above all, it has been studied in the context of breast tumors, finding very positive effects together with the prescribed pharmacology.

3. Acts as an anti-inflammatory

The inflammation is the mechanism by which many complex conditions are promoted. An example of them would be the cardiovascular type.

Galangal, due to its phytonutrient content, is capable of balancing inflammatory processes, preventing over-expression of this response. According to a study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, galangal generates anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antioxidant activity thanks to phenolic compounds.

Differences with ginger and turmeric

Galangal is often compared to ginger and turmeric, as these also have health benefits and fall within the group of culinary seasonings.

The main difference between these 3 spices is that ginger and turmeric appear to support metabolic health, improving diabetes control. For its part, there is no evidence that galangal manages to exert this same effect. In the same way, while ginger acts by increasing weight loss, galangal stands out for its increase in sperm count.

Now, it is best to combine or alternate the use of these 3 seasonings. They are considered positive for the vast majority of the population.

Possible Side effects of galangal

As a general rule, galangal is considered a safe food that does not cause side effects. However, in some contexts its use should be avoided, such as pregnancy.

It may happen that when very high doses are consumed gastrointestinal disturbances are experienced that can lead to diarrhea, abdominal pain or increased gas production. Even an excessive intake could cause an increase in stomach acid secretion.

However, as a condiment and in the context of a balanced diet, it is not often that it generates any kind of problem. It is considered a safe and beneficial edible.

How can it be consumed?

The most common is to find galangal powder or galangal root in specialized markets. In western countries it is not often marketed.

It can be used in a simple way, adding the powder to culinary preparations, in the same way as it is done with ginger. In the case of acquiring the root, it will be necessary to use a conventional grater. Keep in mind that it gives a certain spicy touch to foods.

Galangal: a root with many beneficial properties

Galangal has several health benefits. It is recommended to include it in the context of a balanced diet, although it is often difficult to find in many cities and countries. You have to go to stores specializing in exotic products to buy this ingredient.

Now, do not think that galangal is a miracle remedy. Although there is evidence that it generates a certain protection against the development of some disorders, medication should not be neglected if it is prescribed by a specialist. In any case, the spice could be used in a complementary way.

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