Good Food/Good Health
Week of February 20, 2006

Don't Forget the Ginger

from the
American Institute for Cancer Research

Cooks think of herbs and spices as flavor-enhancers. But thanks to their health-protective phytochemicals, they can also help fight against cancer and other diseases, much like those found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and other plant-based foods.

Fresh ginger, for example, contains a pungent substance called gingerol. And when ginger is dried and stored, another substance, zingerone, is formed. Both substances are believed to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects and, therefore, may be cancer-protective.

In addition to cancer and other chronic diseases, ginger has been used to treat nausea, motion sickness and other digestive ailments. Some people chew on candied ginger, while others take ginger capsules or drink a tea made from hot water steeped with candied ginger or a few slices of fresh ginger root.

The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) promotes a largely plant-based diet which includes herbs and spices as the most healthful way to eat. This diet, rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans, has both short- and long-term benefits. It can often help with weight management as well as offer protection from chronic diseases like cancer.

The AICR rule of thumb is two-thirds (or more) of a plate filled with a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and/or beans, and one-third (or less) animal protein.

A largely plant-based diet does not have to be dull or tasteless. Fresh herbs and spices are one way to enliven flavor while adding more health-protective substances.

These gingered carrots are a pretty, nutritious side dish that complements most entrées.

Gingered Carrots 1/2 cup golden raisins
Hot water
5-6 medium carrots (10-12 oz.)
Boiling water, just enough to cover carrots
2 tsp. finely-minced fresh ginger
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. butter or margarine
2 tsp. brown sugar
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
Pinch of salt, if desired
In a medium bowl, combine raisins and just enough hot water to cover them. Let stand about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, peel and slice carrots diagonally into 1/2-inch slices. Place in a medium pot of boiling water, add ginger and lemon juice. Cook 6 to 7 minutes. Drain.

Drain raisins, reserving 3/4 cup liquid, and set aside. In a skillet, melt butter or margarine over medium heat. Add brown sugar and cook 30 seconds.

In a separate bowl, mix together reserved raisin water and cornstarch. Add to butter/brown sugar mixture. Cook about 1 minute, or until thickened. Add raisins and carrots and cook 1 minute. Add lemon zest and salt, if desired. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings. Per serving: 124 calories, 2 g. total fat (1 g. saturated fat), 26 g. carbohydrates, 1 g. protein, 3 g. dietary fiber and 55 mg sodium.

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The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) offers a Nutrition Hotline online at or via phone 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET, MondayFriday, at 1-800-843-8114. This free service allows you to ask questions about diet, nutrition and cancer. A registered dietitian will respond to your email or call, usually within 3 business days. AICR is the only major cancer charity focusing exclusively on how the risk of cancer is reduced by healthy food and nutrition, physical activity and weight management. The Institute’s education programs help millions of Americans lower their cancer risk. AICR also supports innovative research in cancer prevention and treatment at universities, hospitals and research centers across the U.S. Over $75 million in funding has been provided. AICR is a member of the World Cancer Research Fund International. All active news articles