Q: I was told to eat ginger to help my arthritis. What is it, and where can I find it?
A: There are multiple benefits of ginger for arthritis. Ginger is a versatile spice that has anti-inflammatory properties, and early research shows it may be helpful in alleviating arthritis pain, making it one of the best foods for arthritis. This potent flavoring agent can be used in any course, from appetizers to dessert. Look for fresh ginger in the produce section of most grocery stores — it is a tan root about the size of very fat fingers. Powdered ginger, found in the spice aisle, is used most often in baking and gives a stronger taste to foods — so don’t substitute the same amount of powdered ginger for fresh ginger or it will be overpowering! Candied or crystallized ginger is sweet and can be enjoyed as an occasional treat or added to muffin and pancake batters. A common accompaniment to sushi, pickled ginger (also called gari) is made by soaking thin slices of fresh ginger in rice vinegar and sugar for a week or longer. Another health benefit of ginger: it's touted as a digestive aid, helping nausea and stomach upset; and, when sliced and steeped in hot water, it makes a delicious ginger green tea.