It turns out that ginger, the antioxidant-packed spice long thought to bolster immunity, can also enhance your fitness by lowering inflammation and dulling pain in your muscles. The latest study of this root found that ginger speeds muscle-strength recovery after you lift weights.
Previously, research revealed that ginger can tame exercise-induced inflammation and mute muscle pain caused by running or resistance training. Yet another study, this one published in 2014, showed that after taking ginger supplements for six weeks, male endurance runners had lower levels of the immune-system-suppressing cytokines produced by strenuous exercise.
Taken together, these findings make a solid case for working more ginger into your diet — especially when working out in fall and winter’s cooler temps, and at the start of cold and flu season. Candice Kumai, celebrity chef and author of Clean Green Eats, suggests adding fresh ginger to vinaigrettes, meat marinades, or pancake mixes; sipping on ginger tea; or making this immunity- and workout-boosting ginger smoothie:
Ginger Recovery Smoothie
Blend the following ingredients together for 1 minute:
- 1 cup almond milk
- ½ banana
- ½ pear
- 1.2 cup Greek yogurt
- 1 and ½ cups ice
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger
- 1 tsp vanilla extract