It’s no secret: a tough, grueling workout can leave you feeling sore for days after, sometimes prohibiting what kind of activities you want to engage in, or leading you to change your plans to work around your the pain. What is the cause of all of this?
One major factor contributing to that painful feeling persisting long after your workout is finished is called delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS for short. The period of time when you are most likely to experience it can start just a few hours after your workout is finished and can extend as much as 72 hours after the workout, varying by individual. You’ll notice that the area where DOMS is affecting you the most will be tender to the touch. The chief cause of DOMS is believed to be from microdamage and tears to the muscles in the area. Inflammation is another cause.
So you might be wondering, how you can you reduce this muscle soreness so that you don’t have to worry about being sore for the rest of the week? Let’s talk about one of the easiest changes you can make to your diet so that you can enjoy every workout without the occasional pain afterward.
Ginger: Not a Miracle Food, But Does Wonders for Soreness
One food that is easy to overlook, and can be used in a variety of ways, is ginger. A lot of people know that ginger is commonly used to aid upset stomachs – but not many know that it can also be used to soothe sore muscles as well.
To start, ginger is a member of the same family of plant as turmeric. Turmeric has been used by some cultures for thousands of years due to its medicinal properties – such as increasing the antioxidant capacity of the body. Ginger shares many of the same properties, such as anti-inflammatory compounds, and also contains a substance called gingerols.
Researchers have found that gingerols show generally positive effects when it comes to animal studies – including analgesic and sedative effects. In 2010, studies were done to see if ginger affected muscle pain and inflammation – and by how much. After the eight-day study concluded, in which dozens of participants took part in weight lifting, and some were eating 2g of ginger daily – the results were clear: ginger could reduce pain the day after exercise by up to 25%.
So, if you’re regularly feeling the pain of each workout, one solution you could try is to add more ginger in your diet. But just how can you do that? Let’s take a look at some of the ways below.
Ideas to Help You Get More Ginger in Your Diet
Ginger is a unique food – and so it happens that it can be difficult to get more of it in your diet. Let’s talk about four ways you can start adding more ginger to your diet so that eating it will feel natural.
The first way is to add ginger to your daily shakes. There are a few ways to go about this. First, you could buy ginger cubes to add it directly to your shake – these can be found at some grocery stores, but you may have to look at specialty ones or buy online. You can also make your own. This can add a unique flavor to your shakes while hardly being noticeable.
Another way to get more ginger in your diet is to add it to your tea. This one is pretty simple – simply grate some fresh ginger root into the water before bringing it to a boil. You’ll want to make sure that the ginger is part of the process of boiling, not something you add after, to avoid making it too strong.
Another way to incorporate it into your diet is to add it to your next stir-fry for an Asian-inspired cuisine. Typically, it tends to pair well with broccoli, garlic, and chicken, so this is one way to make a wholesome meal while reaping the benefits.
Lastly, if you are running short on time, it doesn’t hurt to supplement with a bit of ginger as well. Ginger supplements are found in capsule form and are sold by many top brands.
The Bottom Line
Research has shown there are a lot of benefits to regular ginger consumption, regardless of its form. The possible long term benefits are helping to stave off various diseases, improving blood sugar levels, anti-inflammatory effects, brain function, and more. And the best part? When you wake up tomorrow, you might notice that you aren’t as sore from your workout as you have been in the past. That’ll lead to your next workout being even better.