We’ve known for some time that moderate exercise and carefully monitored post-workout intake of food and fluids has the more benefits for your immune system in the long run than going full throttle, but it appears that there’s a magical ingredient on most people’s shelves that will help your exercise recovery: ginger.
New research building on the correlation between exercise and the immune system suggests that adding ginger to your post-workout recovery can lower inflammation in runners. These findings came as a result of a study published in the Central European Journal of Immunology.
The test pool for the study was made up of of 28 well-trained male runners who were young (average age 23), fit and lean (average of about 5’8″, 143 pounds) and were used to an intense training routine. The testing period for the research lasted 12-week.
Throughout the 12-week period all the participants replicated the same hard training routine. The researchers measured plasma levels of three types of cytokines after exercise, which are hormone-like proteins that are viewed as indicators of inflammation. As anticipated, the subjects showed increased levels of cytokines.
For the second half of the 12-week period, half the runners took 500 milligrams of powdered ginger three times a day, while the other half took a placebo (a pill that basically has no physiological effect on the taker.)
The striking results showed that the runners that took the placebo pill, had a 32% cytokine increase compared to the first six weeks, suggesting that after training hard for a considerable amount of time, the immune system of the runners weakened.
On the other hand, the ginger group cytokine levels were 18% lower than they’d been six weeks earlier. This was credited to ginger’s anti-inflammatory properties.
So try adding some ginger to your post-workout recovery drink and see if you can feel the difference!