For centuries,Â Eastern medicine has embraced ginger for its healing properties, and current research has revealedÂ why it works. The root may act as an anti-inflammatory by blocking prostaglandinsâhormone-like compounds that cause muscle contractionsâwhich quell post-workout soreness, says Christopher Black, Ph.D., an exercise physiologist at the University of Oklahoma.
The 8 Best Pre-Workout Foods
Itâs the same pathway that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin take. Having ginger before exercising may make it even more effective. The root contains the compound gingerol, which âbinds to a certain nerve receptor and lessens the painÂ signal,â Black says. (Itâs similar to capsaicin, the chemical that makes chili peppers hot and is also used as a painkiller.) Raw ginger is intense, so buy it juiced to blend into smoothies, cook the powder into curry, have the pickled kind with sushi, or try a ginger capsule. A Moscow Mule might make you feel better, too, but it has little to do with the ginger beerÂ in the classic cocktailâs recipe.