Why You Should Be Using Ginger In Your Meal Prep!
These days, it seems like there are a new diet fad and trendy food every day. A lot of these trends have been labeled “superfoods,” because of their versatility and the sometimes shocking long list of benefits. Superfoods go above and beyond just the aesthetic appeal of a colorful plate of avocado toast in a well-lit restaurant during brunch hours (though we are definitely not dissing on avocado toast, over here!). These foods are touted for all the amazing benefits they can have for your body and your health, aside from filling your belly with yummy goodness. And while ginger might be a spice instead of a ‘food’, (that you really only associate with Eastern cuisine and molasses cookies at Christmas time) it offers awesome health benefits that you should not be missing out on! Ginger has been linked to positively impact skin, hair, digestion, and your athletic performance – so we runners especially need to be adding it into our meals!
Ginger is a spice that has been used for centuries, specifically by Asian cultures, to flavor food and helps with different body aches and pains. Several studies have linked ginger to help reduce muscle fatigue and delayed onset muscle soreness (aka, that mysterious, tricky, and painful muscle soreness that does not kick in until hours and even sometimes days after the workout has been completed). One reason for this might be because of its ability to help stimulate appetite.
One of the biggest factors for muscle soreness and fatigue is due to improper nutrition by athletes. Athletes, and especially runners, are by-and-large a fit group of people who do not typically have much excess fat on their bodies, watch what they eat, and are mindful of calorie intake and portion size. And while this may be good for helping keep a trim waistline, it runs an increased risk of being underfed and undernourished. Our bodies are AMAZING and the number of calories they actually need will likely surprise you (here’s a hint: it is WAY WAY WAY more than what “health and fitness” magazines suggest for most women trying to lose and/or maintain their weight). Food, calories, and specifically the protein macronutrient help build muscle and give our bodies fuel to break down and turn into muscle growth after a workout. Without the necessary amount of calories and protein, our muscles fail to get what they need, and look for other sources of energy (aka our OWN muscles – yes, our muscles figuratively ‘eat’ our muscles when we are underfed) by which to recover. Most athletes are not consciously trying to starve themselves though and not eat enough. Exercise produces hormones that actually inhibit hunger, so sometimes, the idea of that post-workout protein shake or snack makes us sick to our stomach just thinking about. The remedy for this could very well be ginger, to help settle our stomachs and bring our appetites back, so we can ensure we are fueling ourselves adequately for the activities we are doing.
Sometimes, one of the worst ‘running injuries’ is actually a sensitive stomach. Nausea and/or just general stomach malaise can really throw a wrench in your training. Fortunately, ginger has been known to help calm upset stomachs and relieve nausea. (This is partially why doctors and your mom often prescribe drinking ginger ale when you are sick with flu-like symptoms!) For all you pregnant running mammas out this, this is especially welcomed news when it comes to treating your morning sickness. Ginger has also been found to help with chronic indigestion and discomfort in the upper abdomen. This may be because of ginger’s ability to speed up stomach emptying times, which results in less gas build up and ease of bloating. Women experiencing painful menstrual cramping have also raved about ginger’s ability to ease cramps and manage side effects.
Ginger has been known to help reduce the signs of aging and get your skin feeling and looking youthful, vibrant, and radiate. This is mostly due to ginger’s antioxidants, which help reduce toxins in the body and open up blood circulation, helping skin look younger. And if you still have acne and blemishes (even long after your teenage years are over), ginger may be the antidote you need to clear your pores. For luscious, beautiful locks, ginger also helps stimulate hair growth and give you that envious thick, silky mane you have always wanted, free of dandruff and split ends. And just because we runners are not afraid to get sweaty and dirty during our workouts, we also certainly appreciate a fancy night out where we get to show off!
- 4 Reasons Why Athletes Should Eat Ginger, Active.com Blog, ,
- 11 Proven Health Benefits of Ginger, Jun 04, 2017 ,
- Ten Beauty Benefits of Ginger For Your Hair and Skin, Ginger Parrot blog, ,