Ginger helps prevent sore muscles post-workout, new research finds

This anti-inflammatory kitchen staple reduces muscle and joint pain, and may even aid weight loss

Powdered and fresh ginger on a chopping board
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you enjoy your training but dread the post-workout muscle soreness, the results of a new study might offer some relief. Researchers investigating the anti-inflammatory effects of ginger have found that it soothes muscle pain too.

Using one of the best foam rollers is a great way to deal with the delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) that you feel after a workout. These help promote blood flow into the muscle to aid recovery, and adding ginger into the mix could take things a step further.

Ginger supplements are thought to help with a range of physical problems, but it wasn't clear if the spice directly affects post-exercise muscle pain. This new research suggests that daily supplementation could be an effective way to speed along your DOMS recovery.

Across the 11-day study period, participants took a capsule with either heat-treated or raw ginger. The post-exercise effect was measured using a combination of blood samples and questionnaires.

Each style of ginger (heat-treated and raw) was compared to a placebo group to help analyze the changes directly caused by the daily intake of two grams of ginger.

Sliced root ginger on a chopping board

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Impressively, both forms significantly reduced muscle pain in the 24 hours following exercise. The raw ginger supplement lowered the pain by 25%, while the heat-treated ginger achieved a 23% reduction in comparison to the placebo cohort.

Before the study, the researchers had thought heat-treated ginger might be more effective than the raw version. The heat-treating process concentrates some of the beneficial chemicals, but the results show that consuming raw ginger has the same effect.

This makes it a budget-friendly way to reduce muscle soreness as you can buy fresh ginger at the store, which is typically much cheaper than processed varieties. Then you can add it to your food or make a cup of ginger tea.

There are other benefits, too, as a separate study found that two grams of ginger powder a day for 12 weeks helped promote weight loss. Meanwhile, there's evidence that ginger can reduce joint pain as well.

If you're after a way to bolster your joint health, though, it's worth adding the best supplements for joints into your routine. There are varieties for all budgets, vegan options, and even some organic choices, so you can find one that suits your lifestyle.

James Frew
Fitness Editor

James is a London-based journalist and Fitness Editor at Fit&Well. He has over five years experience in fitness tech, including time spent as the Buyer’s Guide Editor and Staff Writer at technology publication MakeUseOf. In 2014 he was diagnosed with a chronic health condition, which spurred his interest in health, fitness, and lifestyle management.

In the years since, he has become a devoted meditator, experimented with workout styles and exercises, and used various gadgets to monitor his health. In recent times, James has been absorbed by the intersection between mental health, fitness, sustainability, and environmentalism. When not concerning himself with health and technology, James can be found excitedly checking out each week’s New Music Friday releases.