Anyone who has struggled with back, knee or joint pain knows how hard it can make everyday tasks, never mind bigger efforts like working out. However, if you're getting up in the morning and your joints are already stiff, you might know what's coming: stiffness is often a precursor to osteoarthritis, the condition that causes stiff joints to become very painful.
There's a whole vista of the best supplements for joints out there to keep your muscles and bones in optimal health, but you can also modify your diet to eat for better knees. Ginger, a cheap, healthy and common ingredient in lots of recipes, has been found to have some very beneficial effects when it comes to the prevention and treatment of muscle and joint pain.
One study, published by researchers from the University of Miami (opens in new tab), looked at the effects ginger can have on osteoarthritis sufferers. After testing 261 patients with the condition, it was found those who were fed a ginger root extract had a positive change in their condition's status and a reduction in the amount of pain they felt.
This was described as a "moderate" effect, but it's just one of several studies confirming ginger works to combat joint pain. This is possibly due to its anti-inflammatory properties, which work to ease pressure on swollen, painful joints.
Ginger's not just for painful bones and joints, or those suffering from arthritis: all exercise enthusiasts can also use it to reduce pain and improve mobility. Another study, published by scientists from Georgia College and State University (opens in new tab), found "daily consumption of raw and heat-treated ginger resulted in moderate-to-large reductions in muscle pain following exercise-induced muscle injury".
If you suffer from delayed onset muscle soreness (or DOMS) after a workout, a dose of ginger will see you right. This reduction in pain will speed up your recovery alongside techniques like stretching before and after workouts, allowing you to get to your next session much faster.
As well as ginger capsules provided by companies like GOPO Joint Health Plus (opens in new tab), grated or diced root ginger can be thrown on top of your weekday salads and used in all manner of different recipes.
Matt Evans is an experienced health and fitness journalist and News Editor at Fit&Well, covering all things exercise and nutrition on the Fit&Well website. Matt originally discovered exercise through martial arts: he holds a black belt in Karate and remains a keen runner, gym-goer, and infrequent yogi. His top fitness tip? Stretch.
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