4 Reasons Why Athletes Should Eat Ginger

Ginger, or ginger root, is a spice used to add its distinctive flavor to dishes. Ginger has also been used in traditional medicine for years. Now, research is starting to back up some of the traditional health benefits. Athletes may want to take a closer look at ginger for these reasons.

It Aids With Nausea and Dizziness

One of the main traditional uses for ginger is to calm a queasy stomach. Although the research on ginger and nausea has been focused on nausea experienced during pregnancy, chemotherapy and post-surgery, many people use it to help with nausea regardless of the cause. One study showed that ginger may also help with dizziness or vertigo.

Some triathletes experience nausea or dizziness either during or after the swim. Eating some crystallized ginger either before entering the water or in transition may help settle your stomach and relieve dizziness. Try eating 1 gram of crystallized ginger (that is easier to eat in transition than fresh ginger) in training before or after a swim to see if it helps. Try it first in training; you don't want to do anything new or different on race day.

More: The Health Benefits of Ginger

It Relieves Muscle Soreness

A study in the Journal of Pain in 2010 showed that ginger may help reduce muscle soreness. Taking 2 grams of fresh ginger, about 1 1/2 teaspoons, per day may help you have less delayed onset muscle soreness. You can also use crystallized ginger if you prefer. If you're going into an intense training period, take 2 grams of ginger per day for at least a week and see if you feel less sore. The research on ginger and muscle soreness is not clear, but unless there is a reason for you to avoid ginger, you can try it and see if you notice a difference in how you feel.

More: Ginger-Curry Roasted Vegetables and Tofu

It Remedies Loss of Appetite

Some athletes lose their appetite after workouts and races. Eating for recovery is a critical component in allowing your body to repair, recover, and get ready for your next workout. Discovery Fit & Health includes ginger as one remedy for a poor appetite. If you lose your appetite after a workout or race having a cup of ginger tea may help you regain your appetite.

It Keeps Things Moving

According to The Bastyr Center for Natural Health, ginger may help keep your digestive tract in working order. Taking 1 to 2 grams of ginger per day when you are traveling may help you avoid constipation and diarrhea. Many athletes deal with digestive issues when traveling for a race. A little ginger may go a long way in helping you have a better race. Again, this is something you want to try at home before trying it during a trip for a race.

More: Power Meals for Athletes

Keep in mind: Adverse effects have been noted in those taking high doses of ginger (4 grams and higher per day). Talk with your doctor before incorporating ginger into your diet. The Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database cautions you should talk to your doctor specifically if you have any bleeding conditions or are taking any anticoagulant/antiplatelet, high blood pressure, or warfarin or warfarin-type medications.

More: Carrot, Kale, Apple and Ginger Smoothie

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About the Author

Penny Wilson

Dr. Penny Wilson is a registered and licensed dietitian, board-certified specialist in sports dietetics, and owner of Eating for Performance. She works with athletes to help them perform their best. She also works with non-athletes to help them fit healthy food and eating habits into their lives. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

Dr. Penny Wilson is a registered and licensed dietitian, board-certified specialist in sports dietetics, and owner of Eating for Performance. She works with athletes to help them perform their best. She also works with non-athletes to help them fit healthy food and eating habits into their lives. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

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