This flowery plant native to South Asia contains powerful anti-inflammatory compounds called gingerols, which have been shown to reduce the formation of free radical nitric oxide when it promotes inflammation, and to inhibit the development of inflammatory compounds.

“Ginger can help with delayed-onset muscle soreness,” says Jim White, R.D. who points to a study in the Journal of Pain that showed ginger acting as a pain reliever and anti-inflammatory without the negative side effects of normal pain relievers. Ginger is better at treating delayed onset muscle soreness, White says, because it doesn’t affect pain immediately after it’s consumed, but is actually more effective the next day.

In addition to getting you back into the gym quickly, ginger could also help keep unwanted pounds off. A 2012 study at Columbia University, published in the journal Metabolism, discovered that participants who ingested two grams of powdered ginger reported feeling fuller three hours later than those who didn’t consume the powder.

Ginger is available year-round in your local grocery store. The brown-skinned rhizome usually has yellow flesh, but some varieties are white or red. Adding fresh ginger to a dish is as easy as peeling and mincing it. Ginger also comes in capsules, and as an extract, tea, or juice. The recommended intake is 2-4 grams per day, White says.

Ginger Nutritional Info:

Calories: 5

Protein: 0g

Fat: 0g

Carbs: 1g

Nutrition info per 6g (Source USDA)