The Spring 2010 issue of SCAN's Pulse (Sports, Cardiovascular, and Wellness Nutrition) was excellent. I learned to much! The newsletter included the following contents:
*The perils of reductionism in nutrition science: the case of acid-ash hypothesis
(I have SO much to learn in clinical nutrition...thank goodness I am becoming a RD!)
*Night Eating Syndrome: Overview and treatment
*Impact of Vitamin D and Calcium on Health Outcomes: Reviewing the Evidence
*Developing an effective statewide eating disorder coalition
*Sports Dietetics USA research digest
and a few more small articles.
If you have any questions about the above topics or you feel they may be of interest of you, email me or leave me a comment and I will be happy to send along the key points of the article, with current research.
The part of the newsletter that interested me the most was the first page, which read:
GINGER: A SPICE THAT MAY REIGN in PAIN
(by Christopher Black, PhD and Patrick O'Connor, PhD)
I've heard a lot about the health benefits of ginger and a few months ago picked up a bottle of powdered ginger from Wal-mart. Every now and then I will sprinkle it in my muffin or pancake recipe or put a little in my whey smoothie but I am certainly not religious about using it. Garlic, on the other hand, may as well be my favorite "flavor". I personally believe that garlic keeps me my immune system healthy (I probably have a clove a day, 20-25 days out of every month) because I never get sick and REFUSE to get sick.
Anyways, the article in my newsletter was great and I'd like to post a few of the paragraphs/key points (directly copied from the article) which I think you will find interesting. Considering that the majority of you enjoy living a healthy and active lifestyle or are on the quest of increasing activity and eating better (it doesn't happen over night..don't give up!) I think you will really learn to love the benefits of Ginger.
If you would like to see the research studies that the authors cited, please let me know and I will pass along the reference.
-In the US, 38 million are estimated to use natural products (echinacea, ginseng, ginkgo biloba) as an alternative therapy for a medical problem, and giner is among the 10 post popular.
-Ginger (Zingiber officinale) has been used in traditional Indian and Chinese medicine as a treatment for various ailments including asthma, diabetes, nausea and stroke as well as pain conditions such as rheumatism and toothache.
-New focus of Ginger: to REDUCE exercise-induced muscle pain.
Usefulness of Ginger:
*Recommended to treat nausea and vomiting during pregnancy and shown to reduce nausea related to motion sickness.
*Ginger may reduce the adverse effects of chemotherapy (study was done on breast cancer patients).
Ginger and Pain Treatment
*Treatment for osteoarthritis pain (dosage of 30 mg - 500 mg/d for 4-36 weeks)
*Ginger functions similarly to NSAIDs (aspirin and ibuprofen). In vitro studies show that several of the constituents of ginger (gingerols, shogaols, paradols and zingerone - which give ginger its unique smell and taste) inhibit the actions of the cyclooxygenase enzymes 1 and 2 (COX 1 and COX 2).
*Ginger reduces the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as interleukin (IL)-1, IL-12 and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha. These enzymes and cytokines play a key role in the inflammatory response that leads to pain and swelling in muscles and joints.
*Ginger agonizes the TRPV1 receptor, known as the capsaicin (found in red pepers) receptor which plays a role in central and peripheral processing of noxious stimuli. Many topical creams w/ capsaicin are used for pain relief.
*Although ginger-containing creams are available, data is lacking regarding their efficacy as anti-arthritis and anti-pain creams.
DOMS (DELAYED ONSET MUSCLE SORENESS)
*Based on a double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover design study, 2g of ginger was given to subjects following 24 hrs and 48 hrs of high intensity eccentric weightlifting (3 sets of 8 reps at 120% concentric 1-RM). Although ginger didn't reduce soreness or lead to improvements in function in the 60 min after consumption, ginger exerted a more delayed effect on the day to day progression of soreness. Soreness decreased by 13% on the 2nd day of testing (24 hrs later).
*This delayed analgesic effect of ginger prompted another study of 2g of ginger a day for 7 days before and 3 days after high intensity eccentric lifting (3 sets of 6 reps). Both raw and heat-treated ginger was used. Results showed that participants who supplemented for 11 days (7 days prior, the day of and 3 days later) experience 25% (raw) and 23% (heat treated) less muscle pain and soreness compared to placebo group.
Problem with NSAIDs
*Long term use of aspirin and ibuprofen may develop into gastric ulcers. Most common adverse effect from ginger consumption is heart burn.
*Because ginger is very similar to NSAIDs (is an inhibitor of COX 1 and 2 enzymes) it may lead to irritation of the gastrointestinal mucosal lining.
Application of Ginger Supplementation in Exercise
*2g dose equates to 1 tsp of powered ginger, 1 tbsp fresh ginger or 2 mL extract.
*Powdered ginger in food stores may be found in 250 mg to 1000 mg tablets/capsules.
*Look for standardized extract known to have a gingerol content of 5%.
*Although future research is needed to elucidate the minimal effective dose and whether a small amount of ginger consumed daily in drinks or foods can reduce muscle pain, there is compelling evidence that ginger is indeed an effective alternative to NSAIDs for the treatments of muscle pain and soreness.
I also found an article on ginger in Volume 33g of my Environmental Nutrition (EN) Newsletter explaining the soothing effects to the stomach. Recommendations from EN suggest:
2-4 g/d for therapeutic usage
1g 30 min. before travel, .5 - 1 g every 4 hrs for motion sickness
1-2 g/d for arthritis
Well, not sure if ginger is "the next best thing" but since it is in the vegetable aisle in the store and doesn't have an ingredient list, I would suggest trying it out (perhaps WITH your recovery protein such as a whey protein smoothie or mixed with low fat/greek yogurt or milk).
I created this recipe last night from the top of my head and I have to say that this is probably my new FAVORITE recipe. I wish I would have made more cause it was DELICIOUS!!!
Enjoy my latest creation!
Vegetarian Ginger Chinese Stir Fry
1/2 container sliced mushrooms
1/2 tube extra firm tofu (cubed)
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tbsp fresh ginger (shaved without skin)
1/2 can chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
1/8 cup sliced almonds
Green beans (large handful)
2-3 stalks broccoli
2-3 tsp low sodium ginger soy sauce
2 x 1 tsp olive oil
Optional "fried noodles"
1/2 ounce (portion) whole wheat spaghetti
1 tsp olive oil
1. On a large skillet, on medium heat, add chopped garlic and 1 tsp. olive oil. Add tofu, chickpeas, mushrooms and cook for a few minutes until brownish (toss every now and then).
2. Steam/microwave broccoli until soft.
3. Cook green beans in hot water until soft.
4. When tofu begins to brown, add almonds, ginger, soy sauce and 1 tsp. olive oil.
5. Toss mixture and add broccoli and green beans.
6. Cook for 2-3 additional minutes and turn off heat, remove pan from burner and cover until ready to serve.
1. For fried noodles, boil spaghetti for 3-4 min. until soft in small pot.
2. Empty water and with noodles in pot, add olive oil.
3. Chop up noddles w/ spatula as you move around the noodles to "crisp" them up. May want to lift pan off burner and give a shake to prevent noodles from sticking.
4. After a few minutes, noodles should be brown and semi-crispy.