It may seem strange that candy can be beneficial for runners, but there are actually numerous ginger chews benefits.
What are ginger chews you ask?
Ginger chews are chewy candies made by boiling pieces of pure, natural ginger root until they are soft and pliable, and then sweetening them with sugar. The result is a spicy, sweet, and chewy candy with a tootsie-roll-like texture.
Ginger chew candies can be flavored, for example, with apple or peanut butter, but are often just a sweetened ginger flavor like that of gingersnap cookies.
Ginger chews typically come packaged individually, so runners can easily slip them right into the pocket of a running jacket, shorts, or fuel belt without making a mess.
Alternatively, some runners prefer crystallized ginger, which is very similar in texture and is also candied ginger with sugar, but crystallized ginger also has granulated sugar on the outside, so the texture is more gritty than a ginger chew.
Ginger chews have the delicious sweet and spicy taste of this beloved spice, but the ginger chews benefits for runners go beyond tickling the palate and being a warm and spicy-sweet treat. Keep reading for a list of 10 impressive ginger chews benefits for runners.
Let’s dig in!
10 Ginger Chews Benefits for Runners
Ginger chews are made with ginger root (Zingiber officinale Roscoe), a culinary spice used for many years as part of traditional medicinal remedies.
Ginger is rich in phenolic compounds, terpenes, polysaccharides, lipids, organic acids, and raw fibers, but most of the health benefits of ginger are attributed to its gingerols and shogaols, which are phenolic compounds.
An extensive body of research suggests that ginger confers a host of beneficial biological activities, including anti-nausea, antiemetic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, anticancer, neuroprotective, cardiovascular protective, respiratory protective, antiobesity, and antidiabetic properties.
For this reason, ginger is often considered a superfood, which is why ginger chews can be more than just a delicious candy. The ginger chews benefits for runners include the following:
#1: Ginger Chews Can Reduce Nausea
Have you ever found yourself struggling to follow your fueling strategy on race day because you’re just too nauseous? Tearing open a goopy energy gel on a hot day and trying to suck it down at mile 20 of a marathon can be nauseating in and of itself, especially if you’re feeling queasy and struggling to get one foot in front of the other.
However, if you forgo your nutrition and can’t get your calories in, you’ll be left feeling even more depleted and may hit the proverbial “wall” when your glycogen stores are drained.
Enter ginger chews, an increasingly popular part of any distance runner’s kit.
Ginger is well known to alleviate nausea, whether due to morning sickness in pregnancy, side effects from chemotherapy, stomach illnesses, or in our case, running long distances.
The anti-nausea ginger chews benefits for runners are twofold.
Popping open a ginger chew when you are nauseous during a long run or race can provide a few calories and some quick-acting simple sugars. This is especially helpful if you are struggling to get your other nutrition down. More importantly, once the gingerols start taking effect, nausea will hopefully subside enough to stomach eating your other fueling.
#2: Ginger Chews Can Reduce Muscle Soreness
Every runner is familiar with muscle soreness, particularly after a hard workout or race.
There’s evidence to suggest that ginger may help reduce muscle soreness after exercise, so if you suffer from delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS), or hope to stave it off, consider enjoying several ginger chews post-workout.
#3: Ginger Chews Can Regulate Your Bowels
If you deal with a nervous stomach on race day that sends you to a port-a-potty numerous times, or tend to have runner’s trots or constipation on the regular, ginger chews can potentially regulate your bowels.
For the best results, try ginger chews plenty of times in regular training before testing them out on race day. It’s never a good idea to try something new on race day.
#4: Ginger Chews Can Reduce Inflammation
We often hear of the amazing antioxidant properties of foods like pomegranates and açaí berries, but did you know that ginger has even more powerful antioxidant capabilities?
According to research, gingerols and other phenolic compounds in ginger exert strong antioxidant activities, acting as free radical scavengers in the body to reduce oxidative damage. Oxidative damage can put the body in a pro-inflammatory state.
In this way, ginger chews can reduce inflammation and oxidative damage, which is great for runners because intense training can increase free radicals and induce cellular damage.
#5: Ginger Chews Can Alleviate Dizziness
Some runners can experience light dizziness or vertigo, especially when running in the heat.
Although it’s most important to ensure you are properly hydrated and have adequate blood sugar and electrolyte levels, if you are still experiencing dizziness, having a ginger chew might help.
#6: Ginger Chews May Reduce Joint Pain
Studies suggest that compounds in ginger may help reduce the joint pain associated with osteoarthritis. If you have chronic knee pain or other cartilaginous damage and arthritic pain when you run, ginger chews may potentially help you log miles more comfortably.
#7: Ginger Chews May Reduce the Risk of Certain Cancers
Applicable to runners and non-runners alike, one of the ginger chews benefits is that this root has been shown to possess strong anti-cancer properties. Specifically, ginger may reduce the risk of cancer and its components have been shown to be effective against gastric, pancreatic, liver, colorectal cancers, and cholangiocarcinoma (bile duct) cancer.
#8: Ginger Chews Can Promote Digestion
When you run, blood is diverted away from the digestive tract to meet the demands of the working muscles. As a result, digestion can slow and any food you have in your stomach can sit around like a lead ball or slosh around with every single stride.
Ginger can increase the production of digestive juices, thereby stimulating digestion. So, if the energy gel you sucked down at mile 10 feels like a bunch of heavy mush in your stomach, you can chew on some ginger chews to help move it along your GI tract while you run.
#9: Ginger Chews Can Support Weight Loss
Not every runner is concerned with losing weight, but plenty of runners are either initially drawn to running as a means to control weight or burn calories or manage their weight along the way.
If you are a runner working on reaching a healthy weight, here’s another benefit of ginger chews for you: ginger can help prevent obesity and support weight loss.
Studies show that ginger can reduce body mass index (BMI) and circulating insulin levels. As high blood inulin levels are associated with obesity, the development of insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes, ginger chews can potentially lower your disease risk as well.
#10: Ginger Chews Are Runner-Friendly
Ginger chews are super convenient for runners because they are individually wrapped and can be fit into any tiny pocket. With about three grams of sugar each and a pleasant, chewy texture, they can provide a quick pop of sugar and can be sucked or chewed while running.
So, before you head out the door for your next long run, consider picking up a few ginger chews to keep you feeling good mile after mile.
If you are looking for other fueling snacks, take a look at our very own 18 Healthy Whole Food Alternatives To Gels For Runners.