Not only has chronic inflammation been linked to illnesses and disease — such as cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, arthritis, and autoimmune conditions — it’s also an important consideration for cyclists, especially those who spend long hours in the saddle. They often expose themselves to higher training loads, early mornings and place increased physiological demands on the body.
Inflammation is necessary for healing, recovery and repair. However, problems arise when the inflammatory response by the body becomes chronic or systemic, taking a toll on health and performance in the long term. The low-grade inflammatory response can break tissue down, increase risk of injury and illness and prevent strength and performance gains.
Some of the best ways to reduce chronic inflammation are through an increased intake of omega-3 fatty acids (like fish oil), adequate sleep and recovery, stress management, strength training and diet.
This recipe uses the powerful anti-inflammatory ingredients of ginger and turmeric. Ginger contains very potent anti-inflammatory compounds called gingerols and turmeric’s active anti-inflammatory ingredient is curcumin.
This tonic can be served warm or chilled and is the perfect way to kick-start digestion before breakfast or it makes a great post workout drink, just add a little rock or sea salt for better hydration.
Anti-inflammatory ginger tonic
Ingredients (makes 1 litre)
• 1 lemon, peeled
• 35 grams ginger, peeled (adjust depending on the strength you like)
• 20 grams fresh turmeric, peeled (adjust as above)
• 4 cups filtered water
• 1 tablespoon honey* (optional)
1. Add the lemon, ginger, turmeric and water to your high-powered blender.
2. Blend on high until smooth
3. If you want a smooth drink with no pulp, pour the mixture through a nut milk bag, fine strainer or piece of muslin cloth into a jug or jar.
*Honey has great antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, so add a dash if you want to gently sweeten your tonic or if you’re fighting a sore throat or cold.
Tip: You can make a tonic concentrate by reducing the amount of water in the recipe. To serve, add a dash of warm or cold water to taste. If you have extra, freeze in an ice-cube tray then serve with a top up of boiling water.
Lizzy Marsh is a qualified exercise scientist and nutrition consultant. She has worked with a range of both elite and recreational athletes in the areas of performance testing, nutrition, strength and conditioning and holistic health. When she’s not coaching classes at the Melbourne-based gym she owns with her brother, Lizzy loves cycling, yoga, trail running and fly fishing. As an ambassador for Specialized Australia and lululemon athletica, Lizzy is passionate about inspiring more women to ride bikes, get stronger and feel good. You can follow Lizzy on Instagram or read more about her here.