It’s perhaps this most basic of human traits that is responsible for the couch-potato epidemic sweeping our nation. People don’t like pain, and workouts can hurt. Even when you’re a confirmed non-couch-potato, the muscle pain caused by a hard workout can be a serious bummer, even affecting your successive workouts. Sure, there’s ibuprofen and the like, but those nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents can blunt muscle growth. We’ll take the pain, thanks. But now research shows an alternative. A study in the April 23, 2010, issue of The Journal of Pain found that subjects who supplemented with ginger experienced 25 percent less muscle pain after a hard workout than those who took a placebo. Ginger is a natural source of powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds, which are likely playing a role here.