Everyone who leads a physically active life will experience an injury at some time or another. When this happens, the primary goal is to recover and get back to a normal life as quickly as possible. Most of us are aware of what this means in terms of resting an injured joint or applying adhesive tape or an orthopedic brace to support injured soft tissues. We may also be cognizant of the need to gradually rehabilitate the injured body part in order to return it to a normal range of motion with the minimum possible risk of injury. However, all too frequently, we may not be aware of the need to follow an appropriate diet to give the body the nutrition it needs to fully and quickly recover. In this post, we suggest how to choose the best foods that will help injury recovery. We also explain how they can put you on the road to recovery as quickly as possible.
The right choice of foods to eat while recovering will help to heal your wounds, relax stressed ligaments and tendons and even repair fractured bones. You should of course follow your doctor’s advice to rest, ice, compress and elevate (R.I.C.E.). However, if you are also consuming the right foods, they will get you back in the game that much sooner.
Fruits & Vegetables
In this section, you should choose foods rich in vitamins A and C. Vitamin A supports your body’s ability to make white blood cells to fight infections. Vitamin C promotes the repair of skin and flesh wounds. It also supports your body’s ability to create collagen, an important component of scar tissue, blood vessels and new bone cells.
Good sources of Vitamin A include kale, carrots, spinach and sweet potatoes. For your vitamin C, look for strawberries, peppers, oranges, tangerines and broccoli. These foods will help your injury recovery stay on track and get you back in action as quickly as possible.
Lean meats are excellent sources of protein, a critical building block that your body needs to create new cells. These foods are vital to help your body repair or replace damaged cells as part of the injury recovery process. Meats such as turkey, sirloin and chicken are excellent choices in this category.
If you are vegetarian or vegan, try foods such as tofu, chickpeas, peanuts or almonds. These foods are all rich sources of protein that will help your body in the injury recovery process.
Dairy is also a good source of the protein your body will need as part of the injury recovery process. But, in this category, milk and yoghurt are also rich sources of calcium, which your body needs to repair injured bones and muscles. Dairy products also contain vitamin D, which helps your body to absorb calcium more efficiently. Milk and yoghurt should therefore definitely be on your shopping list if you are looking for foods to help your injury recovery as much as possible.
Fortified cereal contains zinc, an important nutrient to the immune system and one that boosts your body’s ability to heal wounds. Another important role that cereal plays is as a source of high quality carbohydrates. An adequate supply of carbohydrates as a source of energy will free up your body’s supply of protein rich foods to help rebuild damaged cells and muscles as part of your injury recovery process.
In the seafood section, salmon, tuna and trout will provide your body with a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids enhance your body’s ability to suppress inflammation. Inflammation is a consequence of injuries like bone fractures and sprained ligaments. It also occurs a result of repetitive stress injuries like tendonitis. Omega-3 fatty acids therefore play an important role in helping your body repair these injuries and getting you back to full health.