How to eat for faster injury recovery
Getting injured is the worst. It might mean you don’t get to do the stuff you love, like training, playing your favorite sport and generally being active. Injuries aren’t fun, but they eventually happen to everyone who puts a high degree of effort into their sport or training. When it happens, make sure you are eating the right foods, so you can get back in the game.
When you get injured, your body goes through a phase of inflammation. This is when you notice things like swelling and redness; this is actually a good thing and means your body is drawing in important healing materials to the injured area. This is also when your body’s repair systems are triggered into action; however, too much inflammation can cause additional damage.
In this stage you’ll want to make sure that you are eating a variety of anti-inflammatory, healthy fats, like olive oil, fish oil and avocados. Spices like turmeric and garlic as well as antioxidant-rich foods like berries and dark chocolate all have anti-inflammatory properties and should be included in your diet. It’s also a good idea to eat less inflammatory foods, like processed meats, vegetable oils and trans fats, to avoid creating more inflammation than is necessary for your body’s repair process.
After the inflammation response, your body removes the damaged tissue and begins the process of building new, stronger tissue to repair the injury. In this stage, you’ll need to provide your body with enough nutrients to support the rebuilding of the new tissue. You won’t need as many calories as you would normally consume when recovering from regular training sessions, but you still need more than someone who is completely sedentary.
Make sure to consume ample protein from meat, eggs, legumes and whey in order to provide your body with the amino acids it needs. You’re going to want to eat a variety of vegetables in order to give your body all the vitamins and minerals needed to heal your injury. Try to “eat the rainbow,” and, no, that doesn’t mean throwing down a bag of Skittles. It means you should try to eat many different colors of vegetables, which all have their own unique types of nutrients.
You won’t need as many carbohydrates as you normally do to recover from training, but you should still include some minimally processed variations in your diet, like rice, quinoa, oats and sweet potato. You should continue to eat a balance of healthy fats coming from sources like fish, coconut oil and avocado.
What you decide to eat has a powerful effect on your body. If you give your body the nutrients it needs, it has the ability do amazing things, like heal quickly. Make sure to always consult with your doctor in order to properly diagnose your injury and get nutrition advice specifically tailored to you. Don’t let your injury sideline you for too long – use the power of quality nutrition to get back to doing what you love, fast!