When an injury has sidelined you, you want to do everything to make a quick recovery. Sprains, muscle pulls, stress fractures, broken bones, and even surgery are some of the issues that can occur with daily exercise. There is some good news as certain foods and supplements can aid in the recovery process. Here are some things that you should consider adding to your diet to recover from an injury or surgery.
Different Stages of Healing
There are three levels in the recovery process. Inflammation is the first step as the body sends chemicals to the injured location. This step is essential as it starts your recovery. However, if you have too much inflammation, it can hinder your healing. The second stage is proliferation, and this step includes the removal of the bad tissues. These tissues are replaced with temporary tissue as the blood starts to flow to your injured body part. Finally, the last step is remodeling. With this step, all that temporary tissue is replaced with stronger tissue. After your body has completed all these steps, you are considered to be fully healed. The right nutrition is essential for all these steps in the recovery process. By adding the right foods during this time, you can recover and get back to your daily workouts.
Protein is essential for your body, and it can help aid in the repair of your muscles. When you have an injury, you want to rest your injured body part. However, that can lead to a decline in muscle mass and strength. One way to fight that loss is by adding more protein to your diet. Protein is even known to cut down on the inflammation that slows down the recovery process.
As you start the training process again, you will need that extra protein to help with muscle rebuilding. Add protein-rich foods, including poultry, beans, tofu, meat, and nuts into your diet. These foods will increase your protein intake. While red meat is full of protein, you will want to stay away from a large amount as it can increase inflammation. For example, research has shown that you need adequate protein throughout four meals to stimulate muscle growth. If you are looking for the best way to get in some protein, consider having a snack before bed. You can stay full during the night and help the muscle-building process as you sleep.
Fruits and Vegetables Rich in Vitamin C
Collagen helps maintain your tendons, skin, muscles, and bones. By adding more vitamin C into your diet, your body will begin to make more collagen. Vitamin C is the perfect way to rebuild that injured tissue. In addition to that, this vitamin has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and it can speed up your recovery by reducing the inflammation. The good news is that vitamin C can easily be added to your daily diet. You can find high amounts of vitamin C in red and yellow bell peppers, citrus fruits, dark leafy greens, broccoli, tomatoes, and berries. If you are one of those people who cannot consume vitamin C-rich foods, take supplements to add these benefits to your diet.
If you have a broken bone, it makes sense to consume more calcium in your diet. Your bones and teeth need that calcium to get stronger. Calcium also plays a role in the signaling of nerves and muscle contractions. If you are experiencing tightness in your muscles, you may be lacking some calcium. This nutrient is vital to your body even when you are not recovering from an injury. Make sure to add some calcium-rich foods in your meals, including broccoli, almonds, sardines, dairy products, leafy greens, and calcium-fortified plant-based milk.
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Along with calcium, you need the right amount of vitamin D in your body. Vitamin D helps you to absorb that vital calcium throughout your system. When you pair it with calcium, you can recover quicker from a broken bone. An increase in your vitamin D intake will boost your chances of a speedy recovery after surgery.
In some studies, the high levels of vitamin D have been shown to improve the strength recovery after an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) surgery. While only a few foods naturally contain vitamin D, you can get this vital nutrient by spending some time in the sunshine. Some people do not get enough sunlight, so they need the help of a daily supplement to get their required vitamin D dosage. If you are looking for food to add to your meals, you might want to consider yogurt. It is a good source of calcium, and in some cases, it can be fortified with vitamin D. You can get two essential vitamins in one food.
When you are in the early stages of recovery, you will probably be immobilized or have limited use of particular body parts. One concern for many people is the increase of unwanted body fat. If you can’t move around, you might be tempted to rest and eat more. However, you do need to consume fewer calories as you are on the mend. When you add more fiber to your meals, you can reduce the number of calories throughout the day. Both protein and fiber can fill you up without feeling those hunger pains. Vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and fruits are all fiber-rich foods. They are the perfect snacks to add between your meals. As a bonus, many of these foods also contain other vital nutrients to boost your recovery, including zinc, vitamin C, and magnesium.
While on the mend, many people make the mistake of severely reducing their calories. When you do this, you run the risk of promoting more muscle loss and reducing the wound healing process. In any case, that can hamper your ability to make a quick recovery. During this time, you need to keep your focus on maintaining a healthy weight. Once you have completed your recovery, you can start the process of losing that extra body fat.
One other benefit that many people overlook is the fact that pain medication can cause constipation. By adding fruits, whole grains, and vegetables, you can naturally alleviate some of the stomach pain caused by pain medications.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
When an injury occurs, the first step of recovery always includes some type of inflammation. Inflammation is a natural part of the process as it is needed for you to heal properly. But this inflammation is not always beneficial, especially if it occurs for too long. In these cases, the swelling may slow down your recovery process. You can reduce any excess inflammation by eating more omega-3 fats. These healthy fats can be found in chia seeds, flaxseeds, fish, and walnuts.
Omega-6 fats are known to increase inflammation throughout the body, so you will want to avoid cottonseed, sunflower, canola, and corn oils. When your intake of omega-3 fats is low with a high intake of omega-6, it can also cause an increase in body inflammation. Some studies are even showing a link between omega-3 supplements and the creation of muscle protein. These supplements can also promote concussion recovery and reduce the loss of muscles. However, you should know that a high intake of omega-3 supplements can reduce your ability to regain that muscle mass, so you should try to get your primary source of omega-3 from natural foods.
Zinc can be beneficial for wound healing and tissue repair. Many proteins and enzymes are comprised of zinc. If you are not getting enough zinc in your body, you will see a delay in the wound healing process. Zinc is found in animal-based foods like fish, meat, poultry, and dairy. Dried beans, peas, nuts, seeds, and whole grains are also excellent sources for zinc.
You are better off getting your zinc from natural sources since high doses can cause vomiting and nausea. With high levels of zinc, it also competes with copper for absorption in the body. You could be putting yourself at risk for copper deficiency. If you already have adequate amounts of zinc in your system, additional supplements will not speed up the healing process. Your body will be better suited to absorb zinc by adding natural foods to your diet.
Your joints contain a natural substance known as glucosamine. This substance is known to help create ligament, cartilage, and tendons. Throughout your body, you are naturally creating glucosamine. However, you can always increase your levels by adding some supplements to your diet. These supplements are usually made from fermented corn or the shells of shellfish. Some research is showing that those with arthritis can reduce joint pain with the help of glucosamine supplements.
Healthy adults can also benefit from supplements too. With just 1 to 3 grams of glucosamine per day, you can reduce deterioration in the joints. Some studies with animals also showed that daily glucosamine tablets sped up the bone reformation process. Before you add this supplement to your diet, there are some things that you should know. Anyone with allergies to shellfish needs to avoid the supplement. Pregnant women and those with asthma, high blood pressure, and diabetes also should consult their medical professional before adding more glucosamine into their diets.
When you think of creatine, you might believe it is only used for bodybuilders. However, creatine is another substance with healing properties. You can find creatine naturally in poultry, fish, and meat. Many bodybuilders use creatine as it can help produce extra energy during an intense workout. Your body also naturally produces up to 1 gram of creatine per day. Creatine is one of the most popular supplements used to improve performance in sports and increase your body’s muscle mass.
Those same benefits can help you quickly recover from an injury. Some studies have reported that creatine supplements can help you to gain muscle and strength after you have been immobilized from an injury. Another study showed that creatine supplement users lost less muscle mass in their upper body after a period of immobilization. For the best results, it is recommended that you should take 5 grams of creatine about four times a day.
Supplements for Recovery
If you are recovering from bone fractures, you will need more than vitamin D and calcium into your diet. You should consider adding additional supplements to speed up the recovery process. Vitamin K1 and K2 can send calcium to your bones as it improves the strength in that area. You can find these vitamins in leafy greens, prunes, Brussel sprouts, egg yolks, and organ meats. Silicon can also aid in the formation of bones, and it is found in everyday foods like carrots, cereals, and green beans. Magnesium is another essential nutrient to add more firmness to new bones. Kidney beans, milk, lentils, brown rice, and almonds all have high levels of magnesium for healthier bones.
Once you have added these vital vitamins, it is crucial to retain them in your system. Boron can increase the retention of calcium and magnesium, and it is commonly found in prunes. Grapefruit, oranges, and cantaloupe all contain inositol, which also improves calcium absorption. Finally, everyone recovering from a broken bone, a strained muscle, or surgery needs essential amino acids. Arginine is necessary as it produces nitric oxide. This compound can speed up the recovery process. You can find arginine in everything from seafood, nuts, meat, dairy, poultry, and oatmeal.
When you are on the road to recovery, you want to do everything to speed up the process. While you are immobilized, it is critical to incorporate the best foods into your diet. By eating the right foods, you can add those crucial nutrients to fight off muscle loss, increase tissue repair, and strengthen your bones. Not only will these foods help with recovery, but they can assist you in getting back to the same fitness level before your injury or surgery.
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