There are many facets to a speedy recovery from an injury or illness. From physical therapy to medicine to your diet, everyone wants to improve as fast as possible. In honor of National Nutrition Month, here are 4 ways that your diet can affect that recovery process.
Inflammation is the true enemy
Inflammation can be a huge hindrance in the recovery of soft tissue injuries like a sprain or tear. In those soft tissue injuries, reducing inflammation becomes the number one objective. Diets high in green leafy vegetables, such as spinach and Swiss chard, are dense in vitamins like A, C and K as well as anti-inflammatory flavonoids. Blueberries and pineapple also pack a powerful antioxidant punch that can fight inflammation and help you speed your way to recovery.
It’s not the time to drastically change your caloric intake
Contrary to what you might think, although your exercise levels have taken a drastic hit due to injury, it is not necessarily a good idea to cut calories. Your body needs both macro and micro nutrients in order to heal and you will only get those from eating. Injuries can also increase your metabolism by anywhere from 15-30% in order to facilitate the healing process. Focus on healthy foods and those that will help reduce inflammation to keep you on the fast track to recovery.
Fruits and veggies are the real MVP
Louder for the people in the back: fruits and veggies help inflammation and facilitate healing! Beyond their ability to cut down on inflammation they can also improve blood pressure and lower cholesterol levels. The healthier you are, the faster your body will be able to repair the damage done by injury or surgery.
I scream, you scream, your muscles scream for protein
One of the biggest struggles in recovery can be the maintenance or recovery of muscle mass. Just as protein is crucial for rebuilding damaged fibers after a grueling workout, it is also needed to repair and protect muscle after injury and surgery. However, your intake of protein does not include increasing your intake of red meat. Red meat can actually hinder recovery as it is known to be inflammatory. Stick to lean meats like chicken, pork, and fish.
Along with doctor’s orders and physical therapy, your diet is a crucial step in the healing process. However, maintaining and having a healthy diet isn’t just helpful after you’re injured. The healthier you are before your injury or surgery, the faster your healing will be.