After a long day at the office, a workout can help you feel like a million bucks. Unfortunately, recovery after an injury may be different. It’s important to eat foods that will supply your body with the proteins and nutrients it needs to repair itself. And the best recovery food is not that which you find in a food store, but that which you harvest from the wild.
A blog post titled “Nutrition for Injury Recovery” is my attempt to sum up the current general consensus regarding nutrition for injury recovery. You’d think that if you want to heal, you’d need to eat enough and eat the right foods, right? However, this is not always the case. Particularly when it comes to recovery from injury, you’ll often see a lot of conflicting opinions and contradictory advice out there. I’ve compiled the best of what I can find in an attempt to help you make the best choice for your specific injury.
Almost everyone will get injured at some point in their life, whether this is a minor accident like a sprain or a serious fracture. When you’re recovering from an injury you’ll want to eat healthy to help your body repair itself and recover faster. Foods that are high in protein and fats are very good for healing bones and muscles and boosting the immune system.
The proper foods and supplements may help you heal faster after an injury. This is crucial, yet it is often overlooked.
Most trainers, coaches, nutritionists, and therapists recognize the importance of diet in injury rehabilitation. However, throughout my travels across the globe, I’ve seen that only a small percentage of people really understand how to utilize food and supplements in this manner.
When a client or athlete has an acute injury, there’s not much else on the menu besides additional water, topical homeopathic creams and gels, and glucosamine/chondroitin combos.
That’s why we’re releasing this five-part video series, which was shot in Loughborough, England, at the 2012 Fit Pro Convention.
We’ll show you how the body heals after an accident in this video series.
Then we’ll go through the diet and supplement regimens we employ to bring wounded clients back in the game faster and more fully.
To learn more, see Part 2 of Nutrition for Injury Recovery by clicking the play button below. (Part 1, part 3, part 4, and part 5 may be found here.) The video lasts about 11 minutes.
Click here to download an audio or video version of this file. Please wait a few minutes for the downloads to complete.
There are three physiological goals.
We may use a three-pronged strategy to find various treatments to assist the healing process along once we understand how it works.
- Nutritional support (and control) of inflammation
- Nutritional assistance for the immune system
- Nutritional assistance for regeneration and anabolism
Let’s begin by discussing inflammation.
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Treating acute injuries requires a delicate balancing act of controlling inflammation while enabling it to perform its vital function.
In the early stages of an injury, don’t attempt to prevent the inflammatory process. For Stage 1 recuperation, it’s crucial.
But don’t exacerbate the inflammation. Excessive inflammation may worsen overall tissue damage, delaying the healing process.
We aim to decrease pain while controlling inflammation in the early stages since it may induce biomechanical compensations and alterations, which can lead to subsequent damage.
However, pain-relieving methods often target inflammation. It’s possible that rushing to get rid of inflammation (and discomfort) too quickly may stifle recovery. It’s a delicate balancing act once again.
Controlling inflammation with dietary fat
A diet heavy in trans-fats, omega-6-rich vegetable oils, and saturated fat is pro-inflammatory (worsens inflammation). Anti-inflammatory foods include monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fats.
The omega-6 to omega-3 ratio in the diet is critical for general inflammation in the body, particularly during typical times of healthy living when we wish to keep inflammation under control.
In these cases, the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio should be somewhere between 3:1 and 1:1, resulting in a balanced inflammatory profile.
Of course, total fat balance is crucial in this situation. The body’s inflammatory profile will appear fairly decent with a healthy mix of saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats (roughly 1/3 of total fat consumption each).
Reduce omega-6 fats and boost omega-3 fats on purpose (specifically fish oil). Collagen synthesis is slowed by high omega 6:3 ratios, while healing is aided by a low 3:6 ratio.
Even while increased omega-3s cause the body to produce an anti-inflammatory response, this reaction does not interfere with repair; rather, it aids damage healing and collagen deposition.
Unfortunately, the precise omega 6:3 ratio, as well as the quantity of fish oil supplementation needed to control inflammation after injury, have yet to be established.
Low dosage fish oil (450 mg to 1 g/day) has proven to have no impact on inflammatory or immunological markers, whereas high dose fish oil (12-15 g/day) has been found to decrease immune cell activity in some populations.
As a consequence, some writers suggest taking 3-9 grams of fish oil per day (salmon oil, sardine oil, menhaden oil, krill oil, etc.).
In addition to the omega 6:3 ratio, increasing nut and seed intake, as well as olive oil consumption, has been found to decrease inflammatory indicators slightly.
A similar mechanism exists between nuts, seeds, and olive oil. The monounsaturated fats in all three include substances that may decrease COX enzyme activity in a moderate way (something these foods share with ibuprofen). But, once again, use caution. A high dosage of any anti-inflammatory medication may stifle initial recovery.
As a result, improve your omega 6:3 ratio by include more beneficial monounsaturated fats and balancing your saturated, polyunsaturated, and monounsaturated fat consumption. Here are a few easy ways to go about it:
To keep your fats in check, do the following:
Consume more olive oil, mixed nuts, avocados, flax oil, crushed flax, and various seeds, among other foods. Each day, consume a portion of each fat source. These meals will counteract the saturated fats found naturally in your protein sources, resulting in a healthy profile without the need of a calculator. (Keep in mind that if you are inactive due to the injury, you may need to decrease total portion sizes.)
To restore your 6:3 ratio, do the following:
Reduce omega-6 fats like maize oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, cottonseed oil, and soybean oil, and replace them with 3-9 grams of fish oil each day. Your omega 6:3 ratio should be taken care of using this approach.
Anti-inflammatory herbs and phytochemicals in the diet
Certain dietary herbs may help control inflammation in addition to maintaining a healthy fat balance.
Turmeric, a ginger-family flowering plant, has long been utilized as an anti-inflammatory and wound-healing agent. Curcumin, the active component in turmeric, is thought to be responsible for some of the benefits. While adding turmeric to meals on a daily basis is an excellent approach, most individuals will find that taking 400-600 mg of supplementary turmeric extract three times per day (or as directed on the product label) is more doable.
Garlic has been found to influence macrophage function and inhibit the inflammatory enzymes cyclooxygenase and lipoxygenase. While consuming more garlic is likely to be beneficial, garlic extracts may be necessary for more quantifiable anti-inflammatory benefits. 2-4 g of whole garlic cloves per day (each clove is 1 g) or 600-1200 mg of supplementary aged garlic extract is usually suggested.
Bromelain is another anti-inflammatory pineapple plant extract. Bromelain is a good anti-inflammatory and analgesic chemical that is best recognized for its digestive effects, but its mode of action is unknown. Bromelain is often administered in dosages of 500-1000 mg per day to treat inflammation.
Boswellia is a kind of tree that has been proven to have anti-inflammatory properties via inhibiting 5-lipoxygenase and perhaps other cytokines. Supplemental Boswellia is usually taken three times a day in 300 mg dosages.
Flavonoids, which may be found in cocoa, tea, red wine, fruits, vegetables, and legumes, can help control inflammation by acting as antioxidants. By altering cell signaling, these potent chemicals are expected to have additional positive effects.
In general, and especially during acute injuries, it’s usually a good idea to consume more flavonoid-rich foods. However, supplements containing quercetin/dihydroquercetin and rutin, as well as blueberry or grape extracts, green tea extracts, citrus extracts (hesperedin, naringin, etc.) and bioflavonoid supplements containing quercetin/dihydroquercetin and rutin, may provide more powerful anti-inflammatory effects.
Again, use care while consuming any of these nutrients. We don’t want to totally inhibit the inflammatory response during the acute stages of damage. Don’t try to prevent inflammation; simply keep it under control.
Don’t take all of these anti-inflammatory pills at once, either. Rather, concentrate on foods that are high in natural anti-inflammatory compounds, such as these:
- Turmeric/curry powder
Supplement only if inflammation becomes a serious/chronic issue. This would very certainly be addressed with your doctor first.
What about nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)?
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) including ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, celecoxib, and others are often used in sports as the first line of defense against acute injury, discomfort, and inflammation. They are available over-the-counter, are easily prescribed by doctors, and help to relieve pain.
However, recent evidence indicates that NSAIDs may slow injury recovery in the long run in certain instances. Celebrex, for example, decreased ligament strength by approximately 32% in rats recovering from injury. The same phenomenon occurred in another research with Celebrex and Indocin.
Although not all studies exhibit similar results, there are enough of them to raise some concerns. As a result, we advise NSAID usage be limited in cases of acute injury or muscular discomfort.
NSAIDs may interfere with muscle strain recovery, weight training adaption, and bone healing in the long run, in addition to interfering with ligament repair. Of course, there are also negative consequences (such as GI bleeding with many types of NSAIDs). Again, the evidence is equivocal, but it seems that NSAIDs should be taken with caution.
When using NSAIDs or other anti-inflammatories for pain relief during an acute injury, use care. In certain instances, the dangers (gastrointestinal issues, lower healing rates, and an unsatisfactory prognosis) may exceed the advantages (pain management).
The cost-benefit analysis of NSAIDs raises the issue of whether any anti-inflammatory therapy is helpful during acute injury. After all, we want the inflammatory response to take place. NSAIDs may also have a detrimental effect on healing since they obstruct a critical stage in the recovery process.
So, why take NSAIDs, fish oil, turmeric, garlic, and other anti-inflammatory supplements in the first place? For starters, they provide outcomes when taken in moderation and at the appropriate times. These chemicals aid in the reduction of pain, the reduction of excessive inflammation (which may harm non-injured tissues in the area), and the aid in the latter phases of injury healing.
As previously said, we aim to control inflammation during an injury rather than completely eradicate it. As a result, we advise using NSAIDs in moderation (if at all) and using nutraceuticals in moderation.
Remember from part 1 that inflammation and healing are both time-consuming processes.
The acute phase of inflammation after a soft tissue or bone injury may continue from the moment of damage to 4 days (soft tissue) or 14-21 days (bone) (bone). We anticipate and want inflammation during this period.
Anti-inflammatory treatments that are more aggressive should be used only after the acute inflammatory phase has passed. These medicines may help keep excessive, chronic inflammation at bay throughout the proliferative and maturation phases, speeding up the healing process.
Today’s takeaways and a wrap-up
That concludes Part 2 of the Nutrition for Injury series.
For the time being, here are some important points.
- Inflammation control, immunological support, and anabolic support are the three dietary objectives for injury healing.
- Inflammation is an important part of the healing process after an injury. It must, however, be controlled. A important approach is to supplement with omega-3 fats, reduce omega-6 fats, and balance saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fat consumption.
- Other foods and nutraceuticals may also assist with inflammation control, as we’ll show you in the next videos. For the time being, let’s move on to part 3: calorie and macronutrient requirements during recuperation.
If you’re a coach or wish to be one…
It’s both an art and a science to guide clients, patients, friends, or family members through healthy food and lifestyle adjustments in a manner that’s tailored to their individual body, tastes, and circumstances.
Consider the Level 1 Certification if you want to learn more about both.
As part of the process of recovering from injury, you can expect your body to heal and repair itself. Impaired nutrition can slow down that process, especially when you get a bad injury or illness. As a result, you could end up getting sick more often, and be forced to take more time off work.. Read more about nutrition for injury recovery and rehabilitation and let us know what you think.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which nutritional food helps healing of injury?
It is best to eat a balanced diet that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.
Does nutrition affect injury recovery?
Yes, it is important to eat a balanced diet.
How can I heal my injury faster?
You can visit a doctor, or you can use a painkiller.
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