Nutrition plays a key role in injury repair. While you must take your doctors advice to rest, put ice on it and take the prescribed medication, you must pay attention to your diet and adjust it accordingly. A diet focused on healing will boost your immune system, improve collagen deposition, and speed up the return to normal function.
All injuries have the same consistent pattern of repair which consists of 3 main phases: inflammation, proliferation, and remodeling.
- Phase 1 – Inflammation: This phase lasts up to 5 days post tissue injury and up to 3 weeks post bone injury. It helps clear out injured tissue or bone debris.
- Phase 2 – Proliferation: After inflammation, this phase last for 2-3 weeks in case of tissue injury and for 10-12 weeks in case of a bone injury. This is when your body form temporary replacement tissue, that are weaker than the previously injured tissue, but it's enough to provide structure and function.
- Phase 3 – Remodeling: After proliferation, remodeling comes in place to form new tissues, just as strong as the original tissues and it can last up to 2 years, and even longer in case of a severe bone injury.
A diet rich in monosaturated fats and omega 3 fats will be anti-inflammatory, and if you already have a good intake of it in your diet, you have a balanced inflammatory profile already. In order to further aid your anti-inflammatory process you need to balance your fats and omega 6/3 ratios. Increase your intake of olive oil, avocados, flax seeds, and mixed nuts to balance your fats. To balance your omega 6 and 3 fats you need to add 3-9g of fish oil each day to reduce omega 3 fats like corn oil, sunflower oil, or soybean oil.
Foods That Manage Inflammation
Certain foods and herbs are beneficial in managing inflammation. Make sure you include these in your meals during the inflammation stage, to help speed up the process and get your body into the next phase of recovery and repairing.
The active ingredient curcumin found in turmeric is responsible for the anti-inflammatory effects of turmeric. It is present in curry powder as well, which is a great way to start adding it to your meals. Make sure you get 400-600mg of turmeric extract 3 times a day to manage inflammation.
Famous for inhibiting the activity of certain inflammatory enzymes, it has also a great impact on macrophage function. You can supplement with 600-1200mg a day of aged extract, or you can eat more fresh garlic for your recommended intake.
This anti-inflammatory compound is a pineapple extract, which is best known for its digestive properties. But it's also anti-inflammatory and analgesic. Aim for 500-1000mg a day to reap the benefits.
Certain fruits and veggies are very high in anti-inflammatory flavanoids. Blueberries, grapes, green tea extracts, citrus extracts like heperedin and naringin are great to help you go through the inflammatory phase. Additionally, you can reap the same anti-inflammatory benefits from hot tea, cocoa, and red wine.
It is commonly known that sports activities require a lot of energy, due to the activity's energy cost. So that means meeting your daily calorie intake demanded by an active performance. Under eating increases the risk of injuries, bone fracture, ligament tears, and so on. During recovery, you need to increase energy, and you can do that by eating enough calories to give your body enough nutrients to help repair the damaged tissues. Of course, if you are a high-performance athlete you will eat significantly less than during your active athletic phases.
- Eat every 2-4 hours.
- Make sure each meal contains complete protein from lean meats, lean dairy, eggs, or protein supplements.
- Each of your meals and snacks must contain 1-2 servings of veggies and fruit.
- Get your carbs from whole grains, whole oats, yams, beans, rice, quinoa. Don't over indulge in starches during your recovery phase though!
- Get your daily intake of good fats from avocados, olive oil, mixed nuts, etc. And make sure you ad 3-9g of fish oil to your diet.
- Avoid vitamin E during recovery because it slows down healing.
- Make sure you ask your medical care provider to prescribe your daily intake of vitamins A, B, C, D, as well as calcium, copper, iron, manganese, magnesium and zinc.
- To help preserve lean body mass and accelerate collage deposition, consult your medical care provider to prescribe your recommended combination of arginine, HMB, and glutamine.
These tips can help you speed up your recovery from an injury through nutritional strategies, but of course, you need more than that to aid your recover, so make sure you consult your physician to provide you with the adequate treatment for your level of injury. Your treatment will vary according to the severity of your injury and your sensitivities to different compounds that may be used in your treatment.
If you're faced with any kind of injury, make sure you do rest, put ice on it and follow your physicians prescription. But find a way to be proactive, especially with your nutrition and therapy for recovery. This way your healing will be rapid and efficient.