While sports injury pain can vary in intensity, it’s more than likely that you’re eager to recover quickly. Of course, booking in with a Physiotherapist, GP or an Orthopaedic Specialist is the easiest way to do this. Naturally, they will provide you with a diagnosis and begin your treatment.
The right diet could minimise recovery time by reducing inflammation and increasing cellular regeneration. See my Six Top Nutrition Tips below:
1. Foods that Contain Plenty of High Quality Protein
Protein is the nutrient that reinforces your body’s muscle tissue. When you suffer a sports injury and can’t manoeuvre a certain body part, it inevitably loses mass. Eating the right amount of protein can reduce the risk of losing a significant amount of muscle mass. Aim for good quality sources of protein such as organic grass-fed beef, organ meats, chicken, fish, eggs, organic non-GMO tofu, lentils, beans.
2. Grass-fed Bone Broth or Organic Chicken Broth
The only true food sources of type one collagen are bones, tendons, and connective tissue. Since we don’t chow down on bones in their whole form, they must be boiled and simmered into a broth, or turned into powdered supplement. Eggs and egg whites also contain a form of collagen with a similar structure. And certain vitamins and minerals can help stimulate collagen production, such as silica and vitamin C. Your body naturally produces collagen. But once we hit age 25, our collagen production begins to decline. This means that wound healing and injury recovery time can take longer the older you get. Type one collagen also makes up our bones, tendons, connective tissue, and muscles. That is why it’s one of the most important nutrients for maintaining bone and joint health, as well as speeding up recovery time for strains, sprains, and other soft tissue injuries. Purchase some beef bone broth powder from here (use discount code "KEY20" to get 20% off) or make your own here.
3. Fruits and Vegetables With Vitamin C
One of the main goals during sports injury recovery is reducing inflammation. This is essential to improving range of motion, and restoring your body’s original state. Fortunately, Vitamin-C can help you accomplish that. Vitamin C can also stimulate collagen production. The obvious place to start is with citrus fruits – such as oranges and grapefruits. Bell peppers, spinach, broccoli, tomatoes, and kiwi also have plenty of vitamin C or look at supplementing with lypo spheric vitamin c.
4. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
The healing process is governed by fatty acids of the omega-3 and omega-6 series. In order to facilitate healing, these fatty acids have to be present in significant amounts in the affected tissues before the trauma occurs. This is particularly relevant for marine omega-3 fatty acids, which are often running low due to insignificant intake of seafood, common in individuals practicing sports. Omega-3 fatty acid may act as a regulator of membrane structure and function, intracellular signaling pathways, transcription factor activity, and gene expression and reducing inflammation. Due to these functions, omega-3 may influence exercise-induced injuries/inflammation in athletes, thus, may influence their health and allowing training. I would recommend including these omega-3 rich foods into your diet: salmon, cold water fatty fish such as mackeral and herring, cod liver oil, oysters, anchovies, flaxseeds, walnuts and chia seeds. If you do not consume enough of these foods then supplementing with a good quality Omega-3 (EPA/ DHA) would be beneficial such as this one. Contact me here if you would like to order some.
5. Zinc-Rich Foods
Like protein, zinc is also instrumental in helping you heal wounded tissue. Failing to ingest enough zinc can prolong the healing process. You can get a blood test done via self- test at labs or request through your GP to see if you have an adequate amount of zinc in your body. Alternatively there are some great functional mineral test (like the hair mineral test) that can test for over 17 different minerals and heavy toxins too. Contact me here if you would like to find out more information. Common examples of zinc-rich foods include meat, fish, shellfish, and whole grains. Nuts are also a great choice.
6. Vitamin D/Calcium
Calcium plays a very important role in helping to heal broken bones. However, it’s also crucial for helping the brain to signal nerves and contract muscles properly.
Some examples of calcium-heavy foods include broccoli, almonds, okra, and of course: dairy products.While there are few foods that contain naturally-occurring vitamin-D, it can actually benefit your recovery. Vitamin-D enhances the body’s ability to absorb and process calcium for recovery, in addition to helping independently. Vitamin-D is one of the best methods for natural pain management. Also, these nutrients can help to prevent sports injuries in children. Make sure you are getting at least 20-30 minutes of sunlight exposure daily or supplement with a good quality Vitamin D + K2. I recommend this spray here. Contact me if you would like to order some.
The overriding nutritional recommendation for injured exercisers should be to consume a well-balanced diet based on whole, minimally processed foods or ingredients made from whole foods. Again it must be emphasised that deficiencies of these nutrients, and others, will impair wound healing and slow recovery. Eat fewer pro-inflammatory foods like processed foods that are high in saturated and trans fats, vegetable oils and refined sugar.
Nutrition’s important, but remember: your diet is only one piece of the puzzle. In order to recover quickly, without the likelihood of a recurring injury, you need to contact your GP, Physiotherapist or Orthopedic Surgeon.