Suffering from an injury cannot only be painful but can also get in the way of your job, livelihood, and personal health. In this article, we are going to discuss the ten best nutrition tips that can help a speedy recovery after an injury.
In England and Wales, a personal injury claim is filed 24,589 times every year. These can range from minor trips and falls to much more serious incidents resulting in life-changing injuries.
Suffering an injury can not only be painful but can also mean putting your life on hold due to the need for recuperation and, in some instances, physiotherapy sessions. Depending on the injury, recovery can take weeks, months or even years to get back to normal.
However, it is possible to speed up the process through gentle exercise and the right diet to speed up the recovery. Keep reading to find out the top 10 nutrition tips that experts advise for recovery after an injury.
Proteins, or macronutrients, are packed full of amino acids, which are essential for healthy tissues and muscles, and can be found in a number of foods. This includes eggs, meat, fish, dairy products and pulses, such as kidney beans and chickpeas.
For a healthy diet, protein should make up between 10 and 35 percent of our daily calories as standard. Following an injury, consuming extra protein can help to aid recovery by activating synthesis pathways in the body, which are able to remodel tissues and muscles.
Creatine is an organic compound which is made by the kidney and liver and is activated by the consumption of animal proteins, such as red meat and fish. Studies show that Creatine plays a major role in tissue repair, as well as increasing the anabolic potential of insulin. It is, therefore, a great tool for recovering from an injury.
While Creatine occurs naturally, this is usually in fairly small amounts and, therefore, many people choose to add a Creatine supplement to their diet during their recuperation in order to accelerate the process. Should you decide to go with the supplement option, always make sure that you buy these from a reputable supplier.
When we hear the word ‘fat’ associated with diet, we automatically think of this as a bad thing; however, there are plenty of good fats. These are not only essential for our general health but are also great for helping our bodies get over an injury.
‘Good fats’ help to combat inflammation and swelling, thereby speeding up the process of recovery. These fats can be found in many foods, including olive oil, fish, avocados and nuts and seeds. Even adding a handful of seeds or nuts to a meal can help to reduce recovery time for many injuries.
A whopping 60% of the human body is made up of water, so it goes without saying that keeping ourselves topped up is vital for our physical and mental health. Because of this, nutritionists recommend staying hydrated by drinking between six and eight glasses of liquid per day. This can include water, low-fat milk, tea, coffee and sugar-free cordial drinks.
Drinking plenty of water can boost anti-inflammatory systems, speed up the elimination of waste products, and help to heal damaged tissue. If drinking eight glasses of water a day seems like a bit of a tall order, you can also purchase special hydration gummies to supplement your water intake.
- Digestive Enzymes
Whilst the name may not sound particularly appetising, digestive enzymes are essential for absorbing and assimilating nutrients. When we suffer from an injury, our body’s demand for essential nutrients can increase by up to 50%, meaning that the digestive tract has to work much harder to process these nutrients.
Increasing your intake of bromelain, which is found largely in pineapple, papaya and trypsin, found in soybeans, kidney beans and peas, can have a positive impact on recovery. You can also, if you prefer, buy bromelain and trypsin supplements.
Zinc is an incredibly powerful anti-inflammatory tool which is key in maintaining muscle mass during periods of inactivity. As such, it is an important weapon in your arsenal when coming back from an injury.
Foods containing zinc include oysters, red meat, poultry, grains and seeds. Adding these to your diet after an injury is a great way of speeding up the recovery process.
As well as adding a tasty and colourful touch to a dish, berries such as blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries are jam-packed with vitamins and nutrients. These have a number of benefits, including anti-inflammatory properties and sleep-boosting melatonin, both of which can significantly boost recovery from injury. Cherries, in particular, are brimming with melatonin which promotes natural sleep, something which is vital for recovery from any illness or injury.
- The Bone Healers
As we get older, our bones become more fragile and tend to mend less quickly. This can be a particular problem in older people suffering bone injuries such as a broken arm or leg. These are injuries which can take a significant amount of time to heal.
While most people know that we need calcium for healthy bones, many aren’t aware that we also need Magnesium and Vitamin D. This holy trilogy of nutrients is an essential part of the healing process for broken and damaged bones.
As such, it’s a good idea to increase your consumption of foods containing these. This includes milk, greens such as spinach, avocados, and even dark chocolate in order to boost bone building for recovery.
This little-known compound is an incredibly effective healer and can help by reducing inflammation, alleviating pain and accelerating recovery. Derived from turmeric, curcumin is available in a topical form which can be applied directly to an injury or as a supplement to be taken alongside a healthy diet. Curcumin can be found in mango, ginger and, of course, turmeric and can be added to dishes like curries for a tasty boost to your recovery.
- Nutrients that can help Joint Injuries
Joint injuries such as fractures, breaks, sprains, and osteoporosis-related incidents are incredibly common and can be debilitating as well as painful. There are a few powerful nutrients which can help to alleviate the pain of these injuries while also promoting faster and more effective healing. Some of these include:
- MSM– a compound which occurs naturally in the body; MSM is great for healing nerve tissue, joints and skin as well as helping with pain.
- Glucosamine– an amino sugar found in prawns, lobster and crabs, glucosamine is a hero for joints and a natural healer.
- Chondroitin– commonly used as a treatment for bone and joint ailments, chondroitin can be found in some kinds of fish but is largely bought as a powder supplement.
Whilst all three of these nutrients can help recovery from an injury, for the best results, all of these should be taken together.
Ready to Have a Speedy Recovery?
When recovering from an injury, we often have to sacrifice doing the things that we love, such as going to the gym, playing sports and even socialising. Rest and recuperation are, however, vital for recovery, and trying to do too much too soon can make the problem worse.
As well as getting plenty of rest, proper nutrition is key to your recovery. Increasing your intake of some or all of the foods mentioned in this article can have a big impact on the effectiveness of your recovery, as well as the time that it takes.
An active lifestyle is extremely important for our physical and mental well-being, and an injury which takes a long time to recover from can have a very real impact. It’s therefore important to add these vital nutrients to your diet not just during recovery from injury and illness but as a regular part of your diet.
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