Nutrition for Injuries: Best Foods for Recovery

Mar 10, 2022

ProActive Physical Therapy

by ProActive Physical Therapy

Suppose you’ve experienced significant aches and pain from an accident. In that case, you know just how serious an injury can be — but there are several ways that you can take control of your recovery. One of the best ways to do so is by implementing a diet that’s focused on injury recovery.

How Nutrition Impacts Injury Recovery

Many people think about injury recovery and immediately imagine physical therapy sessions and rehabilitation routines. These are certainly important components of injury recovery, but diet can be just as important — and it’s often overlooked!

How can your diet help you overcome an injury and achieve a speedy recovery? Nutrition is key in giving your body the resources it needs to heal.

Reduce Inflammation
When you are injured, it will trigger several responses, including an overall inflammation of the body. This happens as your body releases damaged cells, which stimulates an inflammatory immune response. This is a natural process, but if your body remains in a state of inflammation, it will seriously thwart your ability to heal. Anti-inflammatory foods are thus an important part of the injury recovery process.

Minimize Muscle Loss
You’re likely to be less mobile when you’re recovering from an injury, and science shows that your muscles can begin to atrophy after you’ve been inactive for only two weeks. When you’re nursing an injury that demands bed rest — or you’re simply not ready to return to your typical exercise routine — your diet is the best defense against this problem. You need to consume protein and amino acids to maintain your muscle mass and avoid atrophy.

Manage Treatment Side Effects
If you underwent surgery as a result of your injury, you might be dealing with side effects from the procedure. Common side effects include nausea, constipation, and a loss of healthy gut bacteria from post-surgical antibiotics. These issues can be mitigated by adopting a liquid diet that includes prebiotics or probiotics.

Array of anti-inflammatory foods

Best Foods for Injury Recovery

Now that you know how important your diet is…what exactly should it include? There are plenty of different foods that can help you recover from an injury, and these are some of the most beneficial.

Anti-Inflammatory Foods
Anti-inflammatory foods are one of the most essential components of an injury recovery diet. Some great foods to choose for this purpose include:

  • Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries
  • Fatty fish such as salmon, sardines, or anchovies
  • Broccoli
  • Avocados
  • Mushrooms
  • Peppers
  • Grapes

In addition to these foods, you can enjoy drinks such as green tea and cook with extra virgin olive oil for an additional dose of anti-inflammatory power. Integrating turmeric supplements into your diet can also have an anti-inflammatory effect.

Protein-Rich Foods
Protein contains essential amino acids that are important to preventing muscle atrophy and sustaining your energy levels. Luckily, there are plenty of foods that offer an abundance of protein to help you fuel your recovery:

  • Eggs
  • Almonds
  • Oats
  • Greek yogurt
  • Broccoli
  • Cottage cheese
  • Lean beef
  • Tuna
  • Quinoa
  • Chicken breast

These foods can give you the strength your muscles need even when you’re forced to be sedentary due to an injury.

Post-Surgery Foods
Some surgeries will require a liquid diet as you recover, but even if it isn’t a requirement, it can be beneficial for several reasons. Smoothies are an optimal option for alleviating constipation and nausea that often follow surgery. Additionally, they can serve as a nutritional powerhouse, making it easy to pack in the prebiotics and probiotics that you may need. Some other great smoothie ingredients for injury recovery include:

  • Greek yogurt
  • Berries
  • Turmeric powder
  • Fresh fruits
  • Vegetables

Mix in as many healthy ingredients as possible for a meal replacement that will help you recover.

How Nutrition Impacts Injury Recovery

Nutrition and injury recovery go hand in hand. With the right diet and recovery plan in place, you can get back to your life and reclaim your health. In addition to diet, you can benefit from physical therapy to help you regain movement and combat muscle loss. To learn more or make an appointment, give us a call or reach out online.

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