Most people will have an injury from a sport or movement-related activity at least once in their life. And they can be incredibly frustrating as it prevents you from doing some things you love for a period of time. So what are the best foods for healing injuries? I’m not at all going to say there are foods that will cure your injuries like magic. But they will assist in the healing process. Getting you back to the activity you love sooner rather than later. So let’s look at how good nutrition can help you ‘get back on your feet.’
What type of injury is it – bone or muscular?
First, you have to work out whether it’s a bone injury or a muscular injury. That can impact what macro and/or micronutrients you are going to focus on in your diet.
To begin with, regardless of whether it’s a bone injury e.g. stress reaction or muscular injury e.g. pulled calf muscle it’s important that you have adequate protein intake. Protein will help maintain your muscle mass; help rebuild the muscle; and maintain muscle mass to support the bone in its healing stage and when you get back into your activity.
Best foods for healing injuries and reducing inflammation
Inflammation will occur during the early injury phase. There are some food items that could help to reduce this. High dose Omega-3 supplements or a good intake of oily fish such as salmon can be beneficial. Other anti-inflammatory foods include turmeric, paprika and cinnamon, all of which can be easily added into your meals. High antioxidant foods could also be beneficial to reduce inflammation such as blueberries, cherries, pomegranate, leafy green vegetables and green tea.
For bone injuries, there are certain micronutrients that having an adequate intake of, can assist in bone rebuilding. These are calcium and vitamin D. Both these minerals help make up your bone structure so having adequate intake is important. The best source of calcium comes from dairy products and the best source of Vitamin D is some sunlight! Having a well-balanced diet will also ensure you get all the other important nutrients such as Vitamin K, Magnesium, Zinc and Phosphorus.