Here are some lifestyle changes you will need to make when recovering from an injury
Nobody wakes up hoping to hurt themselves. From car accident injuries and workplace cuts and bruises, to bathroom falls and sports fractures, breaking or tearing some part of your body isn’t something worth looking forward to. But if it does happen, it’s important that you do everything possible to restore your physical well being quickly. That cannot happen if your eating isn’t right.
After an injury, your focus is no longer just about a balanced diet but rather fueling repair and battling inflammation. The more severe the injury, the more crucial the type of diet you take becomes. For example, if you are recovering from major surgery, your nutritional needs will be much higher than if you are healing from tendonitis.
The following are some invaluable tips that could drastically increase the speed at which you can get back to your normal daily routine.
- Increase Intake of Anti-Inflammatory Foods
When your body senses an ongoing attack by pathogens, it initiates an inflammatory reaction to contain and destroy the invader. This inflammatory response is responsible for repair to tissue damage and the healing of cuts. However, if this state of inflammation is sustained for too long, it becomes counterproductive and leads to swelling, pain and exacerbates injury.
You need anti-inflammatory foods such as vegetables, fruits, chia and flaxseed to keep inflammation within optimal levels. Similarly, cut down on foods that worsen inflammation such as refined sugars, refined oils, saturated fats and processed meats.
- Don’t Slash Your Calorie Intake
In the wake of an injury, cutting back on your calories may seem like the logical thing to do. After all, you are probably not as active as you normally are. The logic is that the excess calories would only increase the fat in your body. That’s not quite right, though.
Your body repairs itself off the nutrients you ingest. So keep your calories at normal levels to ensure healing nutrients are available as needed. What’s more, healing speeds up your metabolism.
Muscle protein synthesis (the process through which muscles and tendons heal after a workout) is an energy-intensive mechanism. Serious injuries such as fractures may require as many calories as an intense workout. If you cut down on calories because you are fixated on avoiding weight gain, you’ll be impeding the speed and quality of your healing.
- Priority Calorie Quality
We may be accustomed to focusing on calorie-count, but not all calories are created equal. Many athletes, for instance, will simply reach for whatever will satisfy their minimum calorie intake and keep their energy high. Post-injury though, you cannot afford such random consumption.
Instead, prioritize meals that are not only high in calories, but also deliver the minerals and vitamins you require to fill and heal you. That also means eating food rich in protein, fiber and colorful phytonutrients.
- Increase Your Proteins
Proteins are necessary for building muscle mass and repairing muscle tissue after a workout. The same protein synthesis that occurs to restore tissue health post-exercise is the same one that heals injury. Ergo, you need to up your proteins to accelerate the recovery process. Protein also helps repair and build collagen, strengthen the immune system, and of course, reduce hunger.
Target a minimum of 20 grams of protein during each snack and meal. Plant proteins such as legumes, beans, chia seeds, hemp seeds and organic soy are ideal along with chicken, fish, eggs and low-fat dairy products. Stay away from any processed meats and avoid red meat as much as possible since these can worsen inflammation.
- Feed on Healthy Fats
You need fat in your diet. When you are healthy and rigorously active, you can afford to not be excessively picky on your fat sources. If you are injured, though, the question of what fats you are taking becomes much more important.
Fuel your body with unsaturated fats like flaxseed and chia seeds. Other sources containing the invaluable omega-3 oils include sardines, salmon, avocados and nuts.
The composition of your meals can greatly improve your healing from injury. Apply these tips to ensure your healing is not inhibited by your diet.