Eat Right For Repair And Recovery
Laura Buckley, MS, RD
Registered Dietitian & Wellness Coach
At some point in our lives, we all experience an injury. It may be an unexpected injury caused by an accident or a planned insult such as a surgery. Either way, we all want to heal as quickly and completely as possible. Good nutrition plays a vital role in recovery. As the body heals, it has a greater need for certain nutrients that support the healing process.
Here are some key tips for a speedy recovery and enhanced performance:
Adequate Calorie & Protein Intake
- Ensure adequate calorie and protein intake to provide the building blocks for regenerating tissue and supporting collagen synthesis. Depending on the extent and severity of the injury, calorie and protein needs may be quite a bit higher than normal. Aim to consume 3-4 oz of protein with each meal and 2-3 oz with each snack. Want to know if you’re getting the right number of calories? Watch your weight. A good goal is to maintain your weight as you recover.
Focus On Whole Foods
- Focus on whole foods (foods in, or close to, their natural state) instead of processed foods. Fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains will provide your body with the calories, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein that it needs to heal. Processed foods are likely to be higher in added sugars, salt, and fat that may contribute to the inflammatory process in your body.
Adequate Fluid Intake
- Ensure adequate fluid intake. It is important to stay hydrated to support the healing process. Water lubricates joints and delivers oxygen and nutrients to the damaged tissue. It also helps remove waste that is generated during the healing process. I generally recommend consuming a minimum of 64-80 oz of water per day, but you may need more if you find yourself feeling thirsty or constipated. Water, herbal teas, and seltzer waters are great sources of fluid. Avoid sugary beverages such as sports drinks, soda, and juice.
Antioxidants for Inflammation Management
- Consider antioxidants for inflammation management. Some inflammation is essential for healing, but too much can cause increased pain and delay healing. High-quality antioxidants, such as pycnogenal and bioflavonoids as well as naturally sourced Omega 3 fatty acids can moderate the inflammatory process.
Mind Your Micronutrients
- Mind your micronutrients. Certain vitamins and minerals, such as Vitamin C, Vitamin A, zinc, copper, and calcium are particularly important in times of repair and recovery. You can certainly consume adequate micronutrients from a healthy, well-balanced diet. You may also consider supplementing with a quality multivitamin to cover your bases.
Follow these basic guidelines and you’ll be on your way to fueling your way to a full recovery. Here’s to your health and healing!
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Nutrition as the Foundation for Health and Wellness
by Laura Buckley, MS, RD
March 1, 2018 at 6:00 - 7:00 PM
at ISSA PHYSICAL THERAPY
5 Nutrition Tips to Promote Wound Healing; American Dietetic Association
Weatherwax, D, Weiss, S. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Sports Nutrition