Sports, intensive training, and other forms of exercise are good for the body, but can cause injuries with long-lasting aftermaths. While sports injuries vary in intensity, most sports personnel are eager to recover. Obviously, scheduling an appointment with a qualified orthopedic specialist is the first line of treatment for a speedy recovery. Your orthopedic physician will diagnose your condition and recommend the appropriate treatment.
If necessary, your surgeon will highlight surgical treatment and other necessary interventions. Additionally, orthopedic surgeons, working with trained nurses and nutritionists who have completed their nursing school clinicals, help their patients learn the importance of exercise and diet in recovery. Below are some of the best foods for recovering sports injury patients.
- Foods with plenty of protein
Proteins are the primary nutrients that reinforce body tissues and muscles. If you suffer an injury that immobilizes some parts of the body, there is the inevitable loss of muscle mass. Including the right amount of protein in your diet prevents athletes from drastically losing muscle mass.
Protein in the diet is specifically important when retraining the body, as it helps with muscle growth and development. Protein foods provide amino acids, which are the building block for enzymes, hormones, muscle tissues, cartilage, and bones.
Fortunately, you can include proteins in your diet from many sources. You can rely on chicken with beef occasionally for your proteins. Fish are also a good source of healthy protein. Non-beef foods, such as nuts, beans, and tofu, should also be in your diet.
- Essential fats
Sports injuries, such as an ankle sprain, cause full-blown inflammation. Having essential fats, specifically omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, as part of your diet can control such inflammatory processes. Chia seeds and walnuts are some of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Fish, which is also rich in proteins, has considerable omega-3 acids.
However, note that excessive intake of omega-3 fatty acids can turn disastrous. Opt for foods with these nutrients instead of taking powder supplements. Omega-6 fatty acids, mainly found in oils, also reduce inflammation. Excellent fatty acid sources include sunflower oil, corn oil, canola oil, and coconut oil.
- Calcium and Vitamin D
Calcium plays a vital role in hastening the recovery of broken bones. It also facilitates healthy muscle contraction and brain to nerve signals. Including calcium when recovering heals and strengthens the bones, reducing the risk of strain injuries from high-intensity workouts. Common sources of calcium include okra, broccoli, almonds, and dairy products.
Vitamin D is also beneficial to sports recovery. It improves the absorption rates of calcium in the body. Vitamin D also helps with natural pain management. Some of the few dietary sources of vitamin D include egg yolk, cheese, and fatty fish.
- Vitamin C
One of the critical goals of recovering from sports injuries is managing inflammation. This helps improve range of motion and return to normalcy. Including vitamin C in your diet is crucial for this role. Vitamin C has great anti-inflammatory abilities, which prevent or decrease inflammation. It helps in forming collagen tissues, which improve the strength of tendons, muscles, and bones in the body.
Fresh fruits and vegetables are the best sources of vitamin C. Citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits, spinach, tomatoes, broccoli, kiwi, and bell peppers are excellent sources of vitamin C.
Zinc is another essential mineral that speeds up wound healing. According to physical therapists and nutritional experts, zinc deficiency can significantly lengthen recovery. However, like other nutrients, you should avoid zinc supplements as they can lead to copper deficiency. Key sources of zinc include whole grains, meat, shellfish, and nuts.
You should also consume enough iron during recovery. Iron is an essential component of blood cells and collagen formation. Collagen is typically the tissue that holds parts of the body together. It provides the structure for tendons, muscles, bones, and the skin. Red meat, fish, and eggs contain high amounts of iron.
Ensuring that you hydrate regularly is as important as your choice of nutrients. The body needs a lot of water to sustain the recovery process. You should hydrate sufficiently before, during, and after post-injury exercise routines, especially if you are training in warm conditions or at high levels.
The right diet can reduce recovery time, streamline healing, and help athletes achieve their recovery goals faster. However, taking megadoses of minerals, vitamins, or anti-inflammatories won’t necessarily speed up recovery.
The introduction of large amounts of nutrients and anti-inflammatory agents can deter healing. While it may be frustrating for athletes itching for forthcoming competitions, it is best to adopt a steady and practical approach.
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