The Best Foods to Speed up Recovery from an Injury

Healing from a sports injury can be quite painful and it often takes a lot of time to get back on the feet. However, the consumption of numerous foods and supplements can help you speed up your recovery. Here is a list of those foods and supplements. 

Fibre-Rich Foods

In most cases, to get fully recovered from an injury you need to be ready for immobilization or limited use of the body part that has been injured. If you’re not careful about what you’re eating during the period of immobilization, you could end up gaining unwanted body fat. That is why it’s important that you compensate for it by eating slightly less.

One of the most efficient ways you can reduce your calorie intake is by consuming foods that have high amounts of fiber. Fiber-rich foods, as well as foods rich in protein, will allow you to consume less food without feeling hungry.

Some of the foods that are rich in fiber are vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. Eating these types of foods will help you feel full for a longer period of time after meals. Apart from that, fiber-rich foods you choose to eat can also be high in numerous other nutrients that are crucial for a faster recovery. Some of those nutrients are magnesium, zinc, and vitamin C. 

However, you need to know that there are negative sides to reducing calories. Make sure you are not restricting calories too severely since this can end up reducing wound healing and promoting muscle loss and that is what you want to avoid if you want to recover from an injury as soon as possible. 

All in all, if you attempt to lose body fat before the injury, think about postponing your weight loss efforts. What you should do instead is maintaining your body weight until your wound is completely healed.

Fruits and Vegetables Rich in Vitamin C

Vitamin C is vital for fast and healthy injury recovery. It provides your body the nutrients it needs to make collagen, which is responsible for maintaining the integrity of your muscles, skin, bones, and tendons. For this reason, implementing a diet that provides high amounts of vitamin C to your body is crucial. This is how you’ll help your body rebuild tissue as soon as possible after an injury. 

In addition to that, vitamin C can also provide your body with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that can speed up your recovery process. They do it by preventing excessive levels of inflammation.

The great news is that vitamin C is one of the easiest vitamins to get enough of simply by implementing them into your diet.

Foods that contain high amounts of vitamin C are citrus fruits, red and yellow bell peppers, kiwi, dark leafy greens, broccoli, berries, tomatoes, papaya, and mango. 

It’s not yet perfectly clear whether supplements provide any benefits if you already get enough vitamin C from your diet. Nevertheless, taking supplements is always a great option for those who can’t consume enough vitamin C-rich foods on a daily basis.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

After any kind of injury, the first phase your body needs to go through to heal includes some inflammation. That is completely normal. In fact, the inflammatory response is quite beneficial and it needs to happen so that your body can properly heal. 

However, you need to make sure you are keeping this inflammation under control. If it remains too high for too long, it can actually end up slowing down your recovery process. One of the ways you can prevent this from happening is by consuming enough foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These types of fats, that can be found in foods like algae, fish, walnuts, chia seeds, and flaxseeds, have amazing anti-inflammatory properties. 

Another great way for preventing excess or prolonged inflammation symptoms is simply by limiting omega-6 fats. These types of fats can be found in canola, corn, cottonseed, soy, and sunflower oils. If you consume omega-6 fats through these foods, you are most likely going to worsen your inflammation, especially if your intake of omega-3 fatty acids is too low. 

Additionally, what you can also do is implement omega-3 supplements. Many studies have shown that by consuming omega-3 supplements you can help increase the creation of muscle protein, reduce the loss of muscle during immobilization, and promote recovery from concussions.

That being said, you need to remember that taking omega-3 fats from supplements can also reduce your body’s ability to regain muscle mass when you go back to your intense workouts. For these reasons, the better option for you would be to take omega-3 fats from foods rather than from supplements. 

Protein-Rich Foods

One cannot forget protein in this situation, especially since it’s a crucial nutrient when it comes to a building block for numerous tissues in your body and that includes muscles too. 

The human body tends to become immobilized after suffering from a sports injury, as we have already mentioned. The immobilization of the body often leads to a significant decline in strength and muscle mass. This type of loss can be compensated for with protein intake. For that reason, implementing a protein-rich diet can be one of the most efficient ways you can prevent inflammation from getting too bad and intense to the point where it is actively slowing down your recovery process. 

Also, if you choose to slightly increase your protein intake once you decide to start training your injured body part again, it will help you rebuild your lost muscles. This is why including protein-rich foods in your everyday meals is crucial for your recovery. Some of the foods that contain a lot of protein in them are meat, fish, poultry, tofu, beans, peas, nuts or seeds, and so on. Apart from that, you can also choose to implement protein in your diet by adding healthy protein powder to your daily smoothies, protein shakes, or even your breakfast oatmeal.

The way you distribute the protein-rich foods throughout the day also matters. Most studies show that the best way to go about it is to spread your protein intake equally over your meals. This way of implementing protein into your diet is the fastest way to stimulate growth muscle after an injury. It is also suggested that you eat a protein-rich snack before you go to bed since it can enhance your body’s muscle-building process as you sleep.

Zinc-Rich Foods

Then, there’s zinc, which is a component of many proteins and enzymes. That also includes the ones that are needed for tissue repair and growth, as well as wound healing.

As a matter of fact, many studies show that if you’re not getting a recommended amount of zinc intake, you may actually end up delaying your wound healing. That is why you need to consume enough zinc-rich foods like meat, fish, shellfish, pulses, seeds, nuts, and whole grains. 

Some people opt for taking zinc supplements instead to make sure they are meeting their recommendations. However, since zinc competes with copper for absorption, taking too high doses of zinc from supplements can increase the likelihood of copper deficiency, so be careful with that. Just try not to take too much zinc. Either opting for zinc-rich foods or just supplements may be enough.

Vitamin D and Calcium-Rich Foods

Calcium is highly essential and crucial for our bones and teeth. It is also important for muscle contractions and nerve signalling. That is why taking enough calcium in your diet is so important and not just when you’re healing from an injury. Some of the calcium-rich foods are dairy products, leafy greens, sardines, broccoli, okra, almonds, seaweed, and calcium-fortified tofu and plant kinds of milk.

In addition to that, vitamin D is also equally important. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium from the foods you consume. When paired with calcium, vitamin D helps your body recover from bone injuries. Also, it’s important to get enough vitamin D when you’re recovering after surgery. 

There are only a few foods that naturally contain vitamin D. However, your body has the ability to make vitamin D from sun exposure. If you live in places where you don’t get that much sun exposure, you can always get vitamin D through supplements.

Creatine

Creatine is a type of substance that can naturally be found in fish, meat, and poultry. This substance is responsible for helping your body produce energy while you are heavy lifting or doing any intense workouts. The human body can produce about 1 gram of it per day.

This substance has become a very popular supplement that many people use in order to increase muscle mass and improve their performance in various sports. However, that’s not the only reason why creatine can be used. You can also use it to recover from injuries.

One study even shows that creatine supplements can enhance muscle mass gain as well as strength loss during 2-week immobilization. It is proven to be more than a placebo.

Another study has shown that people who supplemented with creatine lost less muscle in their upper body parts during a one-week long immobilization period than those who were given a placebo. 

Both of the studies which came out with positive results provided the creatine supplements in four doses of 5 grams per day. However, keep in mind that there is currently no consensus about creatine and sports injury recovery. There are no studies that have found negative results. 

Glucosamine

Glucosamine is a natural substance that is involved in the creation of tendons, ligaments, and cartilage. It can be found in the fluid that surrounds your joints. 

Your body is naturally capable of producing glucosamine, but you can also increase the levels of it by using supplements. These supplements are often made either from shellfish shells or fermented corn. One research has shown the benefits of this substance for people who have arthritis. Glucosamine can actually decrease joint pain. 

Apart from that, some studies have also shown that people who use glucosamine supplements with 1 to 3 grams of it per day can actually reduce their joint deterioration. In addition to that, even one recent animal study has shown the positive effects of this substance. It showed that taking glucosamine daily after a fracture may speed up bone reformation.

Based on these results, many people choose to take glucosamine supplements in order to reduce their pain after bone and joint injuries. They also use it to speed up the recovery process from fractures. However, we are still waiting for some stronger research results so that we can make definite conclusions about its effects. 

Other Foods Beneficial for Bone Fractures

In addition to all of the foods and supplements we have listed above, here are some additional healthy nutrients you can implement in your diet to speed up your recovery from bone fractures:

Magnesium

Magnesium can help with bone strength and firmness. It can be found in almonds, cashews, peanuts, potato skins, brown rice, kidney beans, black-eyed peas, lentils, and milk.

Silicon

Silicon has a very important role in the early phases of bone formation. Some of the best silicone sources are whole grains and cereals, carrots, and green beans.

Vitamins K1 and K2

 These can direct calcium toward bones and therefore they help improve bone strength. The best sources of these vitamins are leafy greens, Brussels sprouts, prunes, sauerkraut, natto, miso, organ meats, egg yolks, and dairy products from grass-fed cows.

Boron

Boron promotes bone health by increasing calcium and magnesium retention. It’s also enhancing vitamin D’s effect. To get boron, you can eat prunes.

Inositol 

Inositol can help you improve your calcium absorption in bones. It can be found in cantaloupe, grapefruit, oranges, and prunes.

Conclusion

All things considered, there are many foods and supplements you can use to speed up your recovery from sports injuries. Just make sure you are well-informed before using any of these recommended supplements and make sure you are getting just the right, recommended dose.