Simply put, injury recovery requires a complex interplay between nutrition, strength, and rehabilitation. Luckily, there are many healthy ways to eat after an injury that have been proven to aid in healthy recovery. Here’s a list of the 6 best post-injury diets.
Recovery from injury or illness is a very complex process, especially when interruptions in the diet are involved. Between the physical and mental stress caused by injury, and the stress of the recovery process itself, it can be hard to know what to eat when you are trying to heal. If you have been recovering from an injury recently, or are simply trying to recover from an illness, then the following information will help improve your recovery by showing you a better way to eat.
When you have an injury, the body goes into survival mode. While this is not ideal, it does have its upsides. During this time, the body is very resilient, but also very dependent on the integrity of its joints and muscles to keep things going. After an injury, a rush of hormones, including the hormone erythropoietin, is released into the body. This hormone helps your bone marrow produce more red blood cells, which is important if you are recovering from an injury.. Read more about nutrition for injury recovery pdf and let us know what you think.
The appropriate foods and supplements might help you recover faster after an injury. This is crucial, but it is frequently overlooked.
Most trainers, coaches, nutritionists, and therapists recognize the importance of diet in injury healing. However, throughout my travels around the world, I’ve seen that only a small percentage of people truly understand how to use food and supplements in this manner.
When a client or athlete has an acute injury, there’s not much else on the menu besides more water, topical homeopathic creams and gels, and glucosamine/chondroitin combos.
That’s why we’re releasing this five-part video series, which was shot in Loughborough, England, during the 2012 Fit Pro Convention.
We’ll show you how the body heals after an accident in this video series.
Then we’ll go into the food and supplement regimens we utilize to get wounded clients back in the game faster and more completely.
To learn more, watch Part 4 of Nutrition for Injury Recovery by clicking the play button below. (Part 1, part 2, part 3, and part 5 can be found here.) The video lasts approximately 7 minutes.
Click here to download an audio or video version of this file. Please wait a few minutes for the downloads to complete.
During Healing, You’ll Require a Lot of Micronutrients
Vitamins and minerals are substances that the body needs in little amounts to carry out metabolic activities. They can perform the following functions:
- catalysts are substances that attach to enzymes and help them function more efficiently in the body.
- coenzymes that function in conjunction with other enzymes; or
- substances that are processed directly by themselves
Calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, and zinc, as well as vitamins A, B, C, and D, are all crucial for injury recovery. (Vitamin E supplements, on the other hand, may impede recovery, so avoid them during an injury.)
The role of each vitamin and mineral, on the other hand, is not well understood.
We don’t know if we should just prevent a vitamin/mineral shortage or add supplemental vitamins/minerals for further healing until more study supports their functions.
Rather than going over every vitamin and mineral that could effect injury recovery, let’s focus on the ones that could need extra supplementation.
Vitamin A promotes and supports early injury inflammation, reverses post-injury immune suppression, and aids collagen synthesis by modulating collagenase. Collagen cross-linking is stronger and healing is faster with vitamin A intake, according to studies.
For short periods of time surrounding significant injuries and surgery, 25,000 IU daily is usually indicated. We are, however, concerned about toxicity. It’s usually safer to take 10,000 IU each day for the first 1-2 weeks after an accident.
During the first phase of acute damage, vitamin C boosts neutrophil and lymphocyte activity. It also aids in the formation of linkages between collagen fiber strands, which is vital for collagen synthesis. Collagen fibers form improperly in vitamin C deficiency, and fibrous tissue is weak and adhesion is poor.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and immune system modulator, and studies suggests that it can aid in the recovery of those who have had surgery, injuries, or ulcers. During periods of damage repair, supplement with 1–2 g/day.
Copper is a mineral that aids in the development of red blood cells and helps to build elastin and strengthen connective tissue when combined with vitamin C. During the first few weeks after an accident, 2-4 mg per day is advised.
Zinc is needed by about 300 enzymes in the body and is involved in DNA synthesis, cell division, and protein synthesis, all of which are important for tissue regeneration and repair.
Because zinc deficiency is one of the most prevalent micronutrient deficits, we recommend supplementing 15-30 mg per day, especially during the early stages of wound healing. (If you supplement, make sure to balance copper and zinc, as an excess of one can lead to deficiencies in the other.)
Calcium and iron deficiency, like zinc deficiency, are rather frequent. Athletes who are lacking in calcium and iron, which are necessary for bone health, are more prone to suffer stress fractures.
While these two minerals do not directly contribute to injury healing, they do play a significant role in injury prevention. Calcium and iron should be obtained from entire foods rather than supplements.
Here’s a rundown of vitamin and mineral supplements that aid in the rehabilitation of acute injuries:
- For the first 2-4 weeks after an injury, take 10,000 IU of vitamin A per day.
- 1000-2000 mg vitamin C every day for 2-4 weeks after injury
- 2-4 mg copper every day for 2-4 weeks after injury
- Zinc – 15-30 mg/day for the first 2-4 weeks after an accident
Over 150,000 health & fitness professionals certified
Save up to 30% on the leading nutrition education curriculum in the market
Gain a better grasp of nutrition, the authority to coach it, and the capacity to transform that knowledge into a successful coaching business.
Find Out More
Additional Nutrients That May Have an Impact on the Rehabilitation of an Injury
Supplemental amino acids have a significant impact on damage recovery. Arginine and glutamine become conditionally necessary amino acids when the organism is under stress. These two amino acids, as well as others, hasten the healing process.
This amino acid has a number of functions. It may, for starters, stimulate insulin secretion and IGF activity. Protein synthesis and collagen deposition can be stimulated by these potent anabolic hormones.
Arginine may enhance blood flow to the wounded area and activate macrophages for tissue cleanup by increasing nitric oxide synthesis. Growth factors, cytokines, bioactive lipids, and proteolytic enzymes are all produced and activated by macrophages.
Finally, ornithine to proline conversion may be aided by arginine.
High dose arginine supplementation has been shown to promote collagen accumulation, reduce lean body mass loss, reduce nitrogen excretion, and expedite wound healing in rodents and humans. Human doses have ranged from 15 to 30 g per day, with greater levels having the greatest benefit.
Because supplementary arginine has been found to help with wound healing, and ornithine is arginine’s main metabolite, researchers believe ornithine may have similar effects.
Ornithine’s mechanisms of action in wound healing are similar to those of arginine. Ornithine can be converted to proline, an amino acid that is required for collagen formation. Ornithine supplementation can help burn/trauma patients improve their protein metabolism.
Ornithine has been demonstrated in studies to reduce healing time, boost healing strength, and increase nitrogen retention in trauma/injury circumstances. In these investigations, human dosages were in the 20-30 g/day range (10 g 2-3 times per day), with higher doses having the most benefit.
This amino acid is required for the metabolism of cells with a high turnover rate, such as lymphocytes and enterocytes.
Glutamate requirements rise considerably during hunger, trauma, and sepsis, and glutamine supplementation can reduce morbidity, mortality, and hospital stay in trauma settings. As a result, glutamine has been suggested as a possible aid in wound healing, albeit this has yet to be proven.
However, one study found that giving people 14 g arginine, 3 g HMB, and 14 g glutamine in two divided doses (two doses of 7 g arginine, 1.5 g HMB, and 7 g glutamine per day) for 14 days improved collagen production considerably.
In multiple investigations, HMB, a metabolite of the amino acid leucine, has been found to slow muscle protein degradation while also increasing net protein balance, perhaps leading to increased muscle mass.
HMB also enhances collagen deposition in rodents and improves nitrogen balance in critically injured adult patients, according to study.
One study found that giving 14 g arginine, 3 g HMB, and 14 g glutamine in two divided doses for 14 days significantly boosted collagen synthesis in adults (two dosages of 7 g arginine, 1.5 g HMB, and 7 g glutamine per day).
Local application of amino acids and other nutrients (directly to wounded regions rather than orally) has been found to have distinct advantages.
Amino acids, salts, glucose, B-vitamins, and vitamin C were periodically injected into cylindrical sponges placed near wound regions in mice in one study. Even though they utilized a lesser dosage than the oral therapies, the group getting the medication healed faster than the placebo group.
An observation about amino acids
Before you go crazy on amino acids, keep in mind that many of the studies in this area were conducted on elderly or sick patients. Both suffer from malnutrition.
According to research, approximately half of all hospitalized patients in metropolitan areas show indicators of malnutrition. According to one study, 42 percent of patients who had hip replacements were malnourished. In addition, 40-85% of nursing home residents are malnourished.
These people are not only lacking in micronutrients, but they are also lacking in protein, good fat, and overall calories. As a result, amino acid supplements are likely to erase relative deficits; but, adding more amino acids to a diet that is already nutritious and protein-rich may not be as beneficial.
Of course, this does not rule out the use of amino acid supplements in the treatment of injuries. Many athletes, in fact, may be malnourished, consuming insufficient overall calories and protein. Athletes have also been discovered to have micronutrient deficits.
As a result, the primary goal in such instances is to boost calorie and protein consumption while recovering. Additionally, nutrition coaches should advise athletes to consume a broad, nutrient-dense diet to meet their micronutrient requirements (rather than relying on supplementation).
Supplementing with amino acids can accelerate collagen deposition and damage healing even in those who are well-nourished. The combination of arginine (7 g twice a day), HMB (1.5 g twice a day), and glutamine (7 g twice a day) will likely sustain lean body mass while speeding collagen production and damage repair during injury recovery.
Hyaluronic Acid, Glucosamine, and Chondroitin
Glucosamine, chondroitin, and hyaluronic acid are three substances that have shown promise in controlling long-term pain and inflammation while also preventing joint degradation.
However, much of the study on glucosamine, chondroitin, and hyaluronic acid has focused on treating osteoarthritis. Not everyone agrees that these three chemicals can be utilized to treat athletic injuries.
According to meta-analyses published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, while evidence indicates that these drugs are likely to be beneficial, mixed data and publication bias can cause us to exaggerate the effects. (Of course, “further research is required…”)
These chemicals are unlikely to help with acute injuries since they take time to work — generally a month or more to see significant relief. The notion that these chemicals aid wound healing is based on limited data.
As a result, these chemicals are probably best used for long-term degenerative disorders rather than acute damage repair.
A word about creatine
Creatine supplementation has been linked to cramps and an increased risk of injury, according to some. Creatine, on the other hand, does not appear to contribute to sports/exercise injury, according to the research.
However, there have been a few anecdotal reports from elite athletes suggesting that creatine supplementation may cause hamstring injuries in particular speed/power scenarios. This is not a common occurrence. Nonetheless, it has been reported frequently enough to warrant notice here.
In conclusion, injury recovery is marked by a well-coordinated reaction to the acute trauma.
Inflammation, for starters, helps to eliminate damaged tissues. Cells grow to rebuild the tissue that has been destroyed. Finally, new cells replace the intermediary cells, allowing the repair process to be strengthened and the injury to be resolved.
You can utilize tailored nutritional methods to promote and boost the repair process at any point along the way.
Using a few easy measures, make sure wounded athletes get enough calories and protein:
Every 3-4 hours, eat something.
Complete protein should be present in each meal or snack, such as lean meats, lean dairy, eggs, or protein supplements (if whole food is unavailable).
Fruit and vegetables
1-2 portions of vegetables and/or fruit (1/2 – 1 1/2 cups or 1-2 pieces) should be included in each meal/snack, with a priority on vegetables.
Additional carbs should be obtained from whole grain, minimally processed sources such as whole oats, yams/sweet potatoes, beans and legumes, whole grain rice, quinoa, and other whole grain foods. When the athlete is not exercising (such as when recovering from an injury), he or she should have fewer starches and consume more when training (unless they want to lose fat).
Avocados, olive oil, mixed nuts, fatty fish (such as salmon), flax seeds, and flax oil are all good sources of healthful fats. 3-9 g of fish oil should be included in your diet.
Although the measures outlined above should provide appropriate micronutrition in normal circumstances, the following vitamin and mineral supplements are beneficial during injury recovery:
For the first 2-4 weeks after an injury, take 10,000 IU each day.
For the first 2-4 weeks after an injury, take 1000-2000 mg each day.
2-4 mg/day for the first 2-4 weeks after the injury
15-30 mg/day for the first 2-4 weeks after an injury
In addition to these vitamins, you can reduce inflammation by:
Keeping your fats in check
Consume more olive oil, mixed nuts, avocados, flax oil, crushed flax, and various seeds, among other foods. Each day, consume a portion of each fat source. You’ll likely balance out the saturated fats naturally present in your protein sources by consuming these items, resulting in a balanced profile without having to get out the calculator.
Keeping your 6:3 ratio in check
Reduce omega-6 fats including corn oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, cottonseed oil, and soybean oil while increasing 3-9 g of fish oil per day. Your omega 6:3 ratio should be taken care of with this technique.
Anti-inflammatory foods should be included in your diet.
Curry powder/turmeric, garlic, pineapple, cocoa, tea, blueberries, and red wine are among these foods (in small amounts).
Amino acid supplementation
Finally, supplementing with the following amino acids can increase collagen deposition and damage healing even in well-nourished individuals.
7 g, twice a day
1.5 g twice a day
7 g, twice a day
Today’s Takeaways and a Wrap-up
That concludes Part 4 of the Nutrition for Injury series.
For the time being, here are some crucial points.
- Supplementing with vitamins and amino acids, in addition to reducing inflammation and eating enough calories, may drastically speed up the injury recovery process.
- Certain vitamins and minerals (A, C, copper, zinc) can aid healing, particularly when taken in higher quantities than suggested. Supplementing with arginine, HMB, and glutamine can also help.
- While the tactics discussed in this video series may appear complex at times, in part 5 of the video series, we’ll break things down even further and provide two very precise injury healing regimens. These are simple to put into practice and incredibly powerful.
If You’re a Coach or Wish to Be One…
It’s both an art and a science to coach clients, patients, friends, or family members through healthy food and lifestyle adjustments in a way that’s tailored to their individual body, tastes, and circumstances.
Consider the Level 1 Certification if you want to learn more about both.
This is my top recommendation for those who are dealing with injury recovery. It’s a total game changer, especially if you do the program as it’s laid out in the book. I have spent the last month leading up to my race collecting data from over a dozen people who have used this program post injury, and I am excited to share the results with you today!. Read more about protein intake injury recovery and let us know what you think.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which nutritional food helps healing of injury?
The best food to help healing of injury is a diet rich in fresh vegetables, fruits, and lean proteins.
Does nutrition affect injury recovery?
Yes, nutrition has a significant impact on the speed of recovery. A diet high in protein and carbohydrates can help to speed up healing time.
How can I heal my injury faster?
The best way to heal your injury faster is to rest it for a day or two and then start using the affected body part again.