We are here to chat about what foods to consume during injury recovery. The science behind metabolism is extremely involved, so you won’t find that in this blog today. We will highlight how the foods we consume impact our lives and, therefore, how quickly (or slowly) we recover from an injury. 

If you were recently in a car accident, or hurt on the job this list will be helpful to you.

If you are experiencing an injury of any kind, the foods you choose to eat daily are important and could be impacting your recovery process.

We encourage you to chat with your primary care physician about any food-related issues you are experiencing. Plus, we would like to add, this list is not exhaustive. Below, you will find the foods we recommend you add mindfully to your meals each week, following food and drug regulations.

We have found a proper recovery plan (a treatment plan including chiropractic care, physical therapy, and massage therapy), and these top 5 foods can significantly reduce your recovery time. Plus, your whole body–not just your injury–will benefit from it!

Here is the list of the top 5 foods we recommend eating during injury recovery:

Omega 3 Fatty Acids for inflammation from injury

We often hear Omega 3 FA plainly referred to as “fish oil.” You may see these two fatty acids as EPA or DHA on supplement packaging or food containers. Though omega 3 FAs are in most fish oil supplements, you can also find rich sources of these fatty acids in nuts, seeds, and plant oils.

Omega 3 fatty acids contain important structural parts of our cells that help fight inflammation in our bodies. During a time of injury, our bodies are dealing with inflammation regularly. Adding this supplement, or foods rich with omega 3s (EPA/DHA) a few times a week, will help your body combat inflammation.

Zinc to help repair after an injury

Zinc is a nutrient that is effective in the repair of damaged tissue. All proliferating cells (fancy speak for splitting or dividing) require zinc, which means that when you’re injured, you require zinc to ensure that your cells have all the necessary nutrients to repair and rebuild.

You might be asking yourself, “thats great and all, what foods have zinc”?

Great question! Zinc is in nuts and seeds, shellfish, whole grains, eggs, and even red meat.

Vitamin C/D/Calcium for bone support

We grouped all these vitamins and nutrients (vitamin C, vitamin D, and Calcium) because they are all important and naturally occur in some of the same foods.

Research notes, “Calcium plays a significant role in helping to heal broken bones. However, it’s also crucial for helping the brain to signal nerves and contract muscles properly1”. 

This provides insight as to why some foods are even fortified with calcium. 

Now onto the ever-popular Vitamin C and D. These vitamins have anti-inflammatory properties and assist your body in building and maintaining bone, muscle tissue, and tendons.

Additionally, Vitamin D plays an important role in your immune system and brain function. 

Another note on vitamin D; some studies show that vitamin D can help reduce anxiety and stress while boosting your immune system. Injuries can be stressful; if this is a concern for you, please tell your provider at Denver Integrated Spine Center. Also, be mindful that this vitamin could be helpful to you.

Protein (high quality) for overall health and muscle support

Protein is the cornerstone of muscle building and use. During a time of injury–depending on your particular injury–many people experience pain and discomfort, therefore, reducing their movement and muscle use. In these instances, protein intake is needed to maintain muscle and reduce atrophy (wasting or diminishing), according to a recent white paper on recovery in athletes

Additionally, many times the injury itself impacts muscle tissue. If this is the case for you, maintaining a consistent intake of high-quality protein is essential for your muscles to rebuild during recovery!

Leucine to go the extra mile

At Denver Integrated Spine Center, we commit to serving whole-patient health, not simply injuries. We have one more nutrient for you to consider during your injury recovery.

Leucine is one of the BCAAs (Branch chain amino acids) that your body burns for energy during protein metabolism. Often, leucine is recommended for athletes before exercise to assist in muscle use and recovery. 

In injury recovery, Leucine can reduce muscle degeneration (or atrophy, as specified above). 

The addition of BCAAs (leucine included) a couple of times a week can help maintain your muscle tissue while you are recovering!

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That’s all folks! If this was helpful or supportive please share this blog with someone you know. Even better, take a screenshot and tag us on Instagram!

For more injury recovery information and health tips and tricks, consider signing up for our newsletter by clicking on the “Hello Health!” popup on your screen! Upon subscribing, you will receive our very own e-book packed full of how-tos on healthy living.

PS. If you want to see some of these vitamins and nutrients in action, we have tested and perfected this recipe, we have borrowed from Creme de la Crumb. 

Although it already has a name, we call it The Easy-Fix-Injury Meal. 

Check out Dr. Michael’s rendition below. [Be sure to note that he forgot the foil, hah!]

Footnotes:

  1. https://www.nationwidechildrens.org/family-resources-education/700childrens/2018/03/anti-inflammatory-foods-injury-healing-through-nutrition
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5793244/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7468744/#:~:text=During%20rehabilitation%2C%20simultaneous%20carbohydrates%20and,beneficial%20to%20the%20injured%20athlete.