It is never fun being injured or having to sit out on the sidelines for several weeks or even months! Fortunately, emerging research has shown that nutrition can be a powerful tool in helping active individuals return to their desired activities quicker
Key nutrients which assist in healing, maintaining body composition and supporting the inflammatory response associated with injuries.
1. Adequate energy intake can reduce injury healing time
Food is a key factor that impacts how quickly an injury can heal. While you may feel that you need to restrict how much food your eating due to your reduced training volume, the healing process requires an increased amount of energy which is provided through eating enough food (calories).
However, this is not to suggest that you should eat as much as you like, it remains important to balance your injury intake in order to prevent excessive weight loss or weight gain.
2. Protein supports muscle maintenance
Protein is a critical nutrient during the healing process. If you are now restricted in the amount of activity that you can do, your body wont be getting the same physiological signals required to build and repair muscle tissue.
Healing requires the synthesis of new proteins. Consuming protein spread evenly across 5-6 meals can support healing and preserve your muscle mass.
Examples of protein rich foods:
· Red meat
· Beans, lentils and tofu
· Dairy products
Total daily protein requirements/intake will vary based upon your weight, activity levels and severity of injury.
3. Omega 3 Fatty-Acids have anti-inflammatory properties
Consumption of anti-inflammatory foods can assist in controlling inflammation which in turn enables quicker healing of the injured site. Anti-inflammatory compounds are primarily found in omega 3 fatty acids.
Omega-3 fatty acids are primarily found in marine based foods. Quantities weekly and smart ways to integrate these sources with your existing diet/lifestyle can be recommended by an Accredited Practising Dietitian.
4. Vitamin D and Calcium are crucial for bone health
Calcium and Vitamin D can play an important part in healing bone injuries. An adequate calcium intake plays a central role in laying down new bone and ultimately supporting bone healing.
Additionally, an adequate dose of Vitamin D can assist with the absorption of calcium.
5. Can collagen supplementation support injury healing?
Recently, collagen supplementation has been found to positively impact ligament (connections from bone to bone) and tendon (connecting muscle to bone) health.
Higher amounts of collagen within the blood can encourage faster re-synthesis of damaged tissue and ultimately enable you to recover and return to the activities you enjoy faster.
A Sports Dietitian can recommend the correct protocol for success
Book a consultation with a sport dietitian here