The body is uniquely qualified to heal itself after an injury. The right nutrition plays a key role in helping the body rebuild muscle, bone, and tissue that have sustained injury. You can help an injury recover faster by making sure you get the right nutrition and supplements so that your body has the energy it needs to devote to this healing process. Since it will need extra energy to direct towards healing, you actually need more calories when injured. The worse the injury, the more calories that are needed.
The Body’s Healing Process
When injury occurs to tissues they are cut off from the oxygen and blood they need which results in killing off cells. The first step in the healing process is inflammation. The body sends its macrophages, leukocytes, phagocytes and other chemicals to the area that is injured to clean up the damaged or dead cells and replace them with new cells. We see inflammation as characterized by pain, swelling and redness. Many people view inflammation negatively and in a chronic state that would be true. But for acute injury, this is a necessary part of the healing process.
Nutrition For Injury Recovery
Whether you need additional nutrition to help the body heal from an injury or are fighting chronic inflammation, the types of foods to add to your diet are much the same. Specific types of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals can help your body repair itself and make your muscles, bones and tissues stronger to help prevent injury from occurring.
Lean protein helps keeps muscles and tissues healthy, is a must for injury repair and should be included at each meal. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, protein is necessary to maintain muscle mass, and to boost immunity. Food sources for protein can be categorized as either complete proteins or incomplete proteins. The complete proteins have all the amino acids needed to build more proteins. Incomplete proteins only have some of these amino acids, not all of them. Complete proteins usually are found through animal food sources, whereas plant sources fall into the incomplete category. Alex Popple, English Institute of Sport (EIS) Performance Nutritionist, advises that increasing proteins, especially the kind with the amino acid leucine, is necessary to repair damaged cells and grow new ones. Good lean sources of protein include chicken, turkey, salmon, tuna, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, eggs, tofu, nuts, and beans.
Vitamins and Antioxidants –
Vegetables and fruits are a must for a body in repair. The brighter colored fruits and veggies are going to have the most nutritional benefit. Vitamins that can help in the body’s repair process include:
Vitamin A – is an antioxidant nutrient that comes from foods with beta-carotene and used for cell growth, and replacing skin and tissue cells needed in healing. Food sources such as dark green leafy vegetables, and yellow or orange fruits or vegetables like sweet potatoes and carrots, liver and eggs are needed in abundance to provide the body with enough Vitamin A.
Vitamin C – is an antioxidant used for making collagen in bones, tendons, ligaments, cartilage and blood vessels and repairing damaged tissues. Good food sources for Vitamin C include berries, oranges, cantaloupe, Bell pepper, potatoes, winter squash, tomatoes and broccoli.
Zinc, iron, calcium, and magnesium are at the top of the list of minerals needed to speed up recovery from injury and for boosting your immune system. Good food sources for zinc include lean beef, pork, oysters, poultry, fortified cereals, sesame seeds, milk, yogurt, and miso. Beef, poultry and seafood are also high in iron as are lentils, soybeans, white beans, and spinach. Calcium is especially important for injury to bone and Vitamin D goes along with it to help the body be able to absorb the calcium. When healing an injury, calcium can make bones stronger and help in the repair. Good food sources for calcium include sardines, cheese, milk, tofu, salmon, spinach and kale. Most people can get the Vitamin D they need from being outside exposed to sunlight.
Whereas inflammation that is the start of the healing process may be necessary, it is not usually comfortable. Including a balance of fat types in the diet can help act as a natural anti-inflammatory. Stay away from trans fats as they are bad for your health in general, but are especially bad when trying to control or manage inflammation. Most people get more than enough saturated fat already in their diets, so focus on including a balance of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Foods with omega-3 fatty acids are another good addition to the diet. Watch out overdoing the omega-6 fatty acids however as this can cause more inflammation than necessary. The optimal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids is 3:1. One way to be sure you get the exact ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids is taking AFA blue-green algae since it has the exact ratio of fatty acids the human body needs. Other healthy fats to choose from are avocados, olives, nut butters, coconut milk, almond milk, oily fish like salmon, mackerel and tuna, nuts, flax and chia seeds.
Supplements for Injury Recovery
If you can’t get all this extra nutrition from your diet, wholefood supplements are another alternative. There are also supplements that can help specifically with managing inflammation. Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate supplements have been reported to help with inflammation especially for people with joint conditions such as osteoarthritis. They also have been found to support the growth of cartilage. Before deciding on these type of supplements, be sure to check with your healthcare provider to see if they are safe for you. Chondroitin, for example, is not safe if you are on blood thinner.
You know that AFA bluegreen algae is packed full of the vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fatty acids and other nutrients that we’ve already talked about as good nutrition for supporting a body responding to injury. But there are several algae supplements that have ingredients found to be especially directed towards supporting injury recovery.
Algae/Enzyme Supplement – This supplement combines plant-based proteolytic enzymes–bromelain, papain, protease, lipase, and serratiopeptidase with AFA bluegreen algae for nutrition needed for joint support, overworked tissues and combating cellular oxidation.
Antioxidant/Algae Supplement – This supplement is packed with antioxidants which help fight off free radicals and repair the damage they do. It also supports your own natural stem cells which can replace cells damaged at the injury area.
Glucosamine/Chondroitin/Algae Supplement – This combination of vegetable-based glucosamine, chondroitin, UC-II® undenatured collagen and AFA bluegreen algae aid the body in supporting joint and cartilage health.
Medicinal Mushrooms/Algae Supplement – This supplement uses six of the most extensively researched mushrooms that findings have reported positive immune system support: reishi, cordyceps, maitake, shiitake, Turkey Tail, and Agaricus blazei, with astragalus, beta glucan and AFA bluegreen algae.
Injury is unfortunately a part of life that can’t always be avoided. When you get an injury, hopefully you now have a better idea of the type of nutrition that will help you recover faster. The right foods and supplements can make all the difference when it comes to how long you are down and out with an injury or how fast you can get back on your feet and back into life.
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