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Eat Right For Strength And Speedy Recovery
  • Arati Shah

  • 04, Sep. 2019

Eat Right For Strength And Speedy Recovery

A common query often coming to a sports nutritionist is about how to recover well after a sports injury. People who participate in sports might suffer from stress fractures, muscle pulls, sprains, broken bones, or undergo orthopedic surgeries for various reasons. Any of these situations can put them out of action for some time. So, whatfood a person eats after injury plays an important role in how fast he / she recovers. The more serious the injury, the critical the diet. This helps the individual come back to the active lifestyle again without much delay. If you provide the right food and nutrients to your body during the time of healing, the duration of an injury can be shortened. 

Good nutrition also helps in the recovery of small muscle tears and other body strains after intense exercise sessions. Body is built in such a way that it can itself heal from inside outto some extent; however, eating recovery foods are important as well for healing. Hence, good nutrition guidelines by a fitness nutritionist can aid in speeding up the recovery process.  

So, which foods help in a speedy recovery? 

1.Vitamin C rich foods: 

Examples: Citrus fruits, bell pepper, moringa leaves, lemon, amla, leafy greens, guava, kiwi fruit, strawberries, etc 

Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin that plays an important role in the healing process by building new protein (collagen), scar tissue, tendons, ligaments and blood vessels.Vitamin C also helps our bodies maintain cartilage and bone tissues.  

2. Vitamin A rich foods: 

Examples include: Animal liver, nuts like almonds, oil seeds like sunflower seeds, carrots and other yellow orange fruits and vegetables, amaranth and drumstick leaves, spinach and other leafy greens, etc 

Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin that promotes cell division and growth. It helps in the production of white blood cells which help fight the infection and other bacteria and viruses. These white blood cells help in increasing the rate of healing. Vitamin Aalso keeps the immune system strong,thus protecting against infections or viruses.  

3. Omega-3 Fatty Acid rich foods: 

Example: Flax seeds, walnuts, fatty fish like salmon, tuna, etc. 

Many research studies have indicated that omega-3 fatty acids have the ability to reduce inflammation. So, consumption of omega-3 fatty acids might help in reducing the inflammation and swelling around an injury thus reducing the pain andpromoting healing. 

4. Zinc rich foods: 

Examples include: Hemp seeds, oysters, nuts, sesame and sunflower seeds, chicken, whole grain cereals, bean, legumes 

Since, zinc is there in body tissues, it becomes very important in the healing process of any injury. It is required by the body enzymes and has a role to play in DNA synthesis, cell division and protein synthesis which all are important for tissue regeneration and repair. Zinc also keepsthe immune system strong. 

5. Antioxidant rich foods: 

Examples include: Citrus fruits, nuts and oil seeds, orange coloured vegetables, turmeric, ginger, coffee, etc 

Free radicals are the toxins that circulate in the body. They damage healthy cells. Exercise also creates free radicals which cause cell damage and oxidative stress. Antioxidants help to attack free radicals and thus help body to focus on recovery. Ginger and turmeric are naturally anti-inflammatory and can play a role in the healing process. Coffee can also decrease recovery time. 

6. Protein rich foods: 

Examples include: Fish, chicken, eggs, milk and milk products, soya, dals, pulses, legumes 

Protein requirement increases during an injury. Protein is required in multiple processes during injury as well as during the recovery time. Consumption of high quality protein ensures quick healing of injury and keeps the immune system strong. Therefore, it is essential that people who suffer from injury increase the intake of high quality protein in their diet. 

7. Vitamin D and Calcium rich foods: 

Examples include 

Calcium- Sesame seeds, milk and milk products, ragi, leafy greens, etc 

Vitamin D -Eggs, supplements 

Calcium and vitamin D are nutrients associated with healthy bones. During stress fractures, these two nutrients help in strengthening bones.  


8. Fiber rich foods: 

Example include: Whole grains and cereals, fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and oil seeds, legumes, dals, pulses 

Certain medications prescribed after injury or surgery do have the potential to cause constipation. Consumption of fiber rich foods mighthelp alleviate constipation. 

9. Maintain proper hydration: 

It is important to drink plenty of water and other fluids during and after illness. Dehydrationmight lead to nausea, fatigue, weakness, light-headedness and affect one’s ability to eat thus affecting the healing process. 

Eating sufficiently well keeping in mind the nutrients mentioned above will help in dramatically speeding up the recovery process. Dietary management helpsin injury and strength recovery to a great extent. Getting back to the sport after an injury in the shortest possible time is important for any sports person. A fitness nutrition specialist or a sports nutritionist is apt to recommend the correct diet to help heal faster as well as recover well after intense training sessions. Sports and fitness injuries are common in a sports person. However, they should not be the cause for a sports person to be held back from the sport for a long time. Consulting a sports dietitian should be the ideal choice for a sports and fitness enthusiast.