Good to Eat: Foods that Heal
By Sara Butler
Food is more than fuel for your body, it’s also medicine. If you can eat the right thing at the right time, it can help to encourage your body to heal. Everyone has sprained a muscle or been in pain from an overuse injury -- especially if you’re an athlete. In those times, it’s important to know what you should eat to help aid your body in its fight to heal you and regenerate. Here are some tips to help you eat in a way that will speed recovery and help you get stronger.
What About Calories
If you’re injured and unable to do your regular daily activities, you may think that cutting back on calories is the way to go. Right now, your body needs calories to harness the energy for healing. When your body is trying to heal an injury, then it may need some extra calories to help repair and create new tissue. That’s why eating nutrient-dense foods is your best bet to help your body.
Pack in the Protein
Protein is an essential building block for tissue in your body. If you’re injured, then eating protein-rich foods is a good idea to help prevent the muscles from getting weaker and repair the damaged muscle. Eggs and turkey are an especially good source of protein when injured since they contain specific amino acids your body uses to help accelerate the healing process.
Vitamin C is Vital
Vitamin C is an antioxidant your body needs to mount an immune response -- and healing an injury is an immune response. It also helps your body to generate collagen to repair ligaments and skin.
Oranges automatically come to mind when most people think of Vitamin C, but there are fruits and vegetables with more Vitamin C than an orange. Try strawberries, tomatoes, bell peppers, or papaya.
Zinc is a mineral that is involved in the healing process. It helps your body to produce collagen and synthesize protein, which is why -- if you’re lacking in zinc -- you may notice your wounds are slow to heal. You should look to consume foods rich in zinc every day such as pumpkin seeds, chickpeas, and grass-fed beef.
Copper is another important mineral you need to help repair connective tissue and form new blood cells. To get enough of it in your diet, consider adding pumpkin seeds, cashews, and leafy greens to the menu.
You are what you eat! So make sure what you’re eating is helping your body work at its very best.
To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Aurora, Colo.