I’m a huge proponent of proper nutrition as an integral part of the rehab process. If you’ve ever experienced an injury, you’re familiar with doing anything to recover faster. Often times you will beg, plead, and use every little recommendation or remedy you can think of. True story- I had a client who once told me that she was given a recommendation to take cow, pig and chicken bones, chop them into fine pieces, and then boil them in a pot with a dash of salt. OK, it doesn’t sound so bad. It sounds like you’re making a pot of meatless soup. Until she was told to take some chicken feed, yes I said CHICKEN FEED, add it to the mixture and drink it up. She wanted to know if this was plausible in order to promote healing. First, where do you even purchase chicken feed? The things we will do all in the name of healing, but I digress.
Good nutrition is necessary for faster healing. During the healing process, the body needs increased amounts of calories through protein, vitamins A and C, and sometimes the mineral zinc. Here is a quick run down about each of these.
- This is the major structural component of body cells.
- It is used for growth, repair, and maintenance of body tissues.
- Is crucial for normal growth and development because it plays an integral role in bone development.
- Is important for the formation and maintenance of collagen, a crucial protein found in connective tissue.
- Is essential for healthy bones, ligaments, and blood vessels.
- This mineral is necessary for protein metabolism.
With all that said, here are basic “power” foods you may choose in order to promote healing.
Protein: Meats, fish, poultry, eggs, beans, milk and yogurt (particularly Greek yogurt).
Vitamins A: Dark green, leafy vegetables, orange or yellow vegetables, cantaloupe, fortified dairy products, liver, and fortified cereals.
Vitamins C: Citrus fruits and juices, strawberries, tomatoes, tomato juice, peppers, baked potatoes, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and cabbage.
Zinc: Fortified cereals, red meats, and seafood.
Ensure that you are getting at least the daily-recommended values for each in order to promote optimal healing. Here is a great link for the recommended suggested values for the basic food groups. I really like this table because it divides the daily-recommended value by age and sex.