Whether you injure yourself during a sport, working out, or during your everyday routine, it is important to fuel your body with the right nutrients to help the healing process. Calorie intake, macronutrient intake, and hydration are only a few of the important factors that affect how fast you recover. Controlling nutrition through an injury is often overlooked. Below, RD Tom Smurr tells us more about how to eat when you are experiencing an injury!
Eating When Injured
This fantasy football season is nuts...everyone is getting injured so fast! It's trying to ruin my fantasy football team and everyone else's (seriously...look at the injury report)! This made me think, I should do a post on how to eat when injured. So here we go.
The first thing to assess when injured is how severe the injury is. If it is going to limit your movement significantly, it's important to control calorie intake, because you are not burning as many calories, and focus on eating good protein sources. If it's a day-today injury, it's still important to focus on good protein sources, but it's also necessary to eat enough carbohydrate to have energy stores for the next practice. If it's a minor injury, like a sprain, charlie-horse, or pull, it's important to get some carbohydrate and rehydrate with a drink that contains electrolytes too.
Here's the real low-down: when your body takes a hit and needs to recover in any way, a general, healthy diet can only accelerate the healing process. Think about it this way, when I eat "junk food" and greasy munchies, I feel like complete crap after, and I expect that. When eating this kind of food in injury or recovery, you're adding fuel to the flames. Now the body has to digest the atrocity that you just ate and try to break it down into the constituents that will actually aid in the healing and nourishing effect of food.
Make this diet heavy on colors, with an emphasis on fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and low-fat dairy, and that injury will be gone sooner. Provide the body with all the food groups it needs and you will find that it won't have to struggle to get you back on the field/court/track/etc. And get this: if you focus on fruits and vegetables, the diet should be lower in calories too making it effective in avoiding unwanted weight gain in a physically limited state.
It's always a bummer when getting injured, that's why you should attack that injury head on with nutrition in order to put it all behind you. Your body, and team, will thank you."