We all know nutrition is crucial to your health, but its role becomes even more important when you’re injured. As your body recovers, proper nutrition can help speed up healing and prevent muscle loss. But, while food can be a powerful healer, it can also hinder your recovery if you’re not eating correctly. Here are six tips from Vejo’s clinical team on how to leverage your nutrition to help you recover from an injury.
Get Enough Calories (Cutting Them Isn’t Always Best)
While on one level it makes sense to reduce your calorie intake while you aren’t active, remember that your body needs food to help you heal. In fact, recovering from trauma or surgery can require up to 20% more calories. The best way to know how many calories to consume is to check with your nutritionist; they can help you adjust what you eat to promote healing and also avoid unwanted weight gain.
Quality Matters: Choose Healthy Comfort Foods
Comfort foods may be tempting when you aren’t feeling well. Just make sure to choose nutritious comfort foods! Continuing with a healthy meal plan will provide you with the essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants your body needs to heal and recover quickly.
TRY IT: Vejo’s Northwest Tart Berry blend is a delicious, naturally sweet option that contains free radical-busting anthocyanins, helping you recover even faster.
Don’t Sacrifice Your Protein
Continue including protein with your meals and snacks as it plays a vital role in healing, as well as preserving your muscle mass during periods of immobility. Leucine-rich foods (cheese, meat, fish, nuts, and seeds) are ideal, because they will help stimulate muscle protein synthesis faster than other amino acids. Your body actually needs more protein when injured to support recovery, and an easy way to incorporate more protein is with our Protein blends, like our leucine-containing whey protein blends, Spiced Chocolate, Whey Coffee, and Whey Mocha.
TRY IT: Our Protein blends include both whey-based and plant-based protein options and have antioxidants to help you through your injury.
Inflammation is part of the healing process, but it’s important to limit foods that contribute to inflammation. Add smoothies or soups with anti-inflammatory ingredients to your diet to help soothe from the inside out. You can try soups made with bone broth, ginger, and turmeric, and smoothies made with Greek yogurt, fresh fruit, and cinnamon.
TRY IT: Vejo’s Daily Recovery blend has ingredients like Hydrocurc® curcumin extract, quercetin, and astaxanthin to target immediate inflammation and chronic inflammation.
Don’t Forget Your Gut
If your injury required surgery, then you’re most likely taking antibiotics as well. Though antibiotics are important, they may also cause changes to the healthy bacteria that live in your gut, disrupting your digestion. Eat plenty of foods that contain prebiotics (such as onion, garlic, asparagus, mushrooms, and oats) and probiotics (fermented foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut, miso soup, or kimchi) to help restore your digestive health(1).
When your body metabolizes alcohol, it creates toxic waste that eventually leads to inflammation. Any compound that causes inflammation directly interferes with your body’s ability to heal. Additionally, alcohol increases blood flow, which can increase the bleeding and swelling around any injured soft tissue. It slows down nutrient absorption, disrupts sleep patterns, interacts in potentially dangerous ways with numerous medications, and impairs metabolic and detoxification pathways. In other words: don’t drink while you’re injured. That’s hands down your best bet.
If you’re injured, these tips will come in handy as you recover. Vejo blends can help you maintain high-quality food consumption, consume adequate protein, and deliver antioxidants to manage inflammation. Stay mindful of this nutritional advice and you’ll be back in the game in no time.
1. Knappenberger K. Nutrition for injury recovery and rehabilitation. NATA News. July 2018. 14-17. https://www.nata.org/sites/default/files/nutrition-for-injury-recovery-and-rehabilitation.pdf Accessed November 19, 2019.