The best foods to help injury recovery

June 04, 2019 4 min read

The best foods to help injury recovery

Getting injured, either on or off the bike can really hurt, and we don't just mean the pain and soreness, there's also time off the bike feeling like you should be doing more. Well, here is a post that gives you more to do so you can power back to the saddle sooner…

For some people, an injury that sidelines sport or going to the gym can mean hitting a bit of a slump. It's time to roll out the comfort foods, maybe some alcoholic beverages and watch some movies on the couch feeling sorry for yourself.

For others, losing the cardio blast of cycling means cutting back on calorie intake, reducing carbs and being strict with your diet until you can get back to your workout.

We get it, your whole routine and rhythm has been turned on it's head, if you usually ride to work you'll probably find the traffic commute longer, stressful, expensive and when you get to your desk you have no energy to do anything.

However, both these extremes, taking a food holiday, or being super vigilant on food intake are likely to cause your body stress, and that will not only affect how you feel, it will also increase the time it takes you to recover, especially if you also find you're not sleeping well.

There is a way to combat these effects and get your body back to fitness faster and that's by fuelling your body with all the nutrients it needs to rebuild, recover and get going. The answer is a really well balanced diet, lots of variety and natural nutrients from all the essential food groups.

These great shopping trolley perks are best used in conjunction with any healing advice from your doctor or physio. If you have any doubts about any diet changes, definitely speak to your specialist or GP ahead of time.

How it works.

Our body relies on protein, minerals, vitamins and antioxidants to be healthy and strong every day. The need for these ingredients increases when we are injured and our body races to do repairs. Getting the right food sources into your body delivers a shot of essential healing properties that relax inflamed tendons, heal wounds and mend fractures.


Go natural.

The best way to get your vitamins and minerals is by eating high quality foods. Supplements and tablets are not especially effective, this can be because there is not enough of the ingredient inside the tablet to do any good, or you are not getting supporting vitamins that boost absorption, or perhaps you are taking vitamins you don't need, or over doing it and depleting other areas.

If you are interested in supplements then it's best to talk to a qualified nutritionist who can give you high quality doses of the right ingredients for your body, which are for overall health and wellbeing, not just to be taken when sick or injured.

Everything you need for recovery can be found in the foods listed below.

The one exception is vitamin D, which we get naturally from the sun. If you are used to riding outside and getting a good dose of sunlight, your body might be feeling the decrease when you are laid up for a period of time indoors. Before taking vitamin D supplements consider spending just 20 minutes outside a day in the morning or evening when the sunlight is gentle.


Vitamin A.

When we are injured our white blood cells are so busy doing repair work that they might miss an infection, meaning you might get a cold along with that swollen ankle. More white blood means better coverage for your body, so you can recover and fight off baddies at the same time.
What to eat: Kale, Spinach, Sweet Potato, Carrot.


Vitamin C.

This is a must have for road rash recovery. Testing has proven that vitamin C helps increase skin and wound recovery time and strengthen flesh faster. Vitamin C is also a big factor in repairing connective tissue and cartilage through the production collagen.
What to eat: Oranges (including the white pulp), Broccoli, Capsicum, and Strawberries.


Vitamin D.

As well as the sun, vitamin D can be found in dairy products. The power of vitamin D comes in assisting your body to absorb other nutrients, especially calcium. The right amount of vitamin D, therefore, helps heal bone and muscles. Getting a double hit of calcium and vitamin D from dairy products means you'll see great gains in bone and muscle repair.
What to eat: Milk and Natural or Greek Yogurt


Calcium.

See Vitamin D above for bone and muscle repair.
What to eat: Sesame, Chia, Flax Seeds, Quinoa, Dark Leafy Greens, Oranges, Beans & Broccoli (Not just the usual dairy we automatical think of)


Zinc.

Zinc helps assist the absorption of other nutrients in your body. Zinc has been proven to assist wound healing and is especially beneficial to the immune system.
What to eat: Pumpkin Seeds, Beef, Chickpeas, Cashews, Yoghurt, Prawns, Legumes, Spinach, Garlic, Whole Grains, Eggs, Dark Chocolate


Protein.

Protein is essential for making new cells and knitting together wounds for rapid muscle and tissue repair.
What to eat: Lean meats, especially Turkey, Fish, Chicken and Sirloin, Eggs, Almonds, Oats, Cottage Cheese, Greek Yoghurt, Milk


Omega-3s

Omega-3s are the best fats on the planet for your body. They help reduce inflammation and can significantly assist the recovery of bone fractures, tendinitis, and sprained ligaments.
What to eat: Salmon, Tuna, Trout and Milled Flaxseed or Flaxseed Oil


Whole-grain carbohydrates.

Even though you are resting you still need fuel, without it your body will start breaking down muscle to get the energy it needs for repairs.
What to eat: Quinoa, Bulgur and Hulled Barley or Millet, Brown Rice, Oats

So add these ingredients to your shopping list and cook up a storm of colour and flavour when you find yourself relegated to the couch, and you'll fuel yourself better in no time.

Getting yourself back on the bike in record time? That's freedom!


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