An unexpected injury such as a car accident injury an be a devastating blow to your daily routine, particularly if you’re a regular exerciser. While resting and obeying your doctor’s orders is critical to healing, certain nutrients can promote a faster recovery, getting you back to your routine as soon as possible.
Protein is essential for the creation and regeneration of bodily tissues, including muscles, ligaments, and tendons. To speed recovery, it’s important to consume proteins that contain all eight essential amino acids, also known as complete proteins. (Amino acids are the building blocks of protein.
Eight amino acids are essential, meaning they must be consumed in the diet, as your body cannot produce them on its own. Here are some of the best complete proteins to speed your recovery process:
Vitamin A plays a primary role in cellular growth and differentiation, making it necessary for the creation and regeneration of bones, teeth, skin, tissues, and mucus membranes.1 This fat-soluble vitamin is also a potent anti-inflammatory, helping to reduce the pain, swelling, and soreness associated with many injuries. The richest sources of vitamin A include:
Vitamin C aids in wound healing and the formation of collagen, a primary component of tendons and ligaments. While orange juice has earned a reputation as the greatest source of vitamin C, the following foods contain even more vitamin C than O.J:
Much like vitamin C, zinc promotes immunity, wound healing, and the creation of collagen. Foods rich in this vital mineral include:
Calcium is one of the most important minerals in the human body. Calcium plays a role in the formation of bones and teeth, as well as the proper functioning of muscle and nerve cells. Clearly, calcium is vital to the healing of skeletal, dental, and muscular injuries. Most people believe dairy foods are the best source of calcium. However, many non-dairy options provide just as much (or even more) calcium than dairy products:
Vitamin D assists in the absorption of calcium, speeding the healing of skeletal injuries, such as fractures and broken bones. This vitamin also plays a key role in muscular function, immunity, and the reduction of inflammation. Interestingly, vitamin D is produced naturally by the body when ultraviolet (UV) rays contact sunscreen-free skin.
Unfortunately, due to geographical location, time constraints, and skin cancer concerns, the daily requirement of 3 to 30 minutes of ultra-violet sun exposure is not feasible for most individuals. (The darker a person’s skin, the longer they have to spend in the sun to produce the recommended 200 IUs of daily vitamin D, as dark skin is naturally protective against UV rays).
Due to the body’s ability to naturally produce vitamin D, very few foods are rich in this vitamin. Here are a few exceptions:
Carbohydrates have a bad reputation. It’s important to remember that carbohydrates are the body’s primary energy source. If you neglect carbohydrates when injured, the body may tap into its protein stores for energy, depriving the body of wound-healing protein.10 To avoid spikes in blood sugar, consume carbohydrates in the form of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Here are some good suggestions:
Remember, stress won’t help the healing process. When healing from an injury, don’t worry about every morsel of food that passes your lips. In addition to resting, listening to your doctor’s recommendations, and drinking plenty of water, focus on consuming lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. By consuming a balanced diet rich in whole foods, you’ll be back to the gym in no time!