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The Importance of Nutrition for Healing Your Athletic Injury

The Importance of Nutrition for Healing Your Athletic Injury
The Importance of Nutrition for Healing Your Athletic Injury

If you’re an athlete, then you’re probably no stranger to athletic injuries. Every athlete experiences some type of injury during their athletic career. Optimal nutrition plays a vital role in how your body recovers from an injury. The foods you put in your body have one of two effects. They either help or hinder the body’s ability to heal. Proper nutrition after an athletic injury should include:

Sufficient calorie intake:
Although your activity will be limited, the body uses a lot of energy when recovering from an injury. It’s important that you consume enough calories to supply your body with the nutrition it requires during this time. Now is not the time to be in a calorie deficit. Without sufficient calories, your body will begin to burn muscle mass for energy.

Adequate protein:
Protein is made up of amino acids which are the building blocks of muscles, bones, and tissue. Your body cannot store protein, so it’s crucial that you eat it daily. Preserving muscle mass is a major goal while you’re recovering. You should aim to consume about 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight.

Plenty of fruits and vegetables:
Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables will provide you with the vitamins and nutrients your body requires during recovery. Fruits and vegetables contain fiber which is another important component of your daily needs.

Healthy Fats:
Fats that are high in omegas are anti-inflammatory and increase protein synthesis. Omegas can be found in foods such as fish, nuts, seeds, and certain oils.

Adequate hydration:
Aim to drink approximately half your body weight of water each day. Water flushes out toxins and delivers nutrients to organs and tissues.

Not only should your diet be full of healthy, nutritious foods, but you should also avoid foods that impede the healing process. Try to limit or avoid sugars in the form of soda, candy, and processed sweets. Limit fried foods like french fries and chicken fingers, which can cause inflammation in the body. Avoid alcohol, which inhibits protein synthesis. A healthy diet combined with proper rest can get you back to the sport you love sooner.

Milan M. DiGiulio, M.D. offers comprehensive orthopedic care for you and your entire family, specializing in Sports Medicine and arthroscopic surgery of the shoulder and knee. Dr. DiGiulio performs over 200 arthroscopic shoulder and knee surgeries each year, using the most advanced surgical technology. Dr. DiGiulio is an advocate of non-invasive, non-surgical treatment options such as Physical Therapy and Orthobiologics.

Useful Links

  • American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
  • Sportsmed
  • The American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery
  • American Association of Nurse Anesthetists