Injuries are all around us. They occur with lifting, sports, running, life, etc. There is a very scientific process that occurs with injuries. I won’t go into too much detail, but let’s dive into some basic principles.
Inflammation can be beneficial, but healing can be disrupted and slowed at any point of the above flow chart. Too much inflammation can stall healing, and make it harder to heal from. This extra inflammation (coming from trans-fats, omega-6 rich oils, saturated fat) can be caused by our diets. This isn’t meant to scare you, but more so make you aware of nutrition choices.
So, we discussed the injury side of things. Let’s talk about how nutrition also helps HEAL.
Often times, people assume that they are supposed to drop their calories when they have an injury because they aren’t working out as intensely as they were. OR they fall pray into the “don’t exercise with an injury” stigma. BUT, that is actually not true because as we have an injury, our bodies metabolism actually increases. According to Precision Nutrition, our resting metabolism can actually increase 15-50% depending on the size of the injury. This requires us to keep a higher calorie intake then we would think to recover as optimally as we can.
In these instances, we should prioritize protein, eat enough dietary fat (Monounsaturated and omega-3 fats) and carbs, and a large variety of veggies/fruits. Prioritizing unprocessed foods and foods with good amounts of micronutrients.
Based on Precision Nutrition, the recommended values for protein post injury are 1.5-2.0g/kg of body weight. High protein should be ingested consistently throughout the day. Minimal intake should be at least 1g of protein per pound of body weight. So, for someone who is 160 pounds with an injury, 160g of protein in their daily diet (640 calories). Exact recommendations weren’t given for carbohydrates or fats, BUT that doesn’t mean they aren’t valuable. The carbs are important to allow for stable insulin, which allows for the anabolic hormones to do their job and build up the injured tissue.
To segway off of this a little bit, it is important to note that to prevent injuries, you should also be getting adequate calorie intake. It is said that chronic low energy availability (chronic dieting to lose weight) can actually weaken tendons and ligaments, which of course leaves them in a more readily injured state.
As I always say with injuries, the best way to rehab them (or heal them in this instance) is to prevent them in the first place.
- Nutrition for Injury Prevention and Recovery. Uphill Athlete. (2020, September 28). https://www.uphillathlete.com/nutrition-injury-recovery/.
- Nutrition for Injury Recovery. Precision Nutrition. (2020, August 10). http://www.precisionnutrition.com/nutrition-for-injury-part-5.
- Nutrition for Injury Recovery. Precision Nutrition. (2020, August 10). http://www.precisionnutrition.com/nutrition-for-injury-part-4.
- Nutrition for Injury Recovery. Precision Nutrition. (2020, August 10). http://www.precisionnutrition.com/nutrition-for-injury-part-3.
- Nutrition for Injury Recovery. Precision Nutrition. (2020, August 10). http://www.precisionnutrition.com/nutrition-for-injury-part-2.
- Nutrition for Injury Recovery. Precision Nutrition. (2020, August 10). http://www.precisionnutrition.com/nutrition-for-injury-part-1.
- Stages of Healing of a Soft Tissue Injury. Nova Active Rehab. (2020, July 7). https://www.novaactiverehab.com/stages-healing-soft-tissue-injury/.