Nutrition & Recovery
What should you be eating for recovery? Whether you’re someone that has just begun their health journey or a top athlete — nutrition is an important factor that should be taken just as seriously.
Today I am going to address a few key ways that nutrition can influence recovery from injury, recovery after intense exercise, and how diet choices can be part of your injury prevention plan.
During recovery from injury, or simply wanting to prevent injury during exercise, proper nutrition is crucial. Nutrition is fuel for our bodies, and mindful nutrition for recovery, injury prevention, and progress, is key.
Nutrition is a large piece of the overall wellness puzzle, but it won’t fix poor form or poor exercise and strength training habits.
Here are a few diet staples for recovering from injuries and tweaks and for maintaining health.
Calories and Protein
Overall, energy balance is critical, ensuring you the resources for your body to heal. It’s widely recommended to consume calories from whole, minimally processed foods.
Adequate protein intake preserves muscle mass and guarantees that your body has what it needs to heal damaged tissues, helping to generate an effective muscle-protein synthesis. More on this in a future post.
I recommend that protein be a significant focus of each meal and snack, as it provides satiety and helps promote lean body mass retention, as well as muscle growth.
Typically thought of as an immune system booster, it also plays a role in the healing of wounds, tendons, and ligaments. Whether from whole foods or supplements, vitamin C is effective.
Interestingly, when taken with a collagen-rich food such as bone broth, it can further help tissue recovery.
Gelatin is comprised of collagen protein, making up a good amount of the protein in the body; hair, skin, nails, tendons, and ligaments.
Collagen, as it is typically offered in supplement form, is the hydrolyzed version of gelatin products. It can easily be obtained by gelatin-rich broth and stock from pasture-raised animal bones and cartilage.
As previously stated, it works with vitamin C to up-regulate the healing process.
Cod Liver Oil
Important for its omega-3 fatty acids that aid in reducing inflammation, it is also an important addition to a nutrient dense diet for its ample amounts of preformed vitamin A (retinol), which plays a role in the maintenance and formation of soft tissues. It is a good source of both vitamin A and vitamin D.
Sourcing needs to be done with great consideration to ensure a safe, raw, and clean product with ideal ratios of vitamins D & A.
**For safety, always consult a health professional before changing your diet or adding dietary supplements, especially if dealing with an existing injury. **
Overall, eating adequate calories for your recovery needs, maintaining a diet with plenty of protein and collagen, adequate vitamin C, and a healthy amount of cod liver oil, to serve the body well and help it perform at its best.
Hunter is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and owner of Reformed Nutrition, LLC. He is a Certified LEAP Therapist, a specialist in food sensitivities and gut healing. He also works with competitive athletes, those looking to gain strength, lose weight, and restore health, as well as families and student groups. In his own life, Hunter strength trains regularly, participates in CrossFit WODs, and enjoys an active lifestyle. He eats real, whole foods, and he believes that the basis for health begins with real, nutrient-dense foods.