When we involve ourselves in some activity we usually don’t think about the negative aspects right at the start of the activity. Likewise, people involved in sports think about success and goals and don’t think about injury. But, they are well aware that participating in sports includes muscle pulls, sprains broken bones, stress fractures or orthopedic surgery that can keep you temporarily out of practice/participation. Foods play a critical part in helping you recover from surgery, heal wounds faster and make your bones and muscles stronger to help you get back to practice and events as soon as possible.
During times of injury, you need not and should not follow the same food practices as your physical activity is limited and hence, calories burnt is also lesser. Ensure to rule out your post-workout protein shakes or energy bars to fuel workout plans and decrease portion sizes to compensate for the decrease in calories burnt. Eat three to four energy-packed meals that are rich in vitamins and minerals cutting down all calories added from pre- and post-workout snacks.
Proteins for Strong Muscles & Bones
High-quality proteins are essential for a strong immune system and to accelerate wound healing. By high-quality, we mean foods such as eggs, low-fat cheese, cottage cheese, yogurt or baked chicken that can be consumed in the initial days after injury or surgery. Soy-based foods is a good food choice for vegetarians and soy milk or almond milk is an option for people who don’t/can’t drink cow’s milk. Don’t assume that you need to eat proteins only to build muscles, you need them for building strong bones too. Fractured sports persons must definitely include some portion of protein with every meal and snack.
Big Shots of Healing
Individuals need a combination of different nutrients to heal injuries out of which vitamin C and zinc are the big shots of this healing process. Vitamin C helps to make collagen and repair tendons, ligaments and heal surgical wounds. Although citrus fruits strike us immediately when we talk about vitamin C, other good sources include strawberries, kiwi fruit, broccoli, baked potatoes and bell peppers. While zinc supplements are an easy way out to replenish your body, it is better to add zinc to your body in the form of foods such as meat, fish, poultry, dairy foods, whole-grain bread and cereals, dried legumes and nuts. This is because, too much of zinc can lead to nausea and vomiting.
Healthy bones are always linked with calcium and vitamin D whose best sources are low-fat dairy foods. Milk is always fortified with vitamin D to aid in calcium absorption while yogurts are not. Hence, it is better to check the nutrition label of any yogurt before purchasing it to ensure that you get your vitamin D right. So, next time you have a stress fracture eat foods rich in these two nutrients to strengthen your bones.
Although fiber might not be helpful in healing or recovery, pain medications prescribed post-surgery/injury are bound to create constipation. Water, prunes or prune juice can help relieve constipation.