Eat Right to Heal Right

Athletic injuries can stop you in your tracks. Your body needs high-octane nutrition to heal injured tissues and get you on the road to recovery. A healthy diet is essential for optimal healing— according to June Kloubec and Cristen Harris from Bastyr University in Washington. Athletes should consume enough calories to promote healing, and fuel the 15 to 20 percent increase in metabolic rate that accompanies injuries. Caloric intake should be less than when training intensely, but more than when sedentary. Recovering athletes need more protein than normal— at least 1.5 to 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight per day. Carbohydrates are important but should not be overemphasized to prevent weight gain. Carb intake should be approximately five to eight grams per kilogram of bodyweight per day. Adequate fiber intake prevents constipation promoted by post-injury medications. Athletes should also consume foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, vitamin A, selenium and zinc to help control free radical damage and excessive inflammation. Recovering athletes should eat a variety of healthy foods and avoid calorie-dense, junk foods. (ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal, 20(2): 7-11, 2016)

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