Sports injuries are not very fun. Recovering from injuries usually takes a lot of time and rest. However, there are some easy ways any athlete can help reduce the time it takes to recover from injury, starting with nutrition.
Athlete nutrition plays a vital role in recovery. When injured, your body kicks itself into a new gear, consuming more energy than a body at rest. If athletes are not getting enough of the proper nutrients each day, they could actually see their injury become prolonged. This is why athlete nutrition is vital for the injured athlete, and can help get you back and playing sooner.
At Warren Academy, we offer a variety of sports performance training programs. Although we specialize in strength, speed and conditioning training, we want to help educate all of our athletes on the best practices to stay healthy. Below, we explain why nutrition is such an important piece to recovering from sports related injuries.
Three body stages during an injury
When athletes become injured, we can categorize the recovery process into three different stages. During each stage, an athlete’s body will work differently to help recover and heal.
The inflammation stage of a sports injury includes the pain, redness and swelling that athletes endure. During this stage, our bodies draw healing chemicals to help heal the injured area.
During the proliferation stage, our bodies try to fix the damaged tissue that surrounds the injury. To do so, our bodies replace the area with a new blood supply as well as temporary tissue to start building back a strong body.
Lastly, the remodeling stage removes the temporary tissue that began the recovery process and replaces it with permanent and stronger tissue for much needed support.
How nutrition helps
Proper nutrition will help your body through each of these stages much more efficiently. Here are some nutrition tips and foods you should be eating during each stage of an injury!
The first stage of an injury is inflammation, where you can expect swelling, redness and pain to occur. During this stage of an injury, RICE is one of the best ways to address these symptoms. However, there are also some foods that can help with these symptoms as well, especially anti-inflammatory foods. Here are some anti-inflammatory foods to eat during this stage:
- All types of berries
- Fatty fish such as salmon
- Olive oil and fish oil
On the flip side, there are also foods that are pro-inflammatory, in which athletes should avoid eating during this injury stage, including:
- Fried foods
- Sugary drinks like soda, energy drinks and sports drinks
- Processed foods that are high in saturated and trans fats
Proliferation and remodeling stage
During this stage, your body works hard to create strong tissue to support your injury. As your body is constantly working, your metabolism could increase by up to 15 to 20 percent, ultimately causing you to lose weight and muscle mass. You want to make sure that you are supplying your body with enough nutrients during these stages! Here are some tips to consider:
- Eat enough protein (1g per pound of body weight each day)
- An ample amount of fruits and vegetables
- Small amounts of fats and carbs
Although the ultimate way to get past an injury is by resting, proper nutrition can significantly help speed up the recovery process. If you ever find yourself or your young athlete injured, utilize your diet to help speed your recovery process!
Our goal at Warren Academy is to help all of our athletes reach their full potential. If you are interested in learning more about our training programs, visit our website today!