Injuries can be frustrating!
While an injury causes pain and discomfort, it also interrupts your daily activities, often leaving you frustrated and stressed. While you may not be able to move your body as you once did, you can work on your nutritional habits to make a big impact in the healing process.
Food is nourishment. Meeting your “base” nutritional requirements is essential to have the proper nutrients to help with healing of an injury. Your “base” nutritional requirements are also known as your resting metabolic rate, or RMR. This is the energy, or calorie requirement, for basic needs, such as your heart rate, body heat, breathing and brain activity. Your body requires you to meet your RMR, even if you are not moving around. Eating below your RMR will prevent your body from repairing an injury, amongst other functions. If you have the ability to move a bit more, your calorie needs will increase based on your activity level. Working with a Registered Dietitian, you can learn more about your specific calorie needs, with or without exercise.
If you are meeting your energy requirements, you can begin to consider additional nutrients that aid in healing, including antioxidants and amino acids, to name a few. Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) are a natural by-product of cellular breakdown. With an injury, ROS increases, increasing cell damage and inflammation within your body. Antioxidants help reduce ROS, and therefore less cellular damage and inflammation. Antioxidants, in addition to vitamin D, leucine-rich protein sources, calcium, magnesium and omega 3’s can keep inflammation at bay and enhance healing.
Meeting your nutritional requirements through food, instead of supplements is ideal. Consuming food vs a supplement will allow you to reap the benefits of a variety of nutrients. It’s important to remember that supplements are not regulated by the FDA, therefore, the label and contents may not be accurate.
Natalie Robertello MS, RD, CSSD, CDN
Owner of BeFueled Sports Nutrition