Part two of optimizing recovery! Everyone knows the adage “you are what you eat.” However, I want to tell you that what you eat can impact all stages of recovery even past the point of returning to play/sport. Nutrition is a powerful tool and it’s not just for weight management.
Eating well can improve mood, calm nerves, and be a great distraction from your injury, but it also affects the speed/time spent in each stage of recovery. Starting with the inflammatory process, (a very natural and normal phase right after the start of an injury) certain foods can either hamper or exacerbate the inflammatory process. Initially, we want to keep inflammation under control. Too much and we can’t move, too little however and we hamper the body’s natural hormonal healing process. So, in the acute phase of injury, foods such as olive oil, avocados, fish, turmeric, garlic and nuts have a natural anti-inflammatory effect, whereas foods high in saturated and trans fats promote inflammation.Therefore we initially want to eat all of those lovely anti-inflammatory foods and once the first phase of healing is over metabolism can increase by 15-50%. So while you don’t need to eat as much as when you are training hard, it is important to still get the appropriate amount of proteins, veggies, and carbs. Additionally, certain supplements can aid your return to activity such as zinc, vitamin A, C and Copper.