Have you ever considered the importance of diet in your physical therapy treatment? A healthy diet and proper nutrition all play a key role in our body’s ability to effectively prevent and recover from an injury. Proper nutrition can sometimes be an overlooked aspect of recovering from injuries or alleviating discomfort and it can play an essential role in the timeline and efficacy of rehabilitation programs. Before beginning any new diet or exercise plan, you should consult with a qualified healthcare professional.
Take a look at the importance of diet in physical therapy treatment.
Balanced diets help our body adequately prepare for the day ahead and ensure that our bodies have the macro and micronutrients it needs for key body functions which include energy production, metabolism maintenance, bone maintenance, immunity, hemoglobin synthesis, muscle recovery, and injury recovery. Proper nutrition is an essential aspect of recovering from injuries, alleviating pain, and ensuring you can accomplish your daily goals without having to slow down due to poor nutrition.
Food plays a key role in our body’s ability to perform certain functions and it is keenly aware when it needs replenishment for injury recovery or simple daily needs. When an individual sustains an injury, the body begins to work in overdrive to begin the healing process. This full-time job from our body means that you should focus on making sure that you’re consuming enough food to spur on the healing process.
When you’re recovering from an injury, your body needs an increase in calories and you should strive to consume roughly 15 to 20 calories per pound based on your current body weight. Even though you might be a bit inactive while you’re recovering from an injury, that doesn’t mean that you should cut your caloric intake or focus on consuming less food. As we mentioned earlier, your body is doing laborious work during the healing process and needs ample nutrition to fuel all of those efforts. These calories should be met with healthy options including the components listed below.
Your body will also use a variety of micronutrients and minerals that aid in the healing process and promote the recovery process. Some of the key micronutrients that play an important role include Vitamin C, antioxidants, iron, magnesium, Vitamin D, potassium, zinc, collagen, and fatty acids.
Vitamin C helps your body build strong muscles, cartilage, form blood vessels, and collagen in bones. Antioxidants help your body ward off damage from free radicals in your cells which can alleviate concerns for heart disease and cancer. Iron helps your body carry oxgygen to and from all parts of your body through red blood cells. Magnesium is another important micronutrient mineral which helps your body with energy production and supports both nerve and muscle function.
All of these different micronutrients and minerals help various aspects of the injury recovery process and their roles range from anti-inflammatory properties to building strong bones. These micronutrients, in tandem with a well-balanced diet, help to speed up the injury recovery timeline and ensure that your body has the energy it needs to recover from injuries.
In addition, your body will have increased protein needs during the recovery period which help to prevent muscle atrophy and recover damaged muscle tissue. Protein is one of the essential types of macronutrients that your body will use to repair damaged tissue and accelerate the healing process. Consuming a rich protein diet will help repair and reduce muscle loss during your recovery period. Proteins that are low in fat are best to meet these needs.
Depending on the type of injury, proper diet and nutrition can also be an essential aspect of avoiding further complications that can stem from an injury. Some of the other complications that can arise from a recent injury include the time you are mostly inactive as you wait for the injury to heal if it has a significant impact on your ability to perform daily activities.
If you’re unable to perform regular activities, a loss of strength might occur as muscle atrophy may set in and those muscles begin to break down over extended periods of unuse. A well-balanced diet can help to mitigate those concerns and ensure that you maintain the most strength and have the energy to complete the rehabilitation process.
Another way in which proper nutrition helps individuals avoid further complications with their injury recovery process is that it can also be beneficial in helping offset potential anabolic resistance so individuals can retain muscle mass without putting on additional fat while inactive.
Physical therapy, in combination with a healthy and nutrient rich diet, can help you alleviate pain and recover from injury and get you back to doing the things you love most. The two aspects play an important role in the recovery process and help to ensure that your body has the energy it needs to help you get through physical therapy treatments and the healing process. Our licensed and trained physical therapists are movement experts who use manual therapy techniques and education to guide you through physical therapy to help you alleviate pain and recover from injury.