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Good Foods to Help Prevent & Heal Injuries

You don’t have to be a professional athlete to worry about injuries happening in daily life. And slip-and-fall accidents aren’t just a problem for the elderly or during icy weather. Every single one of us is susceptible to injuries, but fortunately, there are steps you can take now to help prevent them.

Photo credit: Rev Stan via Flickr

Being more careful and mindful with your actions goes a long way in preventing aches, pains, strains, and tears. But did you know that the foods you eat play a role in injury prevention too?

Nutrient-rich foods help build a strong defense in the body against injuries and even help to heal them when injuries happen. Here are some of the best types of food you can eat to prevent and heal injuries.

Stop Inflammation with Omega 3s

Inflammation is the body’s natural response to injury, but this type of swelling can be painful and cause even more health issues. Omega-3 fatty acids are great for reducing inflammation in the body, which is one reason why they’re recommended to be eaten on a daily basis. Fish is an excellent source of omega-3s, and fish oil pills work too if  you don’t like the taste of fish. Raw walnuts and flax seeds provide this nutrient as well. And to further reduce inflammation due to injury, try eating ginger and turmeric with your meals. Both have anti-inflammatory properties and add flavor to your favorite dishes.

Strengthen Bones Calcium, Vitamin D, and Magnesium

Injury prevention starts with your infrastructure, which is why building and maintaining strong bones is so important. Calcium is the main nutrient associated with strong bones, but vitamin D and magnesium assist with calcium absorption in the body. Dairy products fortified with vitamin D, coconut water that contains magnesium, dark green leafy vegetables, and raw seeds and nuts can help keep your bones strong and able to withstand impact.

Increase Flexibility in Ligaments and Tendons with Collagen

It’s important that your tendons and ligaments remain flexible so that they can withstand the wear-and-tear you put them through every day. Collagen helps keep these parts flexible, especially when paired with vitamin C, which assists in collagen repair. Cherries are an example of a healthy food that contains both collagen and vitamin C. Dark leafy greens, strawberries, and broccoli are also good choices for injury prevention and healing.

Photo credit: Phillip Stewart via Flickr

Boost Immunity with Antioxidants

Your body has little chance of healing itself if your immune system is worn down. This is where antioxidants come into play. Antioxidant-rich foods like blueberries, strawberries, pomegranates, and prunes help the body control free radicals so the body can repair itself.

Heal Tissues with Zinc

Zinc is another nutrient associated with natural healing power because it helps strengthen the immune system and heal tissues. Try eating more lentils, pumpkin seeds, oysters, or chicken to deliver healing properties to your bodily tissues. Zinc’s immune system-boosting capabilities also help protect you from getting infections when your body is worn down from an injury.

Quicken Healing Time with Vitamin A and Protein

When you do suffer an injury, the right foods can help you recover from it faster than you would otherwise. Vitamin A-rich foods like carrots, sweet potatoes, and spinach help produce white blood cells in the body. White blood cells quicken the rate of healing and help fight off infection.

Also, the body needs more protein when it is recovering from an injury. By increasing your protein intake, you can help reduce your down-time after getting hurt. Marine protein, grass-fed beef, eggs, and Greek yogurt can supply the body with the protein it needs to get well soon.

As a final note, make sure to drink plenty of water to prevent and heal injuries because a dehydrated body is much more susceptible to strain. Pure water helps keep your joints and tissues lubricated so they can keep up with your active lifestyle.

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