Superfoods Are The Answer To Nutrition Recovery: Kitchen Rx
Foods that help you heal from injuries. By Liz Applegate Ph.D. Image by Ann E. Cutting From the December 2011 issue of Runner’s World
Most athletes get injured at least once in their running careers. Whether it’s a sore tendon or sudden muscle pull, your body goes through a series of responses to start healing itself. Research shows that what you eat while recovering can actually help you get back on your feet sooner rather than later. Here’s how to adjust your diet.YOU NEED: CALORIES
Skimping on fuel will slow down the healing process: Even though you’re not running and are less active, your metabolism goes up after an injury. That’s because your body has to burn calories to build new tissue to repair muscles and tendons.
HEALING FIX: Don’t skip meals. Eat at least every five hours to keep up your energy. Weigh yourself weekly to make sure you’re at a healthy weight.
YOU NEED: PROTEIN
Post injury your body breaks down more protein than it can make, causing the injured muscle to atrophy. Not eating enough protein can make matters worse. The amino acid leucine (a protein building block) may help prevent some of the protein loss common with injuries.
HEALING FIX: Add quality protein to every meal. The best sources include eggs, chicken, lean beef, pork, seafood, soy, and low-fat dairy. Aim for a total of 60 to 90 grams daily.
YOU NEED: OMEGA-3S
These essential fats are good for joint and heart health, but when you’re injured, they may also suppress inflammation that can hamper the healing process. Studies also show that getting more omega-3s in your diet may help decrease muscle atrophy.
HEALING FIX: Eat at least two servings of omega-3-rich seafood, like salmon, a week. Add walnuts and flaxseed meal or oil to smoothies. Buy eggs enriched with omega-3s.
YOU NEED: VITAMIN D
Vitamin D plays a key role in rebuilding bone after a stress or regular fracture. Since your body naturally produces it when exposed to sunlight, your circulating levels drop during the winter months, making it crucial to add this nutrient to your diet.
HEALING FIX: Boost your intake of vitamin D? Rich foods, including canned salmon and milk. Make sure your yogurt is fortified. Consider taking a supplement with 1,000 to 2,000 IU of vitamin D daily.
YOU NEED: QUERCETIN
This polyphenol compound acts as a potent antioxidant, and studies show that a steady intake of foods rich in quercetin can help lower markers of inflammatory response following muscle damage.
HEALING FIX: Add quercetin-rich blueberries to oatmeal; top salads with red and white onion. Snack on apples, and eat kale with dinner.
Less Is More
Cut back on these to help speed your recovery!!!
Studies show that consuming alcohol after an injury reduces your muscles’ protein-building ability, leading to more severe muscle atrophy.
While healing from an injury, your body isn’t as efficient at processing sugary carbs, which may raise circulating levels of fat in your blood.
FRIED AND FATTY SNACKS
These foods contain oils high in omega-6 fatty acids (which can increase inflammation) and few omega-3s, which help with healing.
Jack Nunn’s Road To Nutrition Recovery
This picture was taken when I was training on the US National Rowing Team in New York at age 24. My diet consisted of mainly simple carbs such as bagels, pasta, potatoes, and more pasta! A very ineffective nutrition plan when it comes to staying on top of your training to maintain the highest muscle endurance performance levels. I remember sleeping all the time in between practices and having to deal with energy/mood swings throughout the day. It only makes sense that I was constantly going through ‘sugar crashes’ everyday. It was not until about 6 months ago that I really switched gears in my nutrition and actively sought out a whole new way of looking at food. My frustration with my nutrition hit an all-time high when I weighed in before my rowing race at the Henley Royal Regatta in England this past summer when I only trimmed 1 lb while training very hard for several months but not paying attention to the small details of my inconsistent and unhealthy diet. I would come home from England only to have a new focus and rage on all out war on my outlook about food and the importance of eating more and more fruits and vegetables every single day! Since I have returned home 6 months ago I made a few simple rules for myself to follow everyday in order to feel healthy and happy.
Rule #1: Green Means GO! The more vegetables…the better. Salads and veggies with a low-calorie dressing on the side is always a great option even if you are starving. The fiber in salad will be enough to fill you up just enough and provide the necessary nutrients to get you through the day.
Rule #2: Feel Like A PRO With PROtein! Everyone should be getting some kind of protein in their diet every single day especially if you are exercising. Protein will help build lean muscle mass and strength in order to do the activities you want to do everyday. The more lean muscle mass you have in your body… the more calories you will burn just by living. Cardio workouts are not enough. You need to balance your workouts with a strength training weight lifting routine. You can also supplement your meals by using the NEW Juice Plus Whole-food based Protein Complete Powder offering you 17 different fruits and veggies along with over 10 grams of protein per serving!
Rule #3: More Is Less…Eat Often And Be Happy! Make breakfast your biggest meal of the day and let the rest take care of itself. Have a variety of nuts, apples, and other fruits and veggies handy in the fridge to take care of all those snacks you want to eat throughout the day. Keep you metabolism moving by eating more often with 5-7 very small meals during the course of the day. I use to think foods such as avocados and nuts were too high in fat and calories but the truth is that they are foods with amazing natural energy to fuel your body and actually help you burn fat throughout the day.
*Choose an apple instead of a cookie!
*Choose corn tortillas instead of bread! (Stay Away From The Muffins :/..500 Empty Calories EACH!!!)
*Choose salad with dressing on the side… ALWAYS!
*Drink more water, tea, and coffee instead of soda.
*Eat small portions before and after exercise to help your metabolism move fast and help keep the body from feeding on itself.
Rule #4: Take The Magic Pill! There is NO magic pill to make us completely super human but Juice Plus is certainly very close! Juice Plus offers 5-8 servings of fruits, vegetables, and berries absorbed in your system every single day in the easiest form possible: a simple pill. It’s a daily nutritional food concentrate that has over 20 scientific health studies backed by physicians all over the world and is proven effective and actively absorbed into the body and bloodstream.
Juice Plus+ is made from fresh, high-quality fruits and vegetables. The fruits and vegetables are juiced, and the juices are then concentrated into powders using a proprietary drying process that carefully maintains temperatures at levels that preserve as much of the original nutrient quality as possible!
Rule #5: Bodies In Motion.. Stay In Motion! Last but not least you must believe in participating in some sort of physical activity at least 2-3 times a week in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle! Calories In… Calories Out! Plain and simple if your calorie intake is high then you will need to balance it out with high-calorie burning workouts 🙂 Roworx offers 4 ways to get fit and healthy for the holidays and throughout the year. Indoor Rowing, Boot camp, Zumba, and Spinning offer high-calorie burning workouts to set you up for life!
Always remember to be patient and know that whenever you change a lifestyle or habit it takes time (avg. of 28 days to break a habit). The good news is once you have made these healthy decisions you will be on the road to healthy, more energetic, balanced lifestyle! The video below will show other great ways to get your nutrients from Superfoods! Check it out 🙂
Jack Nunn is the head trainer and owner of Roworx. Jack is a former national team rower who has competed in more than 100 triathlons, including 9 full Ironmans. He has created a system of rowing that prepares the whole body for both competition and fitness longevity.