Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Can Food Fix Me?

I have stopped riding and put my arm in a sling. A ligament on the outside of my shoulder kept getting enflamed during daily use (folding laundry, working on computer, cleaning dishes). Riding a bike isn't bad, but I just want to get better.

I've read using and moving an injury increases healing and collagen repair...

I think I am going to consume more protein, vitamins A & C and maybe take some glucosomine and condroitin...

I just want to be back for CX season...

Nutritional Strategies for Injury Recovery
Increase protein intake to offset potential muscle breakdown that can occur post-injury
Aim for a range of 1.5-2.og/kg.
Protein meals should be divided among 4-6 smaller meals throughout the day and should ideally consist of lean, complete and bioavailable sources (poultry, fish, eggs, lean beef, cottage cheese, whey protein powder).

Good sources are: veggies and fruits, whole grains, beans, legumes, oats. Avoid sugars and refined carbs.
Include carbs in sufficient amounts in early stages to keep calories sufficient, but consider cutting back after a week or two post-injury/surgery - especially if weight control is a concern.

Fats are formidable allies in reducing inflammation. Omega-3's are the hallmark fats for reducing inflammation. Monounsaturated fats are also helpful.
Good fat sources include: Fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines), flaxseeds, nuts, olive oil, avocados, pumpkin/sunflower/sesame seeds.
Fats that can hinder healing by increasing inflammation: Trans fats, omega-6 fats and saturated fats.

Vitamins, Minerals and Supplements
Vitamin A:
Why it's good: Promotes cell growth/repair, boosts immune function, and enhances bone development.
Food sources: Liver, sweet potatoes, carrots, mango, spinach, papaya, red peppers.
Amount: Up to 10,000 I.U.'s

Vitamin C:
Why it's good: Collagen formation, replenishes blood levels of vitamin C brought on by injury, enzyme activity for metabolism, increased immune function
Food sources: Broccoli, red peppers, oranges, strawberries, cabbage, grapefruit, cantaloupe.
Amount: 1000-2000mg


Why it's good: Wound healing, enzyme reactions
Food sources: Meat, seafood, sunflower seeds, almonds
Amount: 15-30 mg

Supplements that May be Helpful
Fish oil
Amino Acids (arginine, ornithine, glutamine)

Superfoods for Recovery
Salmon (omega-3's)
Almonds (fat/protein, zinc)
Olive oil (Anti-inflammatory - works like ibuprofen)
Broccoli (vitamin C, fiber, antibacterial)
Apples (flavanoids - protect cells from oxygen damage, prevent inflammation
Curry (anti-inflammatory)
Pineapple (bromelain - analgesic)
Garlic (allicin - anti-inflammatory, improves macrophage function)
Grass fed beef (protein, vitamin, minerals)
Papaya (vitamins A, C and papain - enzyme that increases immune function)

Article from Runer's World

Eating for Injury Prevention

There's no doubt that smart training helps prevent injuries. But so will a wholesome diet, filled with foods that will enable your body to mount a strong defense against muscle strains and tears. Here are three nutritional strategies to prevent injuries:

1. Eat more. If you followed Survivor: The Australian Outback TV series, you may have noticed how gaunt the participants appeared after subsisting for weeks on daily rations of rice. This type of chronic malnutrition puts your body in prime "injury-waiting-to-happen" mode.

Many runners get stuck in this mode for extended periods of time, either to lose weight or because they're too busy to cook a real meal. How do you know if your body needs more calories? Keep track of your weight and eating patterns. If your weight fluctuates for no apparent reason, or if the quality of your eating is sporadic and generally unhealthful, you should consider a slight increase in high-quality calories.

2. Pile on the protein. True, a high-carbohydrate diet will fuel your running. But many runners take this advice to the extreme, living on bagels, pasta, and energy bars. Besides carbohydrate, you also need 80 to 100 grams of protein a day to maintain your muscles and other soft tissues. A small 3-ounce serving of chicken provides about 25 grams of protein, a glass of milk 10, a soy burger 14, and a hard-boiled egg 6. If you're only eating one protein source a day, you're not consuming enough. Try to include some protein in every meal.

3. Don't forget zinc and iron. Runners often skimp on these two important trace nutrients found predominantly in red meat. Though research hasn't linked zinc and iron deficiency with increased injury rates, I've noticed the connection when working with injured athletes, and so have many of my sports-nutrition colleagues.

You need 15 milligrams of zinc and 18 milligrams of iron a day. Most runners don't consume nearly that much, which is why I recommend eating a zinc- and iron-fortified breakfast cereal or taking a multivitamin that contains both minerals. Foods that are good sources of both zinc and iron include lean beef, poultry, seafood, and lentils.
Dining During Downtime

If you get injured, the length of your downtime is determined by the severity of your injury, and the degree to which your body is nutritionally prepared to handle this new stress.

If you have a severe injury as I do, and you can't run, you're probably wondering: "How can I avoid gaining weight?"

Relax. Even though you're not running, you're still burning calories--between 5 to 15 percent more than usual--to repair your tattered body. Also, for most injuries, total downtime usually lasts about 2 weeks. After that, you might not have the green light to run, but you may be able to do other forms of exercise, such as swimming or pool running.

But if you restrict your calories too much during this initial 2-week period, you might lengthen your recovery because your body won't have enough protein to both repair your injury and carry out typical bodily functions.

So, how do you prevent weight gain and still ensure a sound recovery? Don't cut back more than 500 calories a day. And if you notice that you're losing weight, start eating more immediately.

Other than calories, you need many of the same nutrients for recovery as you need for injury prevention. But now they're even more important. Bump up your protein intake to 100 to 120 grams a day. Zinc and iron are also crucial for recovery, which is why I've been eating lean meat nearly every day. The following nutrients are also a must:

Calcium: If you have a stress fracture or a broken bone, your body really needs this important mineral. You should take in up to 1,500 milligrams a day. If you don't eat dairy products, take a supplement, or drink calcium-fortified juice.

Vitamin A: Your body uses this vitamin to make new skin and other tissues that are vital to your healing. New research shows that your body isn't as efficient as we thought at converting the carotenes from fruits and vegetables into vitamin A. This means you need to eat even more of them. You should have two servings of leafy greens and yellow and orange vegetables every day during your recovery. Drinking vitamin A-fortified milk is also a good idea.

Vitamin C: Your body needs this antioxidant to make collagen, an adhesive-like protein found in your bones, connective tissues, and blood vessels. When you're injured, collagen is the substance that glues the injured area back together. Women need 75 milligrams of vitamin C each day, and men need 90 milligrams. If you eat a diet rich in berries, cantaloupe, oranges, and other fruit, you'll easily meet this requirement.
Refuel for Recovery

Once you've been given the go-ahead to start running again, you still need to take extra precautions. I'm sure you already know not to up your mileage and intensity too quickly. You'll also want to continue to adhere to a wholesome diet rich in protein, minerals, and antioxidants.

At this point you may want to add a supplement to the mix. Once you've injured a joint, you're at higher risk for developing osteoarthritis (a degenerative joint condition not uncommon among aging athletes). Fortunately, the supplements glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate have been shown to help decrease inflammation and improve mobility in people with osteoarthritis.

These two supplements may also help promote cartilage growth. But it's not certain whether glucosamine, an amino sugar, and chondroitin, one of the substances that make up cartilage, work alone or need to be taken together. So for now, take 1,200 to 1,500 milligrams of each, three times a day. Why so often? These supplements don't last long in your body, so frequent supplementation ensures that they're present at all times to nourish your joints. (Warning: If you take blood thinners such as Coumadin, do not take chondroitin.)

The better you feed your body, the more likely you'll remain injury-free, and the faster you'll bounce back if you do happen to get injured. Just be patient. You'll be running again in no time. Trust me. It's what I tell myself every day.

Liz Applegate, Ph.D., is the author of the book Eat Smart, Play Hard, published by Rodale, Inc., and available online at www.rodalestore.com.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting notes. As a mother and teacher, I am always concerned about good health and athletics. Also in regards to recovery, interesting facts. Finally, thank you for the positive light you shine on the benefits of eating meat. I've been writing about the benefits and trying to debunk many of the myths. Thank you for your sane and practical approach to good eating -- especially for anyone physically active and/or recovering from injury.

    We raise natural beef and it's become tiresome seeing the slam against this miraculous food and animal. Lean beef contains zinc, iron (more digestible than any other form), potassium, and a host of other minerals that are wonderful in helping the body heal -- and grow.

    As a high school teacher, I saw too many kids, especially teen girls who eat way too many carbs and skimpy foods, thinking to keep their weight down, and skip protein, which is so important! New studies link the lack of beef/meat consumption with anemia in children and kids. Beef is being found to improve cognitive health, too, and has CLA, which is linked to preventing breast cancer.

    Lean beef is available in so many variations (more than 29 cuts) and are as low in fat as skinless chicken. I believe it's the WAY we cook and the amount of GARBAGE food people consume that is the biggest culprit in poor nutrition/obesity/health issues.

    Again, thanks for your column. Sound nutrition should be a concern for everyone and to sacrifice good health while trying to fight obesity or injury is not a good thing.