Sports Injuries & Rehab
Foods That Help Your Body Heal
Get a Boost from Power Foods
Whether you’re fighting fatigue, searching for ways to boost your immune system, or recovering from an illness, doctors often recommend healthy lifestyle changes. Prevention and management of symptoms can often significantly be helped through the foods you eat.
Click through the slideshow to learn how to empower yourself through diet.
Kelp—Increases Your Iodine Intake
Low thyroid levels can cause sluggishness, weight gain, and moodiness. Iodine is essential to the thyroid, the butterfly-shaped gland in the neck.
Kelp is rich in calcium, magnesium, potassium, and—most important for low thyroid levels—iodine. Be aware that overconsumption of iodine can create problems too. The key is a moderate amount to raise energy levels and brain functioning.
Other power greens include kale, bok choy, spinach, parsley, green beans, and alfalfa.
You may recognize ginger as a cooking spice, but its centuries-old uses range from aiding digestion and calming upset stomach to treating arthritis. Ginger is now widely recognized for its ability to reduce nausea, particularly for postoperative nausea and vomiting (PONV).
Sources of ginger include ginger root (prepared as tea), foods and drink, and in an herbal form in extracts, capsules, and oils.
Mushrooms are hailed for their health-promoting properties. Common types of mushrooms include white button, shiitake, portabella, and crimini.
Studies continue to examine how shiitake mushrooms may fight cancer by boosting the immune system through the compound lentinan, believed to slow tumor growth. According to the American Cancer Society, “at least one randomized clinical trial of lentinan has shown it to prolong life of patients with advanced and recurrent stomach and colorectal cancer.”
Fats: Good vs. Bad
Calorie-counting often leads to the drastic reduction of fat from the diet. However, fat is essential for your brain to function properly. Cutting fat entirely may lead to depression.
Healthy fats—monounsaturated and polyunsaturated—may reduce your risk of heart disease. Healthy sources include fatty fish, avocado, olive oil, and certain nuts, such as walnuts, almonds, and pecans.
Carbohydrates give you energy. However, in today’s fast-paced world, many of us often turn to processed carbs that don’t provide other nutrients. Beets are a natural energy supply packed with carbs, calcium, iron, and vitamins A and C.
Beets are equipped to satisfy a mid-afternoon sugar craving without the guilt. Plus, studies published in the journal Nahrung reveal that beets may help fight cancer and protect against heart disease.
Probiotics are live microorganisms ("friendly bacteria”) that your body needs to protect against disease. They can be found in foods like yogurt, kefir, and soy beverages. Probiotics can also be obtained in supplement form.
Ongoing studies continue to explore the potential of probiotics to treat diseases including irritable bowel syndrome, skin infections, and certain cancers. A report from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine supports the use of probiotics to treat diarrhea and prevent infections of the urinary tract.
Calcium—Heals Broken Bones
Eating calcium-rich foods (versus calcium pills) is a recommended step toward healing broken bones. The next step is incorporating vitamin D, which helps your body absorb the calcium.
Calcium sources include dairy products (such as yogurt and milk), green vegetables (such as kale), nuts, and beans. Vitamin D sources include eggs, dairy, and fatty fish (such as sardines and salmon).
Swiss Chard—Bountiful in Benefits
A relative of the beet, Swiss chard provides an excellent source of vitamins C, E, and K, as well as fiber, zinc, and calcium. A wide green leaf with stalks that range in color from white to red to yellow, Swiss chard combines bitter and salty.
This nutrition-packed vegetable supports bone health, fights stress-related disease, and holds anti-inflammatory properties. Sautee it, toss it in a salad, or replace it for spinach in any dish.
More Resources—Prevention and Management
Healing and healthy living require balance. Avoid or limit empty calories and foods that rob you of energy and harm your health. Opting for nutritious foods to fuel your day will help prevent illness and improve recovery should an injury occur.