How to eat when recovering from injury is a topic that’s rarely covered.

Athletes often slip into an “Ahhhh…Fuck it!” attitude towards nutrition when they get injured.

Although easily adopted, this is a destructive attitude to adopt.

Most athletes aren’t aware that poor nutrition can slow down the recovery process, but also accelerate muscle loss, and fat gain. Making it even harder to get back to where you were.

Instead, be proactive.

Attack the injury with a positive mindset and use these tips to accelerate the process:

1.Herbs and Spices

Herbs and spices are an extremely powerful anti-inflammatory tool. That can be utilised to speed up the recovery process.

A few powerful ones to include:

i.e. turmeric (~400mg), garlic (1-2 cloves a day), pineapple/bromelain (2 cups of pineapple or ~500mg of bromelain)

2. Eat Less Inflammatory Foods

Avoid processed foods high in saturated fat, foods high in trans fats, and vegetable oils.

Everyone should be doing this.

3. Zinc Supplementation

“Zinc plays a major role in regulating every phase of the wound healing process” (Pei-Hui et al., 2018).

Consume 15-30mg per day.

4. Energy Intake is Number 1

Cuthberson et al found that metabolism has been shown to increase by 15–30% following surgery.

Keep an eye on your weight to ensure you’re not in a calorie deficit or overeating due to reduced expenditure.

5. Avoid Alcohol

Evidence shows that alcohol ingestion can impair muscle protein synthesis and wound healing (Parr et al., 2014). Furthermore even one serving of alcohol can reduce sleep quality by 9.3% (Pietilä et al., 2018), indirectly reducing recovery times.

6. Keep Protein High

1g+ of protein per pound of BW for a rule of thumb. Keep protein high to reduce muscle atrophy and promote healing following injury.

7. Eat more Anti-inflammatory Fats

Olive oil, avocados, fish oil, fish, and nuts.

Eat more anti-inflammatory fats will help aid your recovery.

8. Vitamin C Supplementation

Vitamin C is involved in all phases of wound healing.

In the inflammatory phase, it is required for neutrophil activity. Also plays important role in collagen synthesis. Supplement 1-2g a day for 2-4 weeks following injury.

Use these 8 tips on how to eat when recovering from injury, consistently stick to your rehab, keep your training as close to plan A as possible – you’ll be back before you know it.