Healing Kitchen

Strains and Sprains
Although food will not avert a sprain or a strain, certain food choices, however, will promote an overall effect upon your health and your weight. Particular dietary measures may help to manage pain and inflammation caused by injury and they may also maintain proper weight and strengthen bones, muscles and ligaments. Keeping bones strong is vital for normal healing as well as keeping your skeleton robust and resistant to wear and tear. Excess weight places stress on joints and increases risk of injuries to muscles and ligaments. Keeping weight at a desirable level is important because overweight people (as well as sedentary people) are susceptible to experiencing either a sprain or a strain and should attempt to lose weight by substituting foods rich in saturated fats with healthy alternatives.

Because muscles need glycogen (derived from glucose) for maximum you should eat foods rich in complex carbohydrates. Glucose derived from complex carbohydrates is metabolized gradually, and allows your body to experience a more sustained level of activity. Also, many foods rich in complex carbohydrates are excellent sources of fiber, which makes you feel full and promotes weight loss.

We need adequate protein for maintaining muscle and joint health, and replacing protein derived from animals with plant or dairy protein sources will help to provide protein while helping to shed pounds by lowering intake of saturated fat in the diet. Plant or dairy protein sources will also confer the added benefit of nourishing minerals and phytochemicals. Important low or non-fat foods high in protein include nonfat dairy products, omega-3 rich fish, and grains such as quinoa and amaranth. Beneficial omega-3 fatty acids in fish may play a role in the healing process by conferring an anti-inflammatory effect, which may soothe discomfort from swelling in joints. Laboratory studies indicate that omega-3 fatty acids may increase healing of ligaments injured by sprains by accelerating the entry of new cells into the damaged area and speeding up collagen synthesis. Fish are a natural source of vitamin D, which is required by the body for calcium absorption and is also needed for the maintenance of healthy cartilage and bones.

Also required for optimum bone, ligament and muscle health is a diet rich in certain minerals. Calcium is vital for bone and joint strength. Magnesium works with calcium and phosphorus to form bones, and it also assists in the conversion of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats to energy. Magnesium relaxes muscles and is involved with bone metabolism. Magnesium helps the body convert vitamin D (required by the body for calcium absorption) into a form that it can use efficiently. The trace mineral manganese (found in amaranth, pineapples, shellfish and wheat germ) is also beneficial for bone metabolism and growth. Zinc, the healing mineral, promotes tissue growth, enhances mineral absorption, helps your body use protein, and it also may repair damaged tissue by activating enzymes necessary for collagen synthesis.

Anecdotal reports indicate that bromelain, an anti-inflammatory enzyme found in pineapples, may also diminish swelling. Note that pineapples contain vitamin C, which is important for collagen fitness and is helpful in repairing damaged tissue. Some studies suggest that ginger may also reduce inflammation.

We believe that it's possible to manage and/or improve certain conditions through what you eat. When we create "Mega-Recipes" for an ailment, we strive to include the maximum number of the nutrients that are shown to have benefit for that ailment.  See the list of recipes that have met our criteria for this ailment.

What You Should Eat & Why

To keep your skeleton strong you need to make sure to get enough of this bone-nourishing mineral on a daily basis.
Leading Food Sources of calcium: Broccoli, Bok choy, Amaranth, Milk, Kale, Beans, dried, Cheese, fresh, Tofu, Soybeans, Salmon, Yogurt

complex carbohydrates
Complex carbohydrates provide fuel and, as they take longer to digest than simple carbohydrates, are useful for sustained energy, and they are also a good source of fiber which assists in weight loss.
Leading Food Sources of complex carbohydrates: Broccoli, Blackberries, Rice, brown, Potatoes, Pasta, wheat, Squash, winter

Magnesium assists in the use of vitamin D, which the body needs for calcium, and it also helps the muscles to relax.
Leading Food Sources of magnesium: Spinach, Almonds, Quinoa, Avocados, Chocolate, Pumpkin seeds, Oysters, Sunflower seeds, Brazil nuts, Buckwheat, Amaranth, Barley

omega-3 fatty acids
These beneficial fatty acids may help to reduce inflammation, and preliminary studies indicate that they may also assist in the repair of damaged ligaments.
Leading Food Sources of omega-3 fatty acids: Salmon, Trout, Tuna

vitamin C
This antioxidant vitamin is helpful in keeping collagen, ligaments and tendons strong, and it helps to repair tissue and promote proper healing.
Leading Food Sources of vitamin C: Cabbage, red, Potatoes, Strawberries, Oranges, Kiwi fruit, Tangerines & other mandarins, Peppers, bell, red

vitamin D
The body needs adequate levels of vitamin D to regulate blood levels of calcium and phosphorus. Without vitamin D we wouldn’t be able to properly use calcium.
Leading Food Sources of vitamin D: Milk, Tuna, Salmon

Zinc promotes wound and tissue repair and is essential for bone health. It may also enhance mineral absorption.
Leading Food Sources of zinc: Barley, Crab, Oysters, Wheat, Beef, Lamb, Chicken, Turkey

Date Published: 05/03/2005
> Printer-friendly Version