Regardless of whether you’re an athlete or not, almost everyone has suffered from an injury.
The question is, though, are particular foods or nutritional supplements that can help speed up the recovery process? The answer is unequivocal; YES!!
Questions like; “do I have to eat all my greens to get better quicker?” or “isn’t eating salmon and fatty fish the best way to recover from an injury?” What about supplementation? Isn’t that supposed to work?
Everyone wants to recover as quickly as possible after an injury, and most people are willing to do whatever it takes, but how many know or understand the importance nutrition plays in recovery? Moreover, how many know that greens powders play a critical role in that recovery process?
Let’s take a deeper look at why greens play the critical role they do, but first, let’s look at injury and recovery.
Injury And The Healing Process
When you get injured, it can be a real bummer, and the first thing on most people’s minds is, “how long before I can get back to training?” What actually happens to the body when you are injured or recovering from a long strenuous workout?
Let’s say you twist your ankle, something most people have done before, immediately after it swells; this inflammation is the body’s way of protecting itself from disease, injury, or prolonged workouts.
Inflammation is an essential component of the repair process as it delivers new cells and nutrients to the site of the injury or soreness.
On the other hand, prolonged inflammation can have damaging long-term effects on the body and can dramatically increase the time needed to recover.
Reactive Oxygen Species
ROS or reactive oxygen species are a common byproduct after has cell has been injured or damaged. After an injury, and if you continue to train, not allowing enough time to recover, the cells multiply, leading to a high amount of ROS in the system.
How do we deal with this? That’s when nutrition starts to play an integral part in ridding the body of ROS, but what kind of nutrition? The answer is antioxidants.
In recent years the term antioxidant has become a buzzword around the health and wellness industry, and many people view it almost as a silver bullet. While antioxidants are certainly not a “silver bullet,” they are one of the body’s wonders playing an essential role in recovery and disease prevention.
Extremely high levels of ROS have been shown to lead to oxidative stress. This “oxidative stress” puts the athlete at further risk of developing an injury, muscle fatigue, and soreness, leading to more damaging long-term consequences such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. So you can see when recovering from injury, this is the exact opposite of what we’re trying to achieve.
Injuries can be a very frustrating part of an athlete’s life and, in some respects, are unavoidable; the good news is that nutrition can help speed up the recovery process.
Antioxidants play a critical role in providing and delivering blood flow which aids in the recovery process. Some antioxidants can be found within our bodies, but generally, we need to get the rest through strategic eating, which generally includes greens.
When looking at current research or data, athletes are typically encouraged to eat and supplement with foods that contain high amounts of antioxidants. As we’ve seen, antioxidants play an essential role in reducing inflammation and thus speeding up recovery.
Another critical point here is that athletes should avoid foods that can cause inflammation post-injury, such as fried foods, trans-fat, saturated oils, and gluten.
Vitamin C And Its Role In Recovery
Post-injury, rest is vitally important to help quicken the recovery process, and vitamin C plays an integral part in that process.(2)
Ensuring the body has the essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients it needs to recover efficiently is of paramount importance. Let’s take a look below at some of the reasons Vitamin C is one of your most powerful allies.
Lowers Cortisol Levels
After undergoing high-intensity exercise, the body’s level of cortisol drastically increases. What does this mean? Well, highly high levels of cortisol have been shown to have harmful effects on muscles and can lead to complete muscle breakdown.
Vitamin C lowers cortisol levels meaning after you’ve completed a strenuous workout, your body is quickly on the road to recovery; no lost gains and the chance to get back to work even quicker.
Everyone has experienced muscle soreness in some form, whether it’s a tough professional tennis match or just feeling sore after a run-around with the kids.
Overtraining can lead to muscle inflammation which is where the soreness originates from.
Muscle And Tissue Recovery
Muscles and tissue are all connected, and the substance that binds them all together is collagen. Supplementing with high levels of Vitamin C helps with the production of collagen along with essential amino acids that contribute to the healing process. (3)
Adding manganese to your Vitamin C supplementation is also an excellent way to stimulate the production of active key enzymes that help form collagen.
Say Bye-Bye To Oxidative Stress
In its basic terms, oxidative stress is an imbalance that occurs between free radicals, which we’ve all heard of, and antioxidants. Oxidative stress may lead to career-ending ailments such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and other inflammatory conditions.
Taking high levels of Vitamin C has been shown to reduce the harmful effects of oxidative stress, and when combined with vitamin E, it becomes a potent strategy in the body’s recovery process.(4)
Greens are great for many things; boosting the immune system, increasing focus, improving memory and sleep quality, and even quickening the recovery process.
As mentioned earlier, getting injured is inevitable, whether a severe injury like a broken bone or something as minor as a pulled muscle or the common cold.
Making greens supplementation part of your daily routine is essential, in speeding up your recovery time and getting you back on the road to a healthy, productive life sooner rather than later.