Smart nutrition could speed your return from injury, according to a new study. The research, published in the journal Sports Medicine, warns nutrient deficiencies could impair the healing process.
“Deficiencies of energy, vitamins, minerals and macronutrients – particularly protein – will impair wound healing and exacerbate loss of muscle and tendon mass and function,” it said.
In particular, it highlights the importance of maintaining a high protein intake, even if total calorie consumption declines to take account of lower energy needs in the absence of training and racing.
“Higher protein intakes (2-2.5g protein/kg body mass/day) may be warranted, but at the very least the absolute amount of protein intake should be maintained even in the face of reduced energy intake,” said the study.
It also said injured sportsmen and women may not have to cut back calorie consumption significantly because energy expenditure rises during the healing process.
“During the healing process, energy expenditure is increased, particularly if the injury is severe. Energy expenditure may be increased by 15% up to 50%, depending on the type and severity of the injury,” say the researchers.
“Thus, whereas reduced physical activity and training may result in reduced total energy expenditure, the overall reduction may be less than appears obvious.”
As for foods to avoid, the research suggests caution when consuming foods with high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids, such as mackerel and salmon that have high anti-inflammatory properties.
An element of inflammation can actually accelerate healing. It also says “alcohol impairs wound healing,” so avoid drowning your sorrows.