For runners, getting injured is very common. Depending on the injury, we have to focus on icing, massage, compression, physio therapy, foam rolling, stretching, rest, strength work, they are all successful treatments for injuries. However, to completely heal an injury, full recovery time off is a necessary element.
Healing and Recovery Foods Can Help and Support Muscle Recovery
During the recovery and rest period for runners with bone or tendonitis injuries, some top foods are essential for recovery. Even after long-distance runs, to focus on the top recovery foods and avoid processed and artificial foods, will reduce the inflammation and the recovery time.
Our body is built to heal from the inside out and eating recovery foods are important for the healing of injuries. If we eat and provide the right foods and nutrients to our body during the healing time, the timing of an injury can be shortened.
We Need to Eat Enough Nutrients
Some research has shown that lack of nutrition and nutrients can delay the healing. Our body uses and needs the nutrients (fats, proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals) from the foods we eat to help in the process of recovery.
If we restrict the amount of nutrients we put in our body, we will have less nutrients available to provide towards recovery. We should carefully balance eating enough calories to help with recovery without overeating and gain extra weight, which will add more inflammation. The easiest way to do this is make sure we follow a nice balanced diet, and all the foods we eat are nutrient dense and help with healing and no wasted calories. Some highly restricted diets like intermittent fasting, can cause some negative issues with some people.
Top Foods to Help Recover Faster
If you just recently got affected with a runner’s injury, adding the following top recovery and healing foods and nutrients to your diet will help get back on your training and allow your body to be at its best. Even if we do not currently have any aches or pains or injuries, adding these foods to our diet can help prepare our body for healing or even avoid some injuries.
Vitamin C Rich Foods
Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin that our body does not have the ability to produce, we need to consume it on a daily basis. Vitamin C plays an important role in the healing process by building new protein for the skin, scar tissue, tendons, ligaments and blood vessels. Vitamin C also helps our body maintain cartilage and bone tissues.
Vitamin A Rich Foods
Vitamin A promotes the production of white blood cells in our body. White blood cells are the main supporters of the injury, they help fight infection and viruses. Even if you don’t have an open wound injury, your body will still rely on the production of white blood cells to protect the injury and increase the rate of healing.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids Rich Foods
Many research studies have found that Omega-3 fatty acids have the ability to reduce inflammation, so much more than pain killers and drugs which may not be needed. The results of these numerous studies show that high-quality Omega-3s will reduce inflammation from an injury or daily run. Reducing the swelling and inflammation of an injury, will reduce the pain you may be experiencing and promote healing.
Amino Acids and Creatine Rich Foods
Meat and other animal products
Nuts, almonds, cashew
Hemp seeds, chia seeds
To accelerate recovery from injury, muscle growth and repair, the body needs amino acids (the building blocks of protein) and creatine. To combine amino acids with creatine, studies show a 3 X larger response to muscle protein and muscle rebuilding than regular protein. Another option is to take some amino acids supplements post-run or protein powder smoothie with amino acids.
Zinc Rich Foods
Nuts, almonds, cashews, peanuts
Seeds, hemp seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds
Every single tissue in our body contains zinc, it is very important in the healing process of any injury. Zinc will help our body to use the fats and proteins we consume to promote growth and healing of the injured tissue. Zinc will also help keep our immune system strong, much like vitamin A, which will protect us from other infections or viruses.
Antioxidants Rich Foods
Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries
Dark chocolate 90-100%, raw cacao nibs, cacao powder
Free radicals are the toxins that are floating around our body, especially when we sustain a running injury. They make us weaker by taking from our healthy cells. Foods like blueberries, strawberries and tart cherries help to control those free radicals, so our body can focus on repair.
Ginger and turmeric have also been named natures anti-inflammatory medicine as they accelerate recovery within our bodies.
Coffee has been proven to not only decrease recovery time, but restore Central Nervous System Function, so it can make us much better.
Protein Rich Foods
Wild caught salmon
Greek yogurt or kefir
Protein powder from bone broth or whey protein
Pea protein powder
An injury automatically increases the body’s demand for protein. Protein is required in multiple processes that take place as soon as the injury happens and during the recovery time. How quickly and how well the injury heals depends on consuming the right amounts of high-quality protein. It is essential for runners who have injuries or muscle soreness to focus more on high protein than more high carbohydrates for faster healing.
Top Foods to Eat
Fruits: strawberries, oranges, lemons, blackberries, limes, raspberries, pears, apples, blueberries
Vegetables: broccoli, cabbage, bell peppers, Brussels sprouts, tomatoes, asparagus, garlic, cucumber, onions, ginger
Nuts: almonds, cashews, pecans, peanuts, pistachios, macadamia nuts, walnuts, Brazil nuts
Seeds: hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, flaxseeds
Legumes: black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, lima beans, chickpeas, lentils
Whole Grains: quinoa, barley, buckwheat, millet, brown rice
Healthy Fats: olive oil, coconut oil, MCT oil, grass-fed butter, ghee, avocado oil
Dairy Products: goat milk, kefir, goat cheese, probiotic yogurt, raw milk
Meat: grass-fed beef, lamb
Fish: wild-caught salmon, tuna, mackerel, anchovies, sardines
Poultry: organic chicken, turkey, duck
Condiments: hummus, guacamole, apple cider vinegar, mustard, salsa, balsamic vinegar, liquid aminos
Herbs and Spices: basil, oregano, rosemary, turmeric, cinnamon, paprika, cumin, black pepper
Natural Sweeteners: stevia, raw honey, maple syrup, dates, monk fruit
Beverages: water, tea, kombucha, bone broth
Foods to Avoid
Refined Grains: white rice, white pasta, white bread, breakfast cereals
Added Sugars: soda, juice, candies, cookies, granola bars, baked goods, ice cream
Unhealthy Fats: refined vegetable oils, shortening, hydrogenated fats, fried foods
Conventional Meat and Poultry
Processed Foods: potato chips, crackers, frozen meals, microwave popcorn, processed meat, instant noodles, etc.
For runners, to add these top healing recovery foods to your diet, it will provide your body what it needs to protect, heal, repair, and recover as quickly as possible.
Eat Top Healing Foods, Recover, Enjoy Running Again & Feeling Well!