Performance Tips

4 Nutrition Tips for Athletes Recovering from Injury

Posted on February 13, 2024

Injuries are part of an athlete’s life. You can’t avoid them forever but when you do experience an injury, it is important to do everything that you can to get back on the field/court as fast as possible. Whether you are dealing with a sprained ankle, pulled hamstring, or recovering from ACL reconstruction surgery, nutrition can help support your accelerated recovery. Let's dive into four crucial nutrition tips to help you bounce back stronger.

1. Power Up with Protein

Maintaining your regular protein intake while recovering from an injury is essential. When we are injured we are going to move less, sometimes A LOT less. Inactivity and/or bed rest blunt your body’s ability to respond to the muscle building signals of protein. This is why you need to be even more diligent about getting ample protein at each meal. Aim for high-quality sources like lean beef. A steak isn't just a tasty choice; it's packed with essential amino acids that aid muscle repair. A 3-ounce serving of beef provides about 25 grams of protein, making it an excellent choice for muscle recovery.

2. Antioxidants: Your Recovery Allies

These little warriors fight off oxidative stress and help repair cell damage. Colorful fruits and vegetables are your go-to here. But, let's not forget about beef. Surprised? Beef is rich in selenium and zinc, two antioxidants that play a crucial role in healing. One of my favorite injury recovery meals for athletes is a beef stir-fry with a rainbow of veggies to hit all your antioxidant needs.

3. Embrace Anti-inflammatory Foods

Inflammation can be a major roadblock in your recovery journey. Incorporating anti-inflammatory foods is key. Fatty fish like salmon and tuna are great. These foods contain long chain omega-3 fats that help give your cells the power to fight back against inflammation and promote healing.

4. Focus on Iron and Vitamin D

Finally, let's not forget about iron and Vitamin D – crucial for athletes, especially during recovery. Iron is essential for energy and oxygen transport in your body. Lean beef is a powerhouse of heme iron, the type your body absorbs best. For Vitamin D, while the sun is a great source, fortified foods like milk and cereals can supplement when sun exposure is limited.

Remember, recovering from an injury is not just about rest and rehab; it’s also about fueling your body with the right nutrients. Lean beef, with its protein, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties, iron, and more, can be a valuable ally in your recovery arsenal. Combine this with a variety of fruits, vegetables, and fortified foods, and you're setting yourself up for a strong comeback. Stay motivated, eat smart, and here's to a speedy recovery!