Whether you’ve been injured or are recovering from medical treatment you must do everything possible to rehabilitate your body. Adequate rest, physical therapy and medications — as recommended by your doctor at the Southeastern Spine Institute — are all critical to your recovery. But don’t neglect the power of healing foods.
While striving for a balanced diet promotes good overall health, healing foods encourage your body to recover from trauma. Eating the right foods actually speeds the healing process because it gives your body the fuel it needs to repair itself.
What Are Healing Foods?
Recovering from an injury or surgery requires sufficient doses of certain nutrients. While supplements are beneficial, your body processes nutrients from whole foods easier. The healthy and delicious healing foods to speed your recuperation include:
- Leafy green vegetables. Just as your parents told you, these vegetables are good for you. Collard greens, spinach, arugula, Swiss chard and kale are high in fiber and full of nutrients that reduce inflammation and enhance your immune system.
- Garlic. This natural antibiotic is especially helpful for recovery from surgery or bacterial infections.
- Shellfish. Seafood — like clams, mussels and oysters — offer nutrients, including large amounts of zinc, that support your immune system and promotes healing.
- Eggs. Your body needs extra protein following surgery, and eggs provide large amounts of easily digestible protein. Eggs also contain healing minerals like iron and zinc, as well as vitamins B12 and A.
- Oats. Rich in antioxidants and soluble fiber, oats help your body regulate blood sugar and cholesterol levels. They also give you B vitamins, magnesium, copper, zinc and iron to strengthen your immune system.
- Bone broth. Not so much a food itself, it’s a base for soups and stews. This collagen-rich liquid is packed with trace minerals, silicon, phosphorus, sulfur, magnesium and calcium. Bone broth reduces inflammation, promotes bone health, prevents infections and heals your gut lining.
- Oily fish. Besides being good for your brain and eyesight, fish oil – or the oil from wild salmon –acts as an anti-inflammatory and painkiller. It provides protein, iron, zinc, B vitamins and selenium, which reduces inflammation and promotes healing.
- Milk. A rich source of nutrients, the calcium and vitamin D in milk strengthen your bones, making it an ideal healing food for your spine after surgery. It’s also an important source of vitamin K and protein, which help your recovery process.
- Organ meats. Perhaps the most nutrient-rich food available, organ meats are high in protein and offer loads of nutrients critical to recoveries, such as iron, zinc, vitamin A, B vitamins and copper. Organ meats, like liver and tongue, promote your immune response to heal wounds.
- Probiotics. Composed of live bacteria and yeast, probiotics help your body control the bad bacteria responsible for infections. Kefir, sauerkraut, yogurt and kimchi are all popular cultured foods with plenty of good bacteria to help your body reduce inflammation and infections.
These 10 healing foods help you recover from an injury or surgery. But you’d be wise to avoid foods that inhibit healing. Processed foods, sugar and alcohol all lead to inflammation, slowing your recovery. If you have any doubts or need more guidance, don’t hesitate to contact your medical doctors at the Southeastern Spine Institute. They’ll get you back to feeling your best.