Muscle aches, sprains, tears or strains? Being sidelined by a muscle or joint injury is no fun, especially if you lead a particularly busy or active lifestyle. But is there anything else you can do besides rest? Well, it turns out that yes, you can.
Your diet and nutrient intake can play an important role in speeding up your healing process and muscle repair. This article looks at the best nutrients you can include for help your body repair itself.
How our body repairs soft tissues
Mainly, the body repairs itself through a necessary inflammatory process and intricate physiological recovery. In general, it is believed that there are three stages involved in the repair of soft tissue damage: inflammation, proliferation, and remodeling.
Inflammation involves increased movement of inflammatory chemicals into the injured area to try to remove damaged and dead cells caused by the injury. Inflammation is necessary in the healing process; without it, lesions won’t heal, so don’t try to remove it completely.
However, excessive inflammation can cause tissue damage and destruction, so it’s important to monitor and track your injury and know if it’s chronic or not. Devil’s claw has traditionally been used to help relieve inflammation by gently breaking down inflammatory pathways without completely blocking them.
After the inflammation stage subsides, the second stage of the repair process begins, proliferation. This process is essentially the formation of scar tissue, which shrinks and shortens as it matures, thereby reducing the site of injury. This is why special attention should be paid to injured areas, as this scar tissue can make the area feel tighter and more sensitive than before.
Once the scar tissue has matured into stronger collagen, remodeling can occur. Remodeling is critical throughout the recovery process as it aims to maintain as much mobility and flexibility in the injured area as it tries to maintain the length of the scar tissue.
How does our body repair bones?
Bone healing is similar to that of soft tissue, although not the same. Bone healing requires a four-stage process: reactive phase inflammation, soft callus formation, hard callus formation, and bone remodeling.
In a similar way to soft tissue repairBone healing begins with reactive inflammation, which causes the fractured bone and surrounding tissues to swell.
Once the inflammation, pain, and swelling have subsided somewhat, the formation of soft calluses can begin. This stage causes the area to harden as a result of new bone formation.
The formation of hard callus covers the soft callus, unites the fracture and generates more force in the weakened area.
Finally, bone remodeling occurs, which corrects the deformities that have arisen as a result of the injury. This stage can last up to several years and involves the formation of new cartilage that fuses with bone tissue to form lamellar bone. Over time, it becomes trabecular bone, which is almost as strong as the original bone.
How nutrients can help in muscle and bone repair
As we have seen, the bone and soft tissue repair It is a very complex process that our body needs a lot of energy, minerals and vitamins to carry out effectively. And while your diet alone isn’t enough to heal these types of injuries, it can certainly help speed up the process. So which nutrients are best to include more of?
When it comes to repair the body, protein is essential and animal protein is the best. It is the basis of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood and is used to build and repair tissues, produce enzymes, hormones, and other body chemicals.
Protein is essential for healthy muscles and joints. It makes up the majority of your tendons and ligaments and is the building block construction for new collagen and elastinwhich are necessary for repair.
Broken down, protein is made up of amino acids, the building blocks for each and every structure in your body. Unfortunately, like essential fatty acids, your body cannot make certain amino acids on its own, and therefore you must consume them through your diet.
The muscle repair process It depends on the availability of amino acids. During the proliferation stage of the recovery process, amino acids are used as building blocks to help create new muscle fiber. Amino acids can enhance protein synthesis within the muscles, particularly when consumed with carbohydrates.
- Wild fish and shellfish
- Red and white meats fed in free grazing
Protein-rich vegetable proteins
Magnesium acts as a muscle and nervous system relaxant, and is also responsible for helping you fight fatigue and regulate your mood. Magnesium is involved in more than 300 chemical processes in the body, including nerve function, blood pressure regulation, bone health, hormonal interactions, and protein and fat synthesis.
Magnesium is also very important to your muscles’ ability to contract and relax, making it a great mineral to help relieve pain. muscle cramps.
This is an important mineral. Unfortunately, it is one of the most common minerals we are deficient in despite being widely available in our diet. Long-term deficiency can lead to weaker bones because the body needs magnesium to use calcium, which helps keep bones strong.
Foods rich in magnesium:
- Dark chocolate
- Pumpkin seeds
When we think of vitamin C, we usually think of its super immune-boosting qualities, and while that’s true, vitamin C is also a key component of collagen production and ligament repair. This vitamin helps directly in the tissue growth and repair in all parts of the body and helps the body produce collagen. It is also needed to heal wounds and repair and maintain bones and teeth.
Vitamin C is water soluble, which means that our bodies cannot produce it on their own. However, it is widely available in foods such as oranges and other fruits. Vitamin C helps reduce inflammation, speeds up the recovery process, helps maintain cartilage and bone tissuesand protects us internally from free radicals.
Vitamin C also plays an important role in collagen synthesis as it helps form bonds between collagen fiber strands. If we have a vitamin C deficiency, the collagen fibers formed are usually weaker, which means that we will be more prone to more injuries.
Foods rich in vitamin C:
Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids help fight inflammation and improve collagen formation. Omega-3 fatty acids can reduce the production of molecules and substances related to inflammation, such as inflammatory cytokines and eicosanoids. Research has shown a link between increased omega-3 intake and reduced inflammation.
Other studies have indicated that omega-3s may also help improve bone and joint health, and that a increased omega-3s may help improve bone strength by increasing the amount of calcium in the bones.
Your body cannot make these fatty acids on its own, so you must find them through your diet. They are probably the most important nutrient for modulating inflammation, and while you need some inflammation, a lot of it can be quite damaging to your body.
Foods rich in omega-3:
- flax seeds
- Wild rice
- chia seeds
Every tissue in your body contains zinc, making it an important mineral for muscle healing and repair. Zinc helps support protein metabolism your body needs to rebuild the injured area, helps promote wound healing, reduces inflammation, stabilizes protein structures, and helps regulate hormone levels. Zinc acts as an antioxidant to help prevent cell breakdown due to free radicals.
Zinc-rich foods include:
- Garbanzo beans
- cocoa powder
What else can I do to support my muscles and joints?
Your diet is one of the most fundamental ways you can take care of the health of your muscles and joints, although there are other things you can do to help.
Don’t exercise too much or too little
Exercise is important to maintain the mobility and flexibility of your muscles and joints, but make sure you don’t overdo it. If you exercise regularly, allow for a few rest days to give your body time to adjust and recover.
sometimes rest is the best
If you experience a muscle or joint injury, sometimes resting is best. Applying an ice pack or taking a hot bath can help ease the pain.