When someone is injured, the first phase of healing is the inflammatory stage. This is characterized by pain, swelling, redness, and warmth. Healing chemicals are brought to the injured area.
While inflammation is necessary for the repairing process, too much can cause additional damage or sensitivity.
Participating in physical activity will help aid the removal of excess inflammation. Depending on the injury, you may need to find new ways to engage in physical activity.
Nutrition actually plays a powerful role in managing your inflammation. Nutrition is also super helpful in preventing injuries and getting back to full strength at the end-stages of recovery, but we will cover those in other posts.
Before we dive in, I want to mention that some of these foods, herbs, and supplements may interact with medications. Most notably, taking ginger may hinder the effectiveness of blood-thinning drugs. Consult with your physician or a nutritionist prior to making big changes to your diet if you are taking medications or have gastrointestinal issues.
Anti-Inflammatory Foods and Oils
Berries (especially blueberries)
Dark leafy greens
Red and yellow bell peppers
Mixed nuts and seeds
Flax oil or ground flax
Anti-Inflammatory Herbs and Spices
Curcumin (from turmeric or curry powder)
7 tsp per day of powder
400-600 mg per day in supplement form
100-250 mg per day in capsules
250-1000 mg per day of extract
May interact with anticoagulants (i.e. Warfarin)
2-4 cloves per day
600-1200 mg of aged garlic extract
Bromelain (from pineapple)
2 cups of pineapple per day
500-1000 mg in supplement form
Green tea extracts
Pro-Inflammatory Foods to Avoid
Foods high in saturated fats
Whole-fat dairy products
Foods with trans fats
Proper nutrition can really speed up the healing process. It is equally important to avoid pro-inflammatory foods as it is to add anti-inflammatory foods.
A few simple changes can go a long way.
Take care of your body and it will take care of you.
Corey Hall, PT, DPT