Preventing Sports Injuries Through Proper Nutrition
More injuries are occurring at a younger age
New research indicates that it is not just the older individual who is seeing a breakdown in the body but all ages when it comes to bone, collagen, connective tissue and mitochondria function.
In my practice I work with athletes of all ages and I am hearing more and more about sore and swollen joints, aching muscles, and loss of bone. If these issues are acute then we have a better chance of stopping them from going into a chronic problem.
Prevention is key and there are three important components:
· Physical Activity
· Social Connection
The role nutrition plays
I’m going to talk about diet because making some simple changes can help your body stay strong and healthy and prevent injury. Aging can cause bone loss, collagen loss and estrogen loss. Younger adults who are training at a high level can also see hormones decrease and bone loss if they are not supporting themselves with a diet that includes amino acids, minerals, vitamins and glycogen and health fats.
One reason is because of poor nutrition. Eating a healthy diet with quality lean protein, antioxidant nutrients from fruits and vegetables and healthy fats decreases your chance of your body breaking down. Athletes have a high level of activity which can contribute to the breakdown of bone and muscle and if they are not taking in enough nutrients to support the breakdown then you end up with a weak physical body that is prone to injury.
We know the body goes through a natural inflammatory response when you exercise. A diet high in inflammatory foods can create even more of an in-balance if a person is training at a high level and is prone to inflammation and muscle break down. Inflammatory foods include sugar, processed wheat, and processed foods.
Eating enough calories is crucial to sports performance and can help prevent injury as well as ensuring you are not over-eating. Being underweight means you are not getting enough nutrients to the bone and muscle and over-eating can put too much weight on the body which can contribute to injury.
The food our cells need
Supporting cellular health provides mitochondria support and decreases your chances of oxidative stress which can lead to a breakdown in your body. Also making sure you are taking in foods that include calcium, vitamin D, magnesium, boron, vitamin A, iron, vitamin C, K, collagen Type I and II can provide support for joints, bone, connective tissues and mitochondria.
Phytonutrient support can help reduce your risk of injury and provide a healthy strong body. Some of the food sources for phytonutrients would include:
Red: cherries, grapes, raspberries, radicchio – support hormones.
Orange: apricots, mango, pumpkin, sweet potato support immune healthy and cell support which in turn supports mitochondria which in turn decreases oxidative stress.
Yellow: Ginger, pineapple, banana, millet supports vascular, heart, anti-inflammatory and cell health.
Green: Bok choy, broccoli, olives, watercress, greens, green tea support hormone balance, heart health, anti-inflammatory, cell protection.
Blue/Purple/Black: Berries, cabbage, carrots, figs support heart health, cell protection, anti-inflammatory.
White/Tan/Brown: Beans, cauliflower, cocoa, coconut, coffee, garlic, ginger, mushrooms, onions, brown rice, quinoa and seeds provide anti-microbial properties, heart health, hormone health and cell protection.