Want a faster recovery? Eat these foods.
Successful recovery has nothing to do with luck, chance or biological magic. How your body responds to spinal injury can actually come down to diet — and if the power to heal is in your hands, or in this case, stomach, are you using your powers for good?
“Healing foods can help your body repair damaged spinal discs, fight inflammation and regenerate cells for tissue growth,” said Dr. Jennifer Martin, a Consult Physician at Laser Spine Institute. “Your daily diet influences about 80 percent of what happens in your body.”
At 80 percent, why risk it? Depending on the foods you choose, eating for injury recovery can either build your body up or tear it down further. To jump-start your anti-inflammatory healing diet, we asked Dr. Martin about the best ways to meal plan after a neck or back injury:
Seek out vitamin C
It’s difficult for your body to get enough vitamin C — especially because it can’t produce it on its own. Whether it’s after an injury or surgery, vitamin C is essential for healing. “Vitamin C helps to produce collagen, which promotes growth of connective tissue like ligaments, tendons, muscles and bones,” said Dr. Martin.
During recovery, load up on foods rich in vitamin C:
- Citrus fruits, like oranges and kiwi
- Brussels sprouts
- Leafy greens, like kale
Find healthy fats
Fat isn’t all bad, as long as you’re looking in the right places. Dr. Martin recommends healthy fats and lean proteins to help repair the body postoperatively or post injury:
- Anti-inflammatory nuts, like almonds and walnuts
- Skinless chicken
- Olive or coconut oils
- Tofu or soy-based foods
Increase your iron
For spine health, upping your iron intake is always a good move. “Iron is essential to proper healing,” said Dr. Martin. “It’s an important component of the hemoglobin that transports oxygen throughout to body.”
Try these iron-rich foods for injury recovery:
- Sweet potatoes
- Beans and peas
Recovery doesn’t start or end with medical treatment. With a little meal planning, you can help leverage the healing properties of food for your neck or back injury. If you’re suffering from a prolonged neck or back injury or the unsuccessful results of a traditional open spine surgery, Laser Spine Institute is here to help. Contact Laser Spine Institute to find out how we’ve helped more than 75,000 people find relief from failed back surgery syndrome and other chronic spine conditions.