Muscle tears are one of the leading reasons that people visit a physiotherapist. While we do dedicate a lot of time to providing you with DIY information about injury prevention (muscle tears included) it’s important to address some ways to heal your ailment, outside of the scope of what we do for you at our clinic.
Nutrition is a hot topic in this capacity, with many patients wondering if there is anything that they can add to their daily diet to assist in the recovery of common muscle tears. Today, we are providing a list of some nutritious and delicious (to some) natural foods that studies have shown to be an effective complement to a well balanced injury recovery regime.
Five Natural Foods That May Help Repair Your Muscle Tear
1. Kale (for Vitamin C and E)
This dark green leafy veggie is a superfood that packs in more nutrients than you can count. But one way it serves your needs in muscle tear repair, is that it is high in Vitamin C and E.
There are years worth of data (this study included) proving the benefits of these two vitamins in muscle repair. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that assists in reduced inflammation after an injury, while at the same time helps in protein metabolism and formation of collagen, an essential connective tissue in the body. Vitamin E represents an important factor in the defense against oxidative stress and muscle damage, with additional research showing that it is essential in the repair of the plasma membranes in cells.
2. Pumpkin Seeds (for Zinc)
If you absolutely must tear a muscle, do so in October when there is plenty of pumpkin to go around. All jokes aside, pumpkin seeds should indeed be added to your post-injury diet. This is because they are high in zinc. Zinc plays a key role in approximately 300 enzyme reactions in your body including DNA formation, cell division, and protein synthesis, all of which are necessary in healing muscle. While people commonly associate zinc with red meat and oysters, pumpkin seeds are a much more convenient option. Add them to your trail mix along with some almonds (also a good zinc source) or keep a packet in your pocket so you have them with you through the day while recovering from that pesky tear.
3. Carrots (for Vitamin A)
Vitamin A gets an “A” when it comes to assisting in collagen formation via collagenase modulation. Studies have shown that collagen cross-linkage is stronger and repair is quicker when an optimum level of Vitamin A is present. This vitamin likes to blend in with orange (oranges aside) as it is very highly concentrated in sweet potatoes (over 100% DV) and within in 1 cup raw sliced carrots (well over 100% DV) which is pretty easy to consume through the day. And if it’s cheat day, go ahead and indulge in that carrot cake muffin!
4. Tuna (for Omega 3)
Recent research shows that omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation. When inflammation near the muscle tear is present and persistent, recovery slows. But not just any form of omega-3 will do, as studies state that omega-3 fatty acids from fish, such as salmon, tuna, halibut, and mackerel make the difference because they have higher levels of the good stuff – EPA and DHA (eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid), the two omega-3 fatty acids exclusive to fish oil. Poke bowl anyone?
5. Nuts (for B-Complex Vitamins)
Without a doubt you’ll want to make sure that you’re getting a lot of B-complex vitamins when recovering from a muscle tear. This is because some key B-complex vitamins, including biotin, and Vitamin B-6 / B-9, help your body metabolize amino acids and protein. Since muscle tear repair requires new protein synthesis, the ability to process amino acids supports muscle repair. A healthy B-complex profile can be attained through a variety of natural foods, but if you’re looking to get the biggest bang for your buck, you can’t go wrong (unless you have an allergy, of course) with nuts that include almonds, chestnuts, peanuts, pistachios, pecans, and walnuts. So go nuts when it comes to getting your B-complex.
Remember, all of the above is just a complement to a physiotherapist guided plan to help you recover from a muscle tear. If you have recently sustained a torn muscle, your next step (Vancouver residents) should be to contact Absolute PhysioCare, before heading to the grocery store.