Your body has a system that helps you recover after an injury. Medicine will make the system work faster, but the thousands of biological and chemical reactions in the body promote the healing process. For instance, the white blood cells will fight bacteria to reduce infection while bone cells called osteoblasts knit your bones together after a bone injury. As such, your body can naturally heal with a little help from you. Here’s how:
Adopt Healthy Eating Habits
The easiest way to stay healthy and avoid diseases is to eat healthy. Different foods have different roles in your body. For instance, vitamin A is important in healing the skin and bones while vitamin C is crucial in development of collagen. When you are healthy, you get away with poor diet habits such as skipping breakfast and using coffee around the clock. However, after an injury, these habits will affect your health significantly. After an injury, focus on eating at least five times – three main meals and two snacks. A healthy meal should contain:
• Carbohydrates – Always go for wholemeal foods as they break down slowly to reduce a sugar spike. Sugar spikes are dangerous during recovery as they might cause inflammation. Choose complex carbohydrates such as seed, legumes, nuts, and whole grains.
• Proteins – Your body needs body building foods to recover from an injury. Proteins from plants have important phytochemicals that help you recover fast. If your injury is extensive, talk to your doctor to find out your protein needs. Between 15 and 20 percent of your daily calorie intake should be from proteins.
• Fruits and Veggies – These provide you with healing nutrients such as vitamins and minerals that facilitate fast recovery. Vitamin C is particularly important in wound recovery. Lycopenes, antioxidants on tomatoes and other fruits, boost your immune function. Choose dark colored fruits and vegetables for antioxidants and phytochemicals.
• Supplements – If there are some nutrients you can’t find in foods, find natural supplements to boost your health. A multivitamin can help you during recovery.
After an injury, you need a lot of rest, but you also need to keep moving. Your doctor will advise how you can exercise at home, or you can check into a center that offers physical therapy in Portland Oregon or your particular locale for further guidance. Physical exercise improves hemostasis, a process in which chemicals in your blood interact with each other. Staying flexible also enhances the healing of your bones, tendons, ligaments, and muscles. Exercise is also the easiest way to reduce the formation of fibrosis (excessive scar tissue). A couple of minutes of exercise every day enhance blood circulation for faster healing.
There are different forms of exercise including yoga that you can start after an injury. However, you need to talk to your physician before you start. To avoid exacerbating the injury before full recovery, increase your physical activity gradually. You can start with 500 steps a day and increase gradually until you hit the recommended 10,000 steps a day.
Sleep and Rest
Your body needs sleep to heal naturally. A healthy person should sleep seven or eight hours every day. After an injury, you need more than that to promote your health and heal faster. Most of the body’s natural healing functions occur when you sleep. For instance, your body releases melatonin when you sleep and the hormone boosts your immune system. If you are feeling pain, discomfort, and a fever that makes it challenging to sleep, you need to naturally handle these conditions for a better sleep. If you feel fatigued and in pain, you can take on physical therapy to ease the pain and the fatigue.
Get Your Mind Into It
Your brain controls all processes in your body. It is important, therefore, that you are in the right mental state. You can try mental strategies such as meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, and guided imagery to strengthen the immune system and reduce stress hormones. You also need to observe your mood as it affects how fast you heal and get back your health. You also need to surround yourself with those who love you and give you peace. You can also dig into your spirituality – that moment of silence and connecting to someone or something bigger than you will help.
Whatever you do, you have to keep your physician in the loop. Different injuries have different nutritional and exercise requirements, and your physician can guide you.