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Nutrition for Healing: Inflammation (Part 2 of 4)

Written by Cheryl Schwieters BS, LPTA, CSCS, Pn1
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Phase 1 Inflammation: Days 1 – 7

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This week's topic is the inflammatory phase following injury. As stated last week, this is the immediate time following injury. Injury can be described as post surgical or traumatic. At this time the body is wounded and in its most painful stage of recovery. It is bleeding and forming clots, swelling to protect itself and is usually red, hot and painful. Remember WE NEED INFLAMMATION TO HEAL! If we try to eliminate inflammation too soon we can interrupt the healing cycle. Bone healing is slightly different than soft tissue healing yet still goes through and inflammatory process with bleeding at the site and inflammation of the surrounding tissues.

 

Chronic inflammation, however, is a different beast. Constant disruption to and area can bring on other problems due to the fact it irritation never shuts off. That's why management of inflammation becomes important. We want to make sure acute does not become chronic inflammation. This is also why physicians manage chronic pain differently with use of anti-inflammatory medications.

I know what you are thinking, “If we want inflammation to happen in order to heal, why are we working to use nutrition to help decrease it?” It becomes a bit of a balancing act. Remember, we are trying to manage inflammation not stop it. Enter the anti-inflammatory diet. Sound familiar? These foods, vitamins and minerals have properties that help decrease inflammation. In fact, some even have enzymes similar to what you would find in ibuprofen but in a natural way. If we focus on these foods correctly in order to manage inflammation from getting out of hand we can assist in a successful recovery.

So what are these foods? Minimally processed and high in omega 3 fats. Foods like nuts and seeds, avocado, pineapple, fish, and flax seed. Herbs like turmeric, garlic, and boswellia. The kicker? These foods need to be eaten daily! Supplementation of certain nutrients provided in pill form can be useful to achieve the daily needs because let's be honest, eating two cups of pineapple every day might get a bit boring!

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Over the next two installments we will be discussing the final stage of injury recovery, caloric needs and the benefits of micro nutrients(vitamins and minerals) through these stages.

Fast Fact: Not all anti-inflammatory foods should be eaten in excess but some may be done unlimited supply: garlic, turmeric, cinnamon, and ginger have no set amounts and may be eaten in surplus.

If you missed part 1, read it here!

 

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