Injury/Recovery Nutrition

Posted on 10:38 AM by Schottler

ProPam Hinton, riding buddy and nutrition and exercise physiology professor at Mizzou sent me a great email about nutrition during injury recovery. My diet during training and racing is pretty specific, but not OCD write everything down and run from cookies, like some. While recovering from injury, our bodies are working harder than when just resting. Below is super informative and helpful to make sure you get what you need to be healthy and heal quickly. Thanks ProPam!

"When we have to take some time off the bike due to injury, it is easy to think that we don’t need as many calories as we would if we were training. In many instances, however, this is not the case. Part of the body’s stress response to injury is to increase our resting metabolic rate. For example, skeletal trauma can increase our resting energy requirement by about 30%. Blunt trauma and head trauma also elevate energy needs by 40% and 60%, respectively. So after a serious injury, we actually need as much, if not more, energy as we do when we are training.

Fluid needs will be increased if there is an elevation in metabolic rate or if there is significant loss of fluid due to bleeding or large road rash wounds. Aim for a minimum fluid intake of 2-3 liters per day.

Protein intake is also important during recovery as it provides the amino acids that are needed for tissue synthesis and repair. Protein needs will also be higher if protein is being lost from the wound, as is the case with severe road rash. Try to consume 1.2-1.5 g of protein per kg of body weight per day.

If you follow a low-fat diet, now is a good time to be sure that you are getting enough fat in your diet. Fat is a component of cell membranes, so if your body is making or repairing a lot of cell membranes, it needs fat to work with. It is recommended that athletes consume 10-35% of their total energy from dietary fat. As an example, if an athlete needs 3000 calories per day, at least 300 of those calories should be from fat. This would be equivalent to a minimum of 33 grams of fat, i.e., 300 calories divided by 9 calories per gram of fat. Athletes should make an effort to consume fats from different sources, since foods differ in the type of fats they contain. Omega-3 fatty acids are particularly important during recovery because of their effects on the immune system. These fats, which are found in fatty fish and nuts, have anti-inflammatory properties. It is recommended that adult women consume at least 1.1 g of omega-3 fatty acids daily.

During recovery it is especially important to consume adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals. Many of the vitamins and minerals are needed for the chemical reactions that are part of making new muscle, skin, and blood cells. Other vitamins and minerals have anti-oxidant properties, meaning they are able to reduce destruction of cell membranes and tissue damage. Cells of the immune system also need these nutrients to function properly and a functioning immune system will help prevent secondary infections from setting in and complicating recovery.

If, because of your injury, it is difficult to eat or if your appetite is decreased, choose foods that are energy and nutrient dense. For example, dairy products made with whole milk that have more calories per serving than the reduced-fat varieties, but still have all of the other nutrients. If eating fresh fruits and vegetables is difficult, you might consider taking a one-a-day type multivitamin and mineral supplement.

Also, be sure to follow the physician’s instructions for taking any medications. You don’t want to add nausea to your misery if you could prevent it by taking the pills with a meal. There are instances, too, where food may interfere with the absorption of a drug from the intestine, so be sure to take those prescriptions on an empty stomach when indicated."


GMapes said...

Thanks for the excellent nutritional info! Makes sense when you really think about it.

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