Functional Medicine approach Injury (Good Fats and Eating to Heal):
When we are injured, numerous tissues get damaged.
When the body senses damage, immediately immune mediators kick into gear to protect the area and heal it.
In the Functional Medicine approach we want to assist the healing process, but also in acute injury we have to let it run its course to some extent.
Some muscle inflammation and bruising, and swelling is normal, but we want to help the body along with what we now know in mind body medicine.
I’m writing this while laid up with a broken clavicle. It has been fascinating to observe the bruising, swelling, and protective pain that comes along with trauma.
By eating to heal, and knowing what supplements assist my immune system, I was able to get off pain medication and ibu-profen 4 days after an immense injury to the side of my body.
Here are some easy tips for you, that I have been using to heal faster:
What to Decrease in your diet:
Eating a minimum of sugar, and processed fats will speed up my healing time by keep my internal environment in a non-inflammatory state.
Sugar has been shown to “turn on” or upregulate the inflammatory process. When blood sugar spikes, it is very stressful on the adrenals, the digestive system, and the immune system.
What to Increase in your diet: Dark berries, and vegetables have natural phytonutrients that begin to stimulate the healing process. The very constituents that give them color are different catalysts for immune stimulation in our bodies. These are called “Berry Phenolic Antioxidants.”
What is most fascinating is the concept of Hormesis. The stress that the berries go under to protect themselves from Fungus, and bacteria is the very thing that gives us the protection against inflammation!
I have been “eating to heal” and that change in mindset, can help you make new choices you wouldn’t normally make. When there is the vision of two weeks less of recovery in front of you, or the feeling of joy from moving again pain free as a goal, we are more likely to eat for healing and not for emotion.
Eat with intention, and laser like focus. You will want to eat “worse” to get a quick high of dopamine. But delay the gratification and focus! You can achieve healing way faster with diet, rest, and mindset all combined.
2.) Fish Oil:
Controversy surrounds fish oil currently, but it is unfounded.
We eat the least amount of Omega 3 fats in human history and it is effecting our brain health, orr focus, our energy, and our healing time.
Omega 6 Fatty acids, although not necessarily “bad” are bad when they are not balanced by an equal ratio of Omega 3. When not balanced they shift your immune system to an Inflammatory state.
What does this mean?
It means your body is prone to more pain, longer healing times, and inflammation reduces energy, increases stress on your hormones and many more consequences.
EPA and DHA act like natural “ibu profen” or NSAIDS.
1.)“AA increased COX-2 mRNA expression and prostaglandin production in omega-6-stimulated 70W cells. Conversely, COX-2 mRNA expression decreased in cells incubated with EPA or DHA.”
Translation of this research? EPA from fish oil reduces the pro-inflammation and pro-pain production of prostaglandin and COX-2.
On top of that Fish oil has been shown to reduce the excess immune reaction of TH2, another process going on while you heal.
Not to mention Omega 3’s effect on Mood and brain health. When we are injured we need all the brain health and mood enhancement we can get!
We are also able to make Omega 3 with flax oil, but because of underlying conditions at times it can be hard to convert the flax oil to EPA. But for those vegan and vegetarian this is an option.
If you are in the Greenville area and would like to revamp your diet, or help some symptoms you are battling, we would love to meet you!
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Muscle Pain Guide
J Lipid Res. 2005 Jun;46(6):1278-84. Epub 2005 Mar 16.
Denkins Y1, Kempf D, Ferniz M, Nileshwar S, Marchetti D.