Women often go out of their way to fix and help others – often to our own detriment. So many of us do not realize that in order to heal ourselves we need specific foods to improve the bodies ability to heal and recovery faster. You are what you eat after all!

When healing connective tissue the body has to be supplied with an adequate amount of energy and the right type of building blocks to restore structure. What does this mean? Well, the body firstly needs enough energy in total to support growth. So starving yourself is not the solution, this will actually delay healing because of the lack of circulating metabolites & nutrients required for repair.

There are a few key nutrition areas that boost tissue healing because of their ability to build & strengthen new muscle, prevent muscle breakdown and minimize oxidative cell stress.

Protein is used to build all muscle cells. The protein we eat from food is made from chains of amino acids. Think of amino acids linked in chains like different coloured lego blocks instead. When we eat protein, the body breaks down protein into a variety of different lego “blocks”. These amino acids then circulate in the blood and are used to build new muscle cell (the body creates a different structure using the pieces of lego).

Women often struggle to eat protein at the right time! A couple bits of toast for breakfast, an apple or coffee for morning tea if you’re lucky and a few bits of leftover pasta for lunch – sound familiar? The problem here is there isn’t enough in the first half of the day. The body can only commit roughly to 20g of protein to muscle creation at any one time! So the extra protein you eat at dinner isn’t being used to its maximal capacity.

SOLUTION: Incorporate protein at every meal & snack! Boiled eggs, tins of tuna/salmon, mixed nuts or greek yoghurt are all good options.

Aside from just creating new muscle tissue, the strength of cartilage and bone is essential to creating a strong foundation for new growth and this is one of zinc’s biggest roles. Zinc is a mineral that not only strengthens but also neutralizes free radical damage, which can destroy new healthy cells. Interestingly, zinc absorption is greater in people who eat animal protein compared to those who rely on plant-derived proteins (King & Keen 1999). Vegetarians have a 50% greater need for zinc because the zinc in plant proteins is less bioavailable and harder to absorb.

Daily zinc requirements for women are 8mg, rich sources are oysters, lean red meat, chicken, fish, beans/legumes, nuts and seeds.

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin needed for healthy cell membranes that helps injured tissues heal quickly. All our cell membranes are made from fat or lipids, so it is essential to eat healthy fats to build strong new cells. Vitamin E is also an ‘antioxidant’, so not only does it help build new cells but also neutralise free radicals that can attack the fats in cell membranes.

Aim to incorporate 3-4 serves of healthy fat every day. One serve of healthy fats include:
• ¼ cup nuts/seeds
• ¼ avocado
• 2 tsp oil

Vitamin C is also an antioxidant that protects cells from damage caused by free-floating cells that disrupt the structure of healthy cells. Antioxidants also decrease the body’s level of inflammation, caused when cells are being turned over.

All your Vitamin C needs can be easily reached through eating 2 pieces of fruit and 1 cup of colourful vegetables. Rich sources include kiwifruit, strawberries, capsicum, broccoli & tomatoes.

As Accredited Practising Dietitian’s we can help you meet all your nutrient requirements for optimal healing. For more evidence based, personalised nutrition advice, yummy recipes and practical tips and tricks give us a call to book an appointment (http://bodyfusion.com.au/contact-us/). We’d love to get the women of Lane Cove feeling their best!