Physical trauma is any stressful event caused by a physical or chemical injury. It ranges from the physical stress I experience from weightlifting, to my clients' recovery from surgery, that conventional medicine decreed as requiring many months. However, all physical trauma affects metabolism and function. Many would tell you to "just surrender and let your body heal", but this is time consuming and not always advisable, so how can we speed up the healing process?
The Building Blocks of Recovery
First, the basics. Healing requires more energy than we think, sometimes even up to 30 extra calories per kilogram of body weight! If you weigh 60 kilograms, that is 1800 extra calories! In normal circumstances, we break down carbohydrates and fat for energy. However, if we don't consume enough energy, we end up breaking down our own proteins, which gets in the way of healing. For elderly or very ill patients, this can be dangerous if the cycle of tissue breakdown isn't interrupted. Recovery from trauma also requires more protein than usual. Depending on the nature of the injury, this can range from 1.5 to 3 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, every day. For myself, I notice that I am often willing to eat anything in sight after weightlifting! However, it is important to avoid excess energy intake, and to not consume alcohol. Alcohol is inflammatory, and so is excess fat mass.
To Be More Specific...
All of the amino acids found in proteins are important, but some have abilities specific to recovery from injuries. One of them, arginine, helps the immune system to function correctly as well as being a building block for our tissue proteins. Hemp seeds, which are now legal to be sold as food in Australia, contain high levels of arginine. Another, glutamine, is absolutely essential for rebuilding tissue and producing immune cells; it is the major amino acid lost during injury. While not an amino acid, bromelain is an enzyme that breaks down damaged proteins and therefore reduces inflammation and speeds healing. Bromelain is found in pineapple cores; as they are hard, it is best to include them in a smoothie.
Time for Pancakes
I found this recipe in the Spring Equinox 2017 issue of Connect Magazine. It is high in protein, fat and anti-inflammatory nutrients, with no trans fats or refined carbs. I find it to be satisfying and not overly filling.
-1/2 a banana
-1/4 cup protein powder (I use a plant protein blend)
-1 teaspoon flax meal
-Cinnamon (to taste)
-Blueberries (fresh or frozen, to taste)
-Mash the banana half in a small bowl.
-In another, beat the eggs and add the protein powder and flax meal, removing lumps.
-Add the banana and cinnamon.
-Heat a frying pan and pour in either half or all of the mixture, depending on whether you want one or two pancakes. Add blueberries on top. Flip when it starts to bubble and lift on the sides.
-Top with the banana, more berries, or anything else! I use yoghurt, as I am tolerant to dairy.
If you are recovering from an injury or surgery, I recommend that you book in an appointment to see a naturopath, such as myself here or on my Facebook page.