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Why Your Diet Is a Key Player in Injury Prevention

Why Your Diet Is a Key Player in Injury Prevention

During Michael Phelps’ incredible run at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, his diet became nearly as famous as the double jointed elbows that allowed him to fly down the pool. His 10,000-calorie diet, which included a pound of pasta plus a pizza for dinner, helped him capture eight gold medals, a single-Olympics record. 

Crazy diets power a lot of the world’s top athletes — NFL linemen may eat a full pizza before bed, and wrestler-turned-actor Dwayne Johnson has been known to eat an 8-ounce steak for his afternoon snack. But you don’t have to be a top athlete to know that diet impacts your performance. Beyond giving you strength and energy, a solid diet can play an active role in injury prevention as well. 

Are you dealing with pain from a sports injury or hoping to head off an injury before it happens? If so, come in to see the team at Kai Sports Medicine in Little Silver, New Jersey. Dr. Zachary Perlman, a board-certified internal medicine and primary care sports medicine specialist, is an expert on pain management and preventative care. 

Here, he provides diet tips that can reduce your risk of sports- and exercise-related injuries. 

Not all fat is bad fat

So-called good fats, like omega-3 fatty acids, have been shown to decrease injury risk. A diet low in omega-3s may even contribute to an enhanced inflammatory response and could increase the severity of an injury. 

Avocados, most nuts (cashews, walnuts, almonds), olive oil, and sunflower oil are all good sources of high-quality fat. You generally should limit saturated fats, like those in red meat and many deli meats, but you don’t need to totally eliminate them. 

Hydration is critical

A key part of that NFL lineman’s diet is the 10 bottles of water before practice and another gallon after workouts. Dehydrated joints are more susceptible to tears and injuries. Additionally, dehydration puts more stress on the body and can lead to early fatigue and a loss of mental focus.

Drink fluids before, during, and after physical activity. Additionally, stay hydrated throughout the day with a variety of beverages like smoothies, juices, and water. 

Keep up on the calcium

Calcium is the most important nutrient for bone health and should be a key part of your diet if you’re a runner or play a sport where stress fractures are common. 

The recommended daily intake of calcium is 1,000 to 1,300 milligrams daily, but the average American only consumes 500-700 mg. You can find calcium in most dairy products, salmon, tofu, edamame, and leafy greens like kale and spinach. 

Eat more

Phelps needed to eat 10,000 calories because he was burning so many calories in the pool. If you’re running long distances or spending hours out of the field, you need to eat enough calories to feed your body through your extended workout sessions. An influx of high-quality calories can keep you fit and help to stave off injury. 

Sports injuries happen, but being smart about your diet can help prevent them and also prepare you for when you go down. To learn more about how you can prevent sports injuries, call 732-369-9765 to book a visit with the Kai Sports Medicine team. You can also request an appointment through this website.

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