Enhance your recovery with good nutrition

Physical Therapy Wellness
Mediterranean Buddha bowl with hummus

Recovering from an injury is no walk in the park. Whether you’ve broken a bone, had a knee replacement or suffered a torn ligament, good nutrition can help your body heal during physical therapy. 

“An anti-inflammatory diet filled with colorful fruits and vegetables, lean protein and healthy fats can calm inflammation and provide nutrients to rebuild damaged tissues,” says Mackenzie Butler, a Registered Dietitian with Riverside Wellness & Fitness Centers

What is an anti-inflammatory diet?

An anti-inflammatory diet helps reduce inflammation in your entire body, including bones, joints and muscles. This diet encourages eating whole, fresh foods like fruits and veggies.

Two examples of anti-inflammatory diets include:

  • The Mediterranean Diet
  • The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, or DASH, Diet

Although they have different names, the diets include similar foods:

  • Wild fish
  • Beans
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Leafy green vegetables
  • Berries
  • Olive oil

Nutrients that heal

Nutrients in food act as the building blocks for our cells and tissues. As the body is healing, some nutrients are in high demand to repair injured tissue.


Bones are made primarily of calcium. When the body is busy repairing a broken bone, calcium from foods like yogurt, kale, broccoli, cheese and beans can support the body’s increased calcium needs.


Any time the body is injured or working hard to rebuild strength, its protein needs increase.  
“If your muscle has gone unused due to an injury, it becomes smaller and weak. Physical therapy exercises coupled with adequate protein help build the muscle fibers back up and make them strong again,” says Ms. Butler.

Beans, nuts, seeds, yogurt and fish are all great sources of protein that are commonly included in an anti-inflammatory diet. Red meat, deli meat and processed meats that are high in fat like bacon and sausage don’t play a starring role in a diet for recovery, so limit these when possible.

Omega-3 fats

Omega-3 fats are healthy fats found in wild fatty fish, chia seeds, flaxseeds and walnuts. Omega-3s improve circulation by slightly thinning blood, so it moves easier through your veins and arteries. They also reduce inflammation in tissues and joints, easing some of the irritation that comes with recovery from injury.


Vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients protect and repair cells. These nutrients can be especially useful when you’re recovering from an injury.

Pair your PT with good nutrition for a speedy recovery

Nutrition is the perfect sidekick for physical therapy. Schedule an appointment with one of our registered dietitians to get started on an anti-inflammatory diet today by emailing [email protected].


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