The body is an amazing thing. No one knows our own bodies as well as we know it ourselves. Inside and out, the body is a plethora of information if we listen to it! When we injury our body, it screams at us in pain, begging us to do our best to silence the pain and heal the process. And given the chance, the body will heal itself. So how do we give the body that chance? A diet rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals is key to helping your bones heal!
Fractures have three phases of healing. And each of these phases needs support. First is the Inflammation Phase in which a blood clot immediately forms after the fracture to allow for the inflow of inflammatory cleanup cells. After this, repair cells move into the fracture gap and they instantly differentiate into specialized cells that build bone tissue and new cartilage. Your body is healing itself already, within minutes after the fracture! Thus, it needs the support as soon as possible!
Next, we have the Reparative Phase. This phase begins about two weeks after the fracture. During this phase, proteins produced by the repair cells come together to make soft, new bone substance which will eventually harden. This phase is six to twelve weeks.
Third, we have the Remodeling Phase. In this phase, the soft bone substance hardens.
Each of these phases requires nutritional support not just to work, but to enhance the process. But with every "do" there is a "don't". So let's start with the "don'ts" and get the bad out of the way:
Alcohol increases inflammation and promotes bone loss
Salt removes calcium from bones
Sugar and Refined Grains promote bone loss
Cola contains phosphorus that can remove calcium from bones
Caffeine contains compounds that can bind to calcium, preventing it from being absorbed.
In other words, removing processed foods, sweetened beverages, and alcohol from your diet will help the healing process of your bones immensely. It's bad enough we broke a bone, but these foods will actually hinder the healing process so steer clear of them.
Let's see what we need to increase in our diets to promote your fracture in healing:
Calories! Our bodies work overtime to heal a fracture, thus requiring more fuel. There is no set number of calories that you need and each person is different. If you listen to your body, it will tell you! Eat when you feel hungry, stop eating when you feel full. You may eat more times per day following this, but that is ok! Make sure your diet is alkaline and chalk full of fruits and vegetables and your body will thank you. Keep in mind, it is important that you are ingesting the right kind of calories and not those from the "don't" list.
Incorporate high calcium foods into your diet. Calcium is found in so many sources other than dairy! To be sure to get enough calcium, be sure your diet is full of leafy greens, sea vegetables, salmon, and sardines with bones.
Foods rich in Vitamin K which is essential for blood clotting and bone formation. Great sources of Vitamin K are kale, broccoli, spinach, and other greens.
Protein rebuilds lost tissue. Organic, clean, lean protein is best such as grass-fed beef or wild caught salmon.
Collagen is a necessary component of tissue. Increase your intake of collagen rich foods with bone broth, cabbage, avocado, walnuts, citrus fruits and red fruits and vegetables such as strawberries, red bell peppers, and tomatoes.
Antioxidants, minerals and amino acids are also essential to support your bone fracture healing. Be sure to incorporate a high quality supplement which include zinc, copper, Omega-3's, Vitamin B6 and vitamin D. Lysine is an amino acid which aids in calcium absorption.
Our bodies immediately begin to repair themselves after a fracture and may take anywhere from six weeks to three or four months to heal. It is imperative to begin supporting this healing process as soon as possible. To help strengthen our bones and continue giving them support even after the fracture has healed, continue eating healthy throughout your lifetime.