Nutrition and Tissue Healing - Marylebone Physiotherapy

Nutrition and Tissue Healing - Marylebone Physiotherapy


• Focus on arginine rich foods

The amino acid arginine is abundant in the structure

of collagen, and increases its tensile strength. It also

helps enhance immune system activity and aids wound

healing through microvascular changes. Best food

sources: nuts, seafood, wheat germ, seeds, cottage

cheese, poultry.

• Eat Vitamin C rich foods

Vitamin C is required to make collagen, one of the main

structural components of skin, muscles and bone. Best

food sources: red peppers, kiwi fruit, citrus fruit, broccoli,

berries, kale.

• Eat Zinc rich foods

Zinc is needed for cell replication and to make protein.

Best food sources: shellfish, pumpkin seeds, sesame

seeds, sea vegetables and spinach.

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In association with...



In association with Lisa Blair

marylebone hci

physiotherapy &

sports medicine

Nutrition &

tissue healing

• Eat Vitamin A rich foods

Vitamin A promotes collagen cross-linking and tissue

and bone cell development making wound healing

stronger. Best food sources: carrots, calves liver, spinach,

squash, sweet potatoes, bell peppers (in fact all

yellow/orange fruit and vegetables).

• Eat Calcium rich foods

Calcium is an important mineral for bone structure and

deficiencies are associated with increased skeletal

weakness. Best food sources: green leafy vegetables,

canned sardines, mackerel or salmon (flesh & bone),

tofu, nuts, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, dried figs

as well as dairy.

• Eat Vitamin D rich foods

Vitamin D is vital for the absorption of calcium and a

deficiency will reduce the amount of calcium that can

be absorbed for bone heaing. Best sources: salmon,

cod, prawns, milk and eggs plus you make it from


Research has shown that good nutrition facilitates the

healing process and can help reduce inflammation,

whereas malnutrition at any level can delay, inhibit or

complicate the process. Nutritional support is therefore

fundamental to a speedy recovery.

So whether you need to repair muscles or bones or

minimise inflammation and pain you can make a positive

difference to your recovery by ensuring that you are

eating the right foods.


Inflammation is defined as a localised reaction of tissue to irritation,

injury, or infection. Symptoms of inflammation include pain, swelling,

redness or heat and sometimes loss of movement or function.

Controlling inflammation through diet:

You may be familiar with the idea of anti-inflammatory medications,

but have you heard of anti-inflammatory foods and nutrients? Yes

itís true; the foods you eat can have a profound effect on the

inflammatory response in the body:

• Increase consumption of oily fish

Oily fish such as mackerel, herring, sardines and salmon are a major

source of EPA and DHA, important omega 3 fatty acids. These

substances are used in the body to produce anti-inflammatory

prostaglandins that reduce the inflammatory response. Eat oily fish

at least twice a week, preferably 3 times or more.

• Add flaxseeds (also known as linseeds) to your diet daily

Flaxseed contains ALA, another omega 3 fatty acid with an antiinflammatory

effect. Consume at least 1 tbsp of flaxseed oil each

day, plus add crushed, ground or milled flaxseeds to your breakfast

cereals or smoothies. Note: flaxseed oil is highly perishable so it

should always be fresh, refrigerated and never heated.

• Increase consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables

Eat berries (cherries, blueberries, blackberries) or any blue/red

fruit or vegetables as these foods are rich in proanthocyanidins a

substance can help to neutralise inflammation and also supports

the collagen structures of joints. Add a portion to your diet every

day, such as fresh or frozen berries added to cereals or plain yoghurt.

• Add curcumin (tumeric) to your food

This yellow spice inhibits the production of inflammatory compounds

and enhances the bodyís own anti-inflammatory mechanisms. It can

easily be added to a wide range of savory dishes such as soups and

stews and is found in many curry dishes.

• Add ginger to your food

Another spice that inhibits the production of inflammatory compounds,

it also has powerful antioxidant action and contains a compound

that breaks down fibrin (which promotes swelling). Incorporate about

a 1-inch piece of fresh ginger into your diet every day. This can be

included in fresh juices or can be finely chopped / grated and added

to a wide variety of savoury dishes.

• Add rosemary to your meals

This herb contains a phytonutrient called carnosol, which has

been shown in research to reduce inflammatory compounds.

• Bromelain

This is an enzyme found in pineapple, which has long been valued

for its effectiveness in reducing inflammation. This can also be bought

as a supplement.

• Decrease consumption of animal foods (both meat and dairy)

Arachidonic acid is an omega 6 fatty acid that is only found in

animal foods. In the body this produces pro-inflammatory compounds.

By decreasing consumption of these foods you will reduce the

production of arachidonic acid and hence will reduce inflammation.

• Decrease consumption of trans, hydrogenated and partially

hydrogenated fats

These are the worst type of fat and contain toxic chemicals and free

oxidising radicals, which lower immunity and encourage inflammation.

These fats are commonly found in baked and fried ready prepared

and packaged foods such as cakes, biscuits, many margarines, and

chips or crisps.

• Reduce sugary foods and refined carbohyrates

All sugary foods and white carbohydrates turn into glucose very

quickly, raising blood sugar levels. Insulin is released whenever there

is too much glucose (sugar) in your bloodstream. There is a strong

link between high insulin levels and inflammation. So it is important

to avoid sugary foods or refined foods (white processed carbohydrates,

white rice, white bread and white pasta)


Several nutrients are particularly effective in quenching inflammation

in the body, so boost your intake of the foods associated with these

nutrients: Best food sources: nuts, seafood, wheat germ, seeds, cottage

cheese, poultry

• Vitamin E: an important antioxidant that helps to prevent freeradical

damage in the body, which reduces inflammation. Best food

sources: olive oil, olives, avocado, nuts (particularly almonds) and

seeds (particularly sunflower seeds).

• Vitamin C: another key antioxidant with inflammation quenching

action. Best food sources: red peppers, berries, kiwi, citrus, broccoli

and most other fruit and vegetables.

• Vitamin D: reduces inflammatory compounds such as C-reactive

protein. Best food sources: salmon, cod, prawns, milk and eggs

plus you make it from sunshine.

• Quercetin: a flavonoid that neutralises several different inflammatory

reactions. Best food sources: cabbage, onions, broccoli, squash, red

grapes, pears, apples.


Healing any type of tissue damage (bone or muscle), whether from

accidental injury or surgery involves a large number of biochemical

and cellular reactions that are all dependant on a range of different

nutrients. In fact to provide the necessary building blocks to repair

tissue damage, the body has a much higher metabolic demand for

nutrients than normal.

Promoting tissue healing through diet:

• Ensure that you are eating adequate quantities of protein

Protein provides the main building blocks for tissue regeneration and

repair. Which means even short periods of low protein intake can

result in significantly delayed wound healing. Research has shown

that people who have undergone major surgery or trauma have an

increased requirement for protein. Include sources of good quality

protein into every meal and snack (including breakfast). Foods such

as fish, lean meats, nuts, seeds, beans and pulses are all good protein

sources. Vegetarians need to be particularly aware that they are

getting an adequate level of complete proteins.

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