Car accidents can reek so much havoc on the body, creating inflammation, strained or torn muscles, ligaments, and tendons, and stressing us out mentally as well as physically. Receiving massage therapy and other alternative services after a motor vehicle accident is crucial to help us recover, but so is what we’re putting into our body. Diet can greatly impact our recovery time as well as how well we recover after an auto accident. Here are ___ things you should do to help yourself recover after a car accident:
Get Enough Sleep
We all know that getting adequate sleep is important to proper brain function and the body as a whole – it’s how we regenerate, store and delete information, and repair. When we don’t get enough sleep, our body doesn’t have enough time to do everything that it needs to do and will prioritize tasks. Normally, most humans need at least eight hours of uninterrupted sleep every night. However, after an auto accident, people should receive more sleep to ensure that their bodies have enough time to repair any tears, strains, or broken bones on top of everything else the body does during sleep. After a motor vehicle accident, it’s recommended to receive nine to ten hours, although some people report sleeping for as much as twelve.
The typical American diet is loaded with caffeine – coffee with breakfast and lunch; energy drinks, Redbull vodkas when you go out, it’s in chocolate, as well as pre-workout formulas and supplements. Caffeine, however, disrupts our normal sleep cycle, which makes it harder to fall and stay asleep, decreasing the number of times we enter REM, how long we stay there, and how deep we go. By decreasing or eliminating caffeine altogether after a car accident, you will allow your body to get more rest, and therefore speed up the recovery process. Plus, you’ll wake up feeling more rested than ever before!
Eat Your Fruits & Veggies
We not only need to eat more veggies to help maintain proper bodyweight and ensure proper nutrition, but also to help our bodies regenerate! Fruits and vegetables possess natural antioxidants, disease fighting capabilities, and anti-inflammatory properties that processed foods and meats will never have. After a car accident, make sure that you’re getting at least five servings of vegetables per day, as well as three servings of fruits.
Up Your Protein
Lean, organic, and free-range protein is the best option to help increase your protein content and speed your recovery. High protein foods like meat and nuts are harder for the digestive system to process, so make sure that this isn’t the main food source in your diet. You can also opt for wild-caught salmon or other fresh fish, which also contain omega-3’s, another crucial component to fighting inflammation throughout the body as well as boosting brain function and heart health.
Spice it Up
Spices such as turmeric, cinnamon, and ginger are excellent spices to add to most dishes and they also possess anti-inflammatory and healing properties.
Turmeric contains the bioactive compound called curcumin, which gives it a bright yellow color. Curcumin has very strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and is the main active ingredient in turmeric. Curcumin also has a role in repairing damage. You can add turmeric to your foods, although it may help to take a supplement since the amount you would have to use would be substantial to experience the desired results. As always, consult with your healthcare provider before adding any supplements to your diet. Turmeric is fat soluble and can lower blood sugar levels, so you should also make sure to eat a fatty meal along with it – maybe a fruit and kale salad with organic olive oil, avocado, and free-range chicken!
Ginger, closely related to turmeric, contains gingerol, the bioactive compound in ginger responsible for its many anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. When eaten regularly, it may also help to reduce muscle soreness. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, it can also help with osteoarthritis. Other possible benefits include increased brain function and protection against Alzheimer’s, decrease menstrual pain, help fight infections, help to prevent cancer, lower cholesterol levels, treat indigestion and nausea, and lower blood sugar levels and improve heart disease risk.
Cinnamon is a spice that’s made from the inner bark of trees and is readily available in almost every supermarket today and is very affordable. Cinnamon possesses polyphenols, which are powerful antioxidants, and because of the powerful antioxidant properties, it can help fight inflammation and decrease your risk of disease. It may also help to lower your risk for heart disease, improve insulin sensitivity, lower blood sugar levels to create an anti-diabetic effect, protect your brain from Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative conditions, protect against cancer, fight bacterial and fungal infections, and may also help to fight against HIV.
Try Juicing or Fasting
Juicing or fasting, if you can hang, could also be great remedies to try. When we juice, we stop eating meat, dairy, and other processed foods, and take only the most easily digested parts of the fruits and vegetables so that our bodies can readily digest the nutrients. Juicing has been a proven weight loss tool for many, and helps the body to heal by decreasing the workload of the digestion system. When the digestive system is constantly working, our body doesn’t have enough energy or time to get to everything else that it needs to do. Juicing also helps the immune system, will aid in digestion, and will help to remove toxins from the body. Just make sure that you’re buying organic fruits and vegetables and washing them with an organic cleaner, as well as making the juices at home. Store-bought juices are typically flash or fully pasteurized, which strips them of many nutrients. They also may possess added sugars, which defeats the purpose of juicing. Added sugars, even organic cane sugar, increase inflammation and cancer risk. You’ll also want to make sure that you’re adding in vegetables, not just doing fruit juices. Celery is a great, watery and vitamin C packed vegetable you can add to almost any juice recipe, but you’ll also want to add in kale and spinach to make sure you’re getting your dark, leafy greens.
Fasting is another way to help speed up recovery by eliminating the addition of food into the digestive tract, therefore taking away this job from the body. However, if you’ve never fasted before, I wouldn’t suggest doing this. You’re also supposed to slowly initiate a fasting cycle, such as first eliminating processed foods for a couple of days, then meats and dairy for a couple, then only eating cooked fruits and vegetables, then only raw fruits and vegetables, and finally nothing. What many people don’t realize with fasting is that it completely stops the digestive tract, meaning, you may get constipated. This may also not be a suitable option for you if you’re taking any prescription pills or are diabetic. Please speak to a professional healthcare provider before beginning a fasting or juicing regimen.
Yoga and Meditation
Yoga is an ancient tradition based in India that uses breath control, stretching and body weight strengthening, and meditation to increase health and happiness. After a car accident, you may not be able to do all the positions, but that’s okay. Even doing some of them will aid your body in the regeneration process. I would suggest doing a Yin class and speaking with the instructor beforehand to let them know that you’ve been in a car accident and may not have the full range of motion, or that some positions may hurt. If you’re older, you may want to find a senior citizen specific yin yoga class.
There are so many things we can do to help our bodies recover after a car accident that have nothing to do with bodywork and can be done at home. And who knows, maybe after incorporating some of these into your daily routine, you might just want to keep a few! Make sure you speak to your primary care provider or other qualified health professional to see which options are best for you.