Dieters often hear about superfoods, particularly those that help flatten bellies. But superfoods aren’t just for dieters. People who need to recover from illness, surgery, or accidents also require nutrient-rich foods that promote healing. It’s a given that not all foods are equal. For instance, anyone suffering from a broken leg won’t repair it by drinking carbonated drinks and eating chips all day. Instead, that injured leg needs calcium. Whether you want to heal a wound or some other injury, you can foster healing and improve overall health with these 5 superfoods:

Dark Green Veggies

Grocery stores carry a lot more kale today than in earlier decades. And, as it turns out, there’s a good reason. Kale and other dark green vegetables contain plentiful nutrients such as vitamins A, B-complex, C, and E.

In turn, these vitamins promote connective tissue health and healing. Not a fan of kale? No problem. Add a healthy helping of broccoli to your plate. Broccoli contains folic acid, calcium, iron, manganese, potassium, and vitamin K. Also, thanks to broccoli’s high fiber content, it can reduce constipation from pain medications.

Healthy Tip: For better healing, include kale, spinach, collard greens, broccoli, and cabbage in your diet.

Berries

Most people know that fruits offer a healthier alternative to candy and sweets. But certain fruits also promote healing and longevity. Just what are these fruits? In a word: berries.

Berries—particularly raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, cranberries, Noni berries, Goji berries, and Açai berries—counteract the damaging effects of free radicals on the body’s cells. Berries also promote collagen growth to smooth skin and repair damaged areas. These powerful fruits contain restorative antioxidants and vitamins that improve circulation and strengthen blood vessels. Berries also build immunity and assist in wound healing.

Healthy Tip: Enjoy berries not only for their great taste, but also for their superfood healing powers!

Nuts and Legumes

Bodily injury impacts multiple structures: cells, blood vessels, cartilages, tissues, bones, and muscles. To rebuild these structures, your body requires rest and proper nutrition, including muscle-building protein.

In fact, the healing process demands much more protein than a normal diet might. At the same time, an injured patient might become constipated by too much meat (a typical source of protein). Luckily, beans and nuts offer extra protein with fewer constipation risks. Additionally, many patients may struggle with poor appetite after an injury or a surgical procedure. A handful of mixed nuts can be just the thing for someone who wants to build strength a bite or two at a time. Similarly, a patient might enjoy a bean burrito or a soothing bowl of split-pea soup when a chicken breast or steak feels like too much. All legumes contain fiber and minerals that also benefit the healing process.

Healthy Tip: Try a little three-bean salad or a side of hummus with raw veggies. Or, keep a can of nuts by your bedside for healthy munching between meals.

Seafood

Omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) make digestion easier, heal the skin, and protect the brain. Zinc builds immunity and hastens wound recovery. And, seafood contains high amounts of both Omega-3s and zinc.

If your community features a sustainable source of seafood, include fish in your diet at least twice weekly. Salmon and sardines are great sources of vitamin D, a critical element for those who want to absorb calcium from green vegetables and dairy products. But any fatty fish offers similar benefits.

Healthy Tip: Ask your grocers about their seafood sources, so you can better ensure a sustainable, healthy (lower mercury level) seafood product.

Dark Chocolate

Chocolate appears regularly in health news these days; however, dark (not milk) chocolate is the key to improved health effects. Chocolate with a high pure cacao content may help maintain better cardiovascular health. In particular, cacao may lower blood pressure and bolster the immune system.

Healthy Tip: Look for chocolate that rates above 60% pure cacao. Even those who prefer milk chocolate can appreciate various chocolate blends. Talk to a chocolatier or visit the gourmet section of your grocery store for suggestions.

Now that you understand the above superfoods better, you’ll appreciate their role in sustaining, building, and maintaining your health after an injury. Time may heal, but the process can certainly be sped up with the right nutrition. In addition to eating a healthy diet, make sure you consult with healthcare and other professionals who can help make the healing process easier–you can click here to learn more about your options when suffering an injury. More importantly, by maintaining a health-promoting diet, you may just start a better habit that will pay dividends in your future wellbeing.

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