By Jennifer Smith, CHN, BHC, FBCC
Imagine driving down the street. The weather is beautiful, and you're humming along with the music on your radio. From out of nowhere, you are sideswiped by another vehicle. A car accident can leave you with some pretty bad injuries. Bruised and swollen tissues and tendons require some special attention to heal. Though your first instinct might be to reach for a bottle of pain pills, there are a few dietary changes that you should try first to heal your body naturally.
Fender-benders can send your body reeling down a battered and bruised spiral. Even minor car accidents can leave aching in your spine and neck. This aching can result from inflammatory injuries. Anti-inflammatory fats are a great addition to your diet if you are looking to naturally recover and relieve the pain you are feeling. Salmon, especially when it is wild, is an anti-inflammatory powerhouse, due to its high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids. Other great foods that include omega-3 fatty acids include mackerel, and chia seeds.
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When your body goes through something traumatic like a car accident, it’s common for your body to have anti-inflammatory reactions caused by immune cells called macrophages. Since macrophages monitor the health of your tissue and organs, they can sometimes get overactive when your body is injured. This is where omega-3 fatty acids can really help. The omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon and other foods act as a deterrent when the macrophages are overactive. This helps your body to recover faster.
Omega-3s aren’t the only things you can eat that are anti-inflammatory. In fact, there are lots of other inflammation-fighting foods that you can eat that have amazing benefits. Olive oil, flax seeds, chia seeds, and many vegetables and fruits have tons of vitamins and antioxidants in them that can speed along the anti-inflammatory process.
Some fruits and vegetables have greater anti-inflammatory healing properties than others. Kale, spinach, and collards, for example are especially great inflammation fighters. Fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and oranges have great anti-inflammation properties as well. To make it even more convenient, you could even mix all of these fruits and veggies together to make an amazing salad!
When cooking up fatty fish to help fight your injuries and the pain, consider spicing them up. There are tons of herbs that can be used to create delicious dishes. Some great anti-inflammatory herbs and spices include turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, garlic, cayenne, black pepper, clove, basil, bay leaf, dill, lemongrass, mint, rosemary, tarragon, and thyme. Adding these herbs and spices more frequently to your diet will not only help you recover faster but will also make your food way more delicious, which is a nice bonus.
As you work your way through the healing process, be good to yourself. Get plenty of rest whenever possible, and try to do something to pamper yourself. Time heals all wounds, but a little omega-3 can boost the process. Natural recovery is possible with just a little time and effort.
Jennifer Smith is a certified Holistic Nutritionist, Biblical Health Coach and Faith-Based Clinical Counselor. She has completed advanced certifications in Functional Nutrition, Biblical Naturopathy and Biblical Eating and Clinical Nutrition.